Carrie – On the advice of my friends Pam and Sam, I’ve started to watch Jane the Virgin. 15 episodes in one day later (I’ve had a very relaxing holiday season, okay?), young Jane asks her mom “what does love feel like?”
Jane’s question inspired me to try to encapsulate my answers in a blog post. So also on strongly-worded suggestions from Pam and Sam, I’ve decided to finally write this blog that I’ve been putting off: the “I’m finally in a relationship again and I’m not sure if I’m in love” post.
There are definitely benefits to being in a serious relationship again and more importantly, committing to someone you really care about. I’ve got a cute, beardy, genuinely nice guy from small-town Manitoba (SO not 6ix) who not only texts me back but calls me first; someone who has got his shit together; moreso than me, with a job, car, and no insane amounts of debt (thanks #lawschool). Bonus: he’s got two eyebrows! (see Mr. Unibrow). He is quick-witted; he remembers minute details like when I randomly told him I hated the taste of Dasani water and weeks later, he grabbed me an Aquafina bottle at the gas station; and my brain’s dopamine levels probably go off the charts when I see him calling my phone. It’s for sure the most mature relationship I’ve been in, with someone who is willing to talk about our issues, own up, and apologize (cause he’s the one who’s always wrong).
But sometimes I have nagging single-girl tendencies that come creeping up from the depths of my subconscious.
- For example, gone are the days of the stints of dry spells; I have a consistent sex-source. (But also my only sex source.)
- No longer do I have to worry about finding someone who’s down to Netflix with me on a Friday night in the -30 weather when I don’t feel like going out, I’ve got a go-to cuddle buddy. (But sometimes I miss regaling my girlfriends with stories of the latest fuckbois over brunch.)
I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I mean that in two ways. Firstly, I don’t know why I made such a big deal of holding out for my tenth kill. In fact, it was putting myself out there back on the Tinder grind full-throttle led me to Mr. LY/LYN. And now, with the thought of being tied down again, I wonder if I did myself a disservice to not have “lived” a little more while I’m still in my prime (I am convinced I peaked in fourth year).
But secondly, and maybe more curiously, I mean holding off this blog post. Is it my need to have the holistic picture after the end of relationships to be able to write about it? Is it my fear of publicizing my rejection online if/when things inevitably come to an end? Is it my perpetual mode to be cynical?
So here is my attempt to Be Brave and write about the thing that scares me the most: have I fallen in love again?
“What does love feel like? How do you know for sure you’re in love?”
While Jane’s mother responds, “it sort of feels like your heart is glowing,” I find this very unhelpful in terms of practical assessment. If I were writing on the show, I would say there should be:
Stage One: Attraction.
Our first kiss, I got tingles-in-the-groin. Fuck that whole ~butterflies-in-the-stomach~, you’re confusing the physical manifestation of “I wanna bang this guy” with the hyper-romanticized ideal. Attractions gotta be (down) there or else you have a friendship.
Stage Two: Lust.
If you’ve got someone who is rushing to wiggle your panties off while you’re watching TV and you’re just as into it, you might have the makings of a physical relationship. In fact, our first time having sex was a four-hour rodeo with three main acts 🙂 Alas, cowboy has backed down a bit, but there’s still a mutual spark after banging the same dude for five months.
Stage Three: Common Traits/Values.
Our first date was at a county fair where Mr. LY/LYN bought me beer and mini donuts (and thank God not a fucking gigantic stuffed animal). That moment, I knew we were pretty compatible. After all, the way to a girl’s heart is free booze and food. When the conversation could bounce from a spectrum of good beers, best board games, live music, to Aboriginal issues, it was actually incredible that I had picked someone from the Tinder bunch that could keep up with my Gilmore-Girls-paced dialogue.
Stage Four: Communication.
Even when we have differing views, we always talk it out. In fact, after texting for a week and seeing each other once, Mr. LY/LYN (CLEARLY) wasn’t thinking and sent me a snap of a convo with his friend, talking about how his ex-girlfriend moved on with a fat guy. RED FLAGS, right? It was weird beyond words. He thought it was funny (I didn’t) and normally I would run. But his ability to apologize and explain his side of view while recognizing mine, he even convinced me a little that it wasn’t that weird. (It WAS weird and I still bring it up when he says he’s not weirder than me).
Stage Five: Appreciation for your partner.
When I’m around Mr. LY/LYN, sometimes he gets this coy look on his face where I can just tell he’s admiring me. And for someone who has seen me when I’ve woken up, puffy-eyed, sweaty from cuddling, with greasy hair and stress pimples, I find it hard to believe he thinks of me as a catch. That’s when you know you’ve trapped his ass. 😉 (and yes, okay, fine, I admit I appreciate him too).
Stage Six: Not Giving Up On Each Other.
This. Is. The. Most. Important. Thing. (For. Me.)
I am irritating and irritable, I admit. While I may be a bitch 22 hours of the day and we bicker every other day already, we both don’t seem to call it quits. This is also after one of my hardest years, with the start of our relationship dealing with the passing of my two grandparents and an STI scare between us. We have had plenty of opportunities to walk away, but a true and strong partnership is with someone who sticks around and makes it work.
So am I in love?
But what if it doesn’t work? At least not all the time. What if you’ve found someone great and who you get along with 90 percent of the time – heck, he even does adorable things that go above and beyond what I have ever expected – yet you’re still not sure if you’re in love. So say, he does 5 percent more than I would ever imagine a boyfriend would do (e.g. surprising me with a date to IKEA for the Swedish meatballs and a $100 budget as a Christmas gift where we re-enact 500 Days of Summer).
What if, and “what if” has been on my mind a lot lately, there’s still 5 percent of the main course missing? Can you build that up and work on it together? Or is it time to call it quits because you’re not feeling quite there yet?
Some days, when we’re tickling each other on my bed and I look at him, I admittedly think “wow, I am falling in love with this guy.” And then other days, when he leaves and is distant, I’m reminded that even after several months of dating, we haven’t spent more than 15 hours together because he always rushes off in the mornings. Then I think “I don’t love him because I don’t even truly know him.”
In actuality, there’s 1094390148209348 stages to fall in love, unique to each person’s and each couple’s wants and needs. I just don’t know right now with Mr. LY/LYN.
Truth is Jane, it’s hard to be sure if you’re in love. I’ve abandoned Hollywood precepts of “love at first sight” or “you know when you know” because it doesn’t work that way in reality. Sometimes, you build on love together, and maybe that’s the most lasting way. I’ll keep you posted.