It feels serious, now.
We’ve been “together” in some nebulous capacity for eight months (I just did the math). Dating, officially, for half. Eight months—four of those a real a couple—and now, it feels serious.
We were gonna break up. I was going back to school and he was about to start his career—it would all be too complicated, so we were gonna simplify before the whole thing got ahead of us. We were gonna break up so that the distance didn’t tear us apart. I comforted myself with what, for most of these eight months, I’ve held true: I love him, but I’m barely 21, and this is my first real relationship—there’s no way, as a 21st century semi-militant feminist, that I’m going to stay with him forever.
I didn’t really fear the inevitable breakup, because it was just that: inevitable. I’m in love or madly in lust or whatever you want to call it but no matter how deep I’ve dug myself, we’re gonna break up eventually, right? Because I’m barely 21, and this is my first real relationship; we’re gonna break up, because that makes sense. I won’t delude myself into thinking this is forever, because I’m not sure I’d want to be; no matter how in love I am, I’ve gotta live life how my mom’s always told me to. I’ve gotta know other people. I’ve gotta fuck other people. I’ve gotta love other people—and if this love with him is right, it’ll all lead back to us.
When he first told me he loved me, see, that’s how I conceptualized love. That’s what love meant for me, with him; that I care about him so deeply that even though I know we’ll break up, eventually, I can see myself with him five or ten years from now, when we’re older and dating for keeps. When we’re after that someone who we’ll build a life with. That’s what I thought three months ago, when we first exchanged I love yous. I don’t think that way anymore.
It feels serious, now. It feels like maybe, it could be forever.
And if you’re reading this: breathe. I’m not picking out baby names or scribbling Mrs. Tati [Your Last Name] all over my binders…partially because I’m not interested in marriage, yes, but mostly because that kind of forever is still ages away. We’re far from that forever, still—we’ve got whole lives to live before we consider a permanent us.
All I’m saying is, damn, the breakup doesn’t seem so inevitable anymore. And I’m not so sure I’ve got to live and fuck and love another before I make my way back to you.
All I’m saying is, damn, it feels serious, now. I’m growing up with you and I’m learning this love that no longer has an unwritten expiration date.
All I’m saying is, damn, if we’re doing this long distance thing—if we’re sweating to carve out time for each other when we’re apart and our schedules are relentlessly out of sync—if we’re risking hating each other because the love is that good…damn, it feels serious now. It feels like, if we work through this painful year of stealing a night or two together every four-to-six weeks—and barely talking in between because talking’s hard when one of you works an 18-hour day and the other splits her time evenly between drinking, sleeping, and light reading—we must be working through this shit towards something, right? Right. Because otherwise, why the hell would we bother?
All I’m saying is, damn, maybe we’ll live those lives before forever, together. Maybe we’ll spend our twenties by each other’s side and support one another through the shitty, exhausting first installations of our careers and then unwind together when we have more time to kill and then thirty will come and, damn, there we’ll be: us, together. Maybe. I’m not thinking kids or a beach house with our hyphenated last names on the doormat or a dog (definitely not a dog), I’m not.
All I’m saying is, damn, maybe forever’s not so far off for this first love, after all.