I’ve been writing about relationships for nearly a decade now, and my life has shifted dramatically during that time. I started out single and clueless, just a young recent college graduate writing about my experiences, knowing plenty of girls could relate, and now I’m a married mom. But I still mostly write for the single and dating audience, and funnily enough, I get pretty nostalgic for those days!
Say what? You heard me. There were many years where I thought I’d never find the right guy, and I truly wanted nothing more than to be with an amazing man and start a family. But in hindsight, I kind of wish I had enjoyed the process more, instead of racing toward the destination.
Over and over I see women cheating themselves out of what is arguably the most magical time in a relationship … the beginning. The falling in love. The learning about each other. There is so much excitement, and it just feels surreal. All you have are the possibilities of what could be, and possibilities are exhilarating.
But we don’t think about that. We think about the worry.
We worry that this relationship is maybe all in our heads, we worry that he’s going to lose interest and disappear, we worry that he won’t want the kind of relationship we want, we worry that we’re going to get our hearts broken yet again, we worry that he’s never going to commit in a real way. We worry because we don’t know what’s coming next, and that’s scary!
So we keep our guards up, we keep a close eye on anything that could maybe possibly be a bad sign, we are hyper-vigilant. In doing so, usually, one of two things happen. We unknowingly cause the guy to lose interest, because who wants to be around that kind of nervous energy? Or we totally miss out on the best part of a relationship!
You think once you cross a certain point the worry will end … as soon as he calls me his girlfriend… as soon as we move in together … as soon as we get engaged … as soon as we set a date, but the end never comes. It’s a trap.
And just to show you what you’re missing out on by worrying, these are the things I miss most about dating my husband.
1. All day texting
You know when you’re crazy about someone and you just always have something new to tell them or share with them? You’re basically engaged in one long conversation throughout the day? As distracting as it was, I miss it.
I miss the flutter and the rush of excitement upon seeing a text from him. (And I don’t miss the worry that would come if he took forever to text back, you know exactly what I’m talking about!) My roommate always knew when I was texting with him because she said I always had a ridiculous look on my face, the plastered ear-to-ear smile goofy kind of look that only love can create.
Not to say he doesn’t still make me smile via text, but the all-day texting isn’t sustainable, and it’s not necessary at this stage in our relationship. We see each other all the time if we text all day, what will we have to talk about when he comes home at night?
Of course, we make an effort to liven up our messages to one another, so they go beyond “What time will you be home?” And “What’s do you want for dinner?” But that takes more effort.
2. Texting good morning and good night
While we’re on the subject of texting … there really was no better way to start or end the day than with good morning and goodnight texts from the man I loved.
Does anyone ever start the day with a huge goofy grin? That only happens when you wake up early thinking it’s Monday, but really it’s Sunday, and you can go back to bed (unless you have kids, in which case, your kid waking up at 7:15 am instead of 7 constitutes “sleeping in”). Or it happens when your alarm goes off, and you reach for your phone, and you know a “Good morning beautiful” is waiting for you.
I miss those nights when I’d curl into bed and be texting with him just before we went to sleep. There is something so intimate and vulnerable about those before bed conversations. You’re wishing you could be together, and thinking about each other before you drift off, and it’s just the sweetest feeling.
Granted I much prefer waking up with and going to bed with my husband every night— that’s the thing about commitment, it’s more about having than yearning, and that’s actually a good thing— but him tiptoeing around the room at 6 am trying not to wake me up, while very sweet, just isn’t as thrilling.
3. Being excited to see him
I’m always happy when my husband comes home. For one, he’s cool, and I like him a lot, and also, it’s nice having an extra set of hands to wrangle our toddler. But the excitement of seeing him is different than it was at the beginning of the relationship. I remember being so excited all day for our dates. Planning what to wear, doing my makeup perfectly, and just begging time to move a little faster.
Even if we saw each other almost every day that week, it was still exciting. Everything is so new and fresh, things are blossoming, and it’s just the best feeling.
4. The excitement of the journey
Speaking of … something is thrilling about living in a world of unlimited potential. And that’s where you are in the early stages of a relationship. You’re in a world of potential where anything can happen. You and he are headed somewhere, and you don’t know where, and it’s exciting. It can be terrifying for some, like me who needs to know the ending before I begin, but exciting nonetheless.
Now I’m not saying marriage or a serious commitment is the ultimate destination. It’s always a journey, you’re always evolving and growing as you enter new phases of life and the relationship. But there isn’t the same magic. Things get real fast. It’s not the same as the beginning where you’re both on your absolute best behavior and presenting your best possible selves and nothing about him annoys you yet because you’re so utterly infatuated that even his annoying habits are adorable and you don’t have to deal with bills and kids and household chores and all the mundane elements that comprise everyday life.
5. The rush of hearing him say he loved me
I will never forget the first time, or even the second or third or fourth. I knew it was coming, the words were bubbling up in my mouth to the point that I almost couldn’t hold back but call me old fashioned, I just didn’t want to be the one to say it first. But I knew he felt it, and I knew it was coming … and when it did it was just such a rush. Literally, I felt a rush throughout my entire body. Love really is a drug, it causes a chemical reaction within us. But just like any drug, the effects wear off over time.
Not to say it isn’t exciting when he tells me he loves me now. It’s still exciting, but it’s just established. We’re not falling in love anymore, we’ve fully fallen. It doesn’t make it less special, but you know what I mean. And yes, you do always fall more in love, but it’s just different.
Now we’re at the stage where we need to maintain that love. Love is a verb, it isn’t something that just exists. You work on it and maintain it and that ultimately makes you stronger and tighter as a couple.
That’s what I miss. Even though I love what I have now so much more. The beginning of a relationship isn’t real, and that’s what makes it feel so idyllic and perfect. Everything is so easy and effortless. You don’t have to work for the magic, it’s just there. You can still have it later on down the line, I definitely don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon about this, but you have to work for it.
It isn’t freely given and effortless anymore. If you put in the effort, you will reap the rewards, but most people hate effort.
You have to arrange a sitter and plan the date nights and change out of your cozy mom uniform of leggings and a tunic and into something a little sexier and get back in touch with your sultry flirty side, which isn’t such an easy switch when you’ve been in mommy-mode all day, and make an effort to go somewhere when all you want to do is pass out at 9pm, and really take the time to talk an connect and think of sweet romantic things to do for one another. All of this was so easy in the beginning, you didn’t even have to think about it.
Now is the harder part, but it’s far more rewarding. Now is about maintaining what you’ve built, and ensuring that it lasts. I don’t need to rattle off what I love about being married because that’s just gross, so you get the point. We can always work on putting more into our relationship, but we can’t ever go back in time to when we were just starting out. And I look back at how worried and anxious I was for a lot of that time, and I feel sad that I couldn’t savor it more.
So that’s my message to you. Quit worrying, Stop trying to figure out the end while you’re just at the beginning. Just go with it, and try your best to enjoy the ride.