On January 8th, I went on what seems like my thirtieth Tinder date. Like the preceding 29 other dates, we met up at a bar for a few quick drinks during happy hour.
My boyfriend and I have been together for a full 90 days, and in most scenarios when you are trying to get used to or adjust to something, many experts say 90 days is all it takes.
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WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP FOR FOUR MONTHS
I thought the first month was going to be the hardest because it was something so different and new, but as it turns out, maintaining a relationship is hard work and it doesn’t stop after 30 days.
Four has always been my favorite number. You may wonder, “What’s the significance?” Well, there is none. It’s not my birthday, it’s not how many siblings I have, and it’s not the number that was sewn into my jersey the summer I attempted to play little league. It’s not how many pieces of pizza I can eat in one sitting and it’s not how many people I have slept with. It’s just a number. But, from as early as I can remember, four was – and still is – my lucky number.
That’s why when the fourth month of my relationship was approaching, I thought to myself, “It needs to be really special!”
And I think it was.
I have never said, “I love you” to someone that wasn’t a family member, friend, or Red Lobster employee. It’s not that I was afraid to; it’s just that I never really felt that way for someone. Sure, I would think I was in love with every guy I met – even the ones I only spoke to for a week on Grindr. But, the past few months I started to really understand what love actually is.
A Hugh Grant movie, apparently.
But, what I also discovered is that love is something so extraordinary and distinctive. It’s an emotion that completely takes over your body and your mind. An emotion, I have never felt before
I had wanted to say it to my boyfriend ever since he woke me up on a Sunday morning and presented me with two everything bagels, but I was too scared. “Does he feel the same way? Is it too soon to say it? Is there an extra side of cream cheese in the bag?” I had no idea and it drove me crazy!
I consulted with a few different friends of mine to find out when the right time to say it and the general consensus was – there is no right time. Each one of them said it to their boyfriends at various times and stages of their relationship. One said it after three weeks, another said it after living together for a month, and the other hasn’t said it yet. I was starting to realize that there wasn’t exactly a time line that I needed to say it by. So, I waited.
We would go to lunch and he would grab extra napkins and I would want to say it. He would hold the door open for me, and I would want to say it. He would turn to me in bed and say “Wanna watch Mrs. Doubtfire?” and I would want to say it. But every time I opened my mouth, my heart would stop and I would freak out. I was so scared of the possible rejection.
It wasn’t until two weeks ago, after we had went out for a nice dinner that I said to myself in the bathroom mirror, “Tonight is the night. Say it! You can do it...And also, you have some mustard on your tie.”
We walked out of the restaurant and towards the 23rd street subway station where we would part for the night. We made it to the subway and I looked at him, smiled, counted to four, and said it. “I love you.”
It felt amazing. It was such a release and honestly, at that moment, I didn’t care what his response or reaction would be. I, for the first time in my life, said that four-letter word to somebody. He looked down at me and said, “I knew you were gonna say it tonight!” he kissed me and then pulled back and said, “I love you, too.”
And then I started to cry.
Not only was it the first time I said “I love you” to someone, but it was also the first time someone said it to me. Hearing those words was one of the greatest and sweetest moments I have ever experienced and I was so happy that I trusted my gut and said it.
What you can take from this are two things: One, when you buy your significant other bagels, always make sure there is an extra side of cream cheese. And two, don’t hesitate to say I love you. If it’s someone you’ve been dating for a month, five months, or even just a friend and you want to see where it could go, speak now and say it. You will feel a million times better.
And now that the “love” gate has opened, it has truly made our relationship substantial. I feel like it’s something real – something big. And I never grow tired of hearing that word.