When things get messy: first dates, anniversaries, and everything in between.

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I often find myself wondering about the blurred lines in modern day relationships. Back in the day, Dick and Jane dated, then were “going steady,” and then got married. But here in the 2000’s things have gotten a lot more complicated. What constitutes a date-Someone asking you to dinner? But what if it’s lunch? Does that mean you’re just friends? 

How do you know whether a get together is just “hanging out” or a real live first date? Are there requirements? T and I to this day don’t really know whether to count the time we met at Biggby’s for coffee or when we went to the zoo. When you’re hanging out in groups or with friends before things get serious  it can be hard to make the distinction. In high school, I dated, but I never had a boyfriend. I also think that half of the time I thought I was on a date when I probably wasn’t, and other times, like my junior prom, I didn’t realize it was something more until the guy started calling me “hun.” There also was the time when the guy I was head over heels for senior year asked me out to lunch and we ended up going to olive garden where he paid. Was that a date? If I experienced the same thing now I would’ve say yes, but back then I wasn’t so sure.

The rules of timing are another thing. How do you keep track of the amount of time you’ve been dating? Many couples celebrate their monthly anniversaries, but that pretty much makes me gag. Plus after you pass the 1 year mark it pretty much seems pointless. 

And then things get trickier: if you break up. This is the thing everyone wonders about but never really talks about. It’s taboo. If you break up and get back together, do you start over? Does the clock reset to day one? I used to be one of the scoffers. I had a friend who dated a guy for a year or two, then broke up with him for several months, then got back together and a month later stated that they were celebrating 2 years together. I was like “uhhh, except you broke up…..” However, once I experienced this phenomenon for myself I felt quite differently. Most of you know that T and I broke up for about a month last spring, and yet I still would say that we’ve been together 2 1/2 years next month. Is this wrong of me? There is so much history, so much that went on, that I feel we can’t just go back to zero. That and we texted each other almost the entire time we were broken up- I don’t think we really understood the concept. I’m also not giving up august 22nd because that was the day that for the first time in my life, I wasn’t single anymore. So I guess it’s up to you. People may judge, but I would feel silly after 2 years being like “we’re celebrating our 3 month.” I mean….. really. 

Maybe things would be easier if there was a universal relationship rule book… Something I could live my life by, and that would put all of us on the same page. Perhaps we’re all just navigating the dating trenches untrained and without bulletproof vests, and even though it’s scary, at least we’re not alone.

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