How I Managed To Have A Successful Relationship In My 20s

I just celebrated my five-year anniversary with my boyfriend, whom I met when I was 20. “How have you managed to stay in a monogamous relationship through half your 20s — the time in your life when you’re supposed to be feeling lost, hating yourself and having mediocre-at-best sex?” asks no one, ever. I’ll tell you how in five easy steps.

1. Go camping on some weekends

Since you are a very difficult person to both please and get along with, have your boyfriend semi-regularly force you to go camping through clever guilting tactics. Sigh and eventually relent, but make sure to complain to all your coworkers that you can’t believe he’s making you use two of your PTO days to sleep in the dirt. Pout while he packs the nice equipment he bought for you in the nice backpack he also bought for you and then don’t help him put anything in the car. Let him drive you three hours into the wilderness, and then once you reach your destination, remember… wait, you like camping! It’s fun to climb all over rocks and sweat and sit under the stars with the person you love the most! Also remember your boyfriend would never ask you to do anything with him if he wasn’t confident you would enjoy it.

2. Make a conscious decision to become a baseball fan (specifically, to root for the SF Giants)

Realize that, first of all, baseball is a good sport to be a fan of. You’ve played various sports your entire life and love them all; you are also obsessive and thus get off on things that are tedious. But somehow, it never occurred to you that baseball, with all its complicated strategy and innings that last forever, might be a sport for you to watch — until you moved to San Francisco with your boyfriend, a Giants super fan from the womb, and he started going to a lot of games you wanted to tag along to. The year you decided to make a concerted effort to become a fan was also the year the Giants won the World Series. You are certain you are responsible for this victory since your newfound fandom obviously sent positive vibes out into the universe that Buster Posey squats to support like Atlas. Your boyfriend genuinely refers to the World Series win as one of the happiest moments in his life, and you’re glad you can better understand the depth of his excitement.

3. Instill a “mandatory bedtime spooning” rule

He must always be the outside spoon. There was once a time when you traded off, but you have carpal tunnel wrist guards you wear to bed now that scratch his sides when you sling your arm over him. Even when it’s hot and uncomfortable, he has to spoon you and kiss the back of your shoulder until you fall asleep and start farting on him.

4. Never lift a finger in the kitchen

Your boyfriend likes to cook for you, so it’s crucial to not disrupt the balance by offering to help in any way. You are allowed to get yourself a yogurt out of the fridge (as long as he is the one who bought it for you) and maybe make yourself a piece of toast with an egg from the backyard chickens he raises (and that you vaguely help out with when you’re in the mood). But beyond that, do not touch the stove. On days you’re feeling super ambitious and insist you want to help make dinner, he’ll put you in charge of the rice. Google “how do you make rice” and then burn it.

If for some strange reason you are responsible for making an entire meal, say, “Okay, babe, do you want: a carnitas burrito or an al pastor burrito from the taqueria down the street?” Ignore him when he says the vegetables in your CSA box need to be eaten. If he doesn’t want burritos, you’ll both have to starve to death together in bed. He’ll still have to spoon you and let you die first, so he better be ready for that.

5. Never go halfsies when choosing toppings on a takeout pizza

It is imperative that you eat the same toppings on your pizza. If you don’t, you’ll just end up unsatisfied with the toppings you chose for your half. You’ll consider it a personal affront that his half looks tastier, and then you won’t want to have sex later. As such, you must always cover your entire pizza with basil (him) and broccoli (you). It may taste a bit weird, but it’s better this way. Get stoned and eat the shit out of your compromise while you cuddle and watch an episode of Luther with the dog. TC mark

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