Have you ever thought “how do I know if they are the one?”
There must be some signs that will show me I am with the right person, right?
Another Facebook friend of mine asked me the same thing. It’s complicated for sure but so much of it relies each being your authentic selves. I want to share a honest and funny article by Liv Mello that breaks it down for you.
8 Cringy Habits of Successful Couples
It’s not as glamourous as you think.
I may not be an expert when it comes to successful relationships, but I know a dysfunctional one when I see it. I’ve suffered my fair share of dating fails. My high school sweetheart was hardly sweet. He dumped me at prom after stealing my virginity and self-esteem for years to come, which led me to my second boyfriend…
A certified pathological liar who told different versions of a similar story depending upon his target audience, and my third? Ah yes, he was a keeper, until he knocked up his best friend’s girlfriend. Need I continue?
Assuming that I’ve earned your empathy, I’ll spare myself the rest and revel in my more recent good luck because not to brag or anything but I might have found — dare I say — The One.
I used to wonder if I would know when I found it. My best friend, who’s been with her now-fiance for over ten years, always said, “trust me, you’ll know.” But I wasn’t convinced. I had fallen in love lots of times before. I had experienced the butterflies, the rush. In the end, it never worked out.
“When you find the right person,” she said, “you won’t have to wonder. You won’t have to try so hard. It’ll be more cool and casual than you think, and once you start doing some weird shit together, you’ll realize, this is it.”
I wanted to ask her what she meant by “weird shit,” but it turns out, I didn’t have to. I soon learned for myself.
1. They fart.
Not just in front of each other, on each other. Not on purpose, of course. That’s crude. By accident. Mostly.
Let’s journey back to the beginning. Larry and I met on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. We hit it off immediately but took things slow. The final destination of this fourteen-day cruise was Recife, Brazil. The day we arrived, I got severely ill. Lars was supposed to fly back to the UK but he canceled his flight to take care of me.
While I suffered a spastic oscillation of chills and sweats back in the hotel room, only disrupting my pathetic vertical position long enough to hack more mucus up into the bathroom sink, Larry ventured out into the hottest hour of the afternoon to scour the foreign streets for a convenience store that sold tea, soup, and Guarana, Brazil’s rendition of Ginger Ale.
After the credit card machine coughed out multiple declined receipts and he struggled to follow Portuguese directions to the nearest ATM, he eventually completed the transaction and returned to the hotel. Drenched in sweat, he made me a cup of tea with honey, then soaked my bedsheet in cold water to cool my fever — a kind gesture that caused more chills for other reasons. Fearless of catching my disease, and unscathed by my sticky face and hacking lungs, he even slept beside me.
And that was the first time I farted on him. It woke us both up. I was half embarrassed and half too-sick-to-care. Larry just smiled and kissed my balmy forehead, then we both sunk back into our slumber. This fleeting moment solidified my admiration for Larry and has haunted me ever since.
But then, just last week, Larry farted in his sleep while I occupied Big Spoon, so you can imagine where that positioned me in relation to his love puff. Unfortunately, he was out like a light. My giggles didn’t even wake him. The next morning, he was elated to learn that he finally returned the favor.
2. They’re never too tired for bedtime banter.
Not a single night has gone by that we haven’t laughed ourselves to sleep. We don’t rehash the stresses of the day. We don’t bring up the looming uncertainties of our future, as we’re citizens of different countries and the entire world seems to be slipping deeper and deeper down the shitter.
We imitate Marcel the Shell, practice our horrendous Spanish, and smother ourselves in irrepressible, gut-wrenching laughter.
Larry is a master of impressions. Last night, I fell asleep to the sweet whisperings of Matthew McConaughey and this morning I woke up beside a German bodybuilder who demanded I fetch eight raw eggs to fulfill his daily protein consumption. It might sound stupid or severely childish, but as we breach our 30th and 40th year on Earth, silliness seems to be the only incentive for staying young.
There’s no such thing as a dull moment when you’re with the right person. You’ll stumble drunkenly into ridiculous reasons to smile, no matter what hour of the day.
While I’m on the topic of sleep, I should mention that this auspicious ritual has absolved us both of our lifelong inflictions of insomnia. Interestingly enough, there is now scientific proof that attributes lying next to someone you love to falling asleep more easily. Expert, Andrea Petersen wrote in the Wall Street Journal that cortisol levels drop when sharing your bed with a partner, which lessens your stress levels and eases a person’s anxiety. If that’s not fascinating enough, there’s also evidence that it could slow down your aging and allow you to live longer. Scottish neuropsychologist, David Weeks wrote in the book, Secrets of the Superyoung,that having regular quality cuddle time and lovemaking can make you look 10 years younger.
3. They love indulging in awkward conversations.
**Disclaimer: Skip this section if you don’t.**
Here’s our motto. The more uncomfortable a topic makes you feel, the more reason to talk about it. Whether it’s complaining about the undesirable bowel movements of my period or his deep-rooted fear of horned farmyard animals from a daunting childhood experience that left him with a crater in his right buttcheek [it sounds funny but you could lose a finger in his goat hole], we proceed openly without interruption, offense, or jumping to conclusions.
As much as I would have loved to be healthy in Brazil, illness forced us to get close quickly. We went from strangers in Barcelona, saying hello in line for a cruise, to new friends crashing a scooter in Africa, to the frank “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.” Any ounce of mystery was thrown out the window before it even had a chance to settle in.
I truly believe this level of intimacy is even more important than sex. Being unafraid to speak about taboo topics has helped us get closer to each other and ourselves.
Over the last year, I’ve evolved into a more openly honest and shameless individual. It’s so freeing, especially as a woman, to navigate the world in an unapologetic way, rather than tiptoe through life pretending we all pee rainbows and poo butterflies. What happens when you’re 92 and there’s a stranger — or worse, your own children — wiping your wrinkly butt? Forget old age. You’ll die of sheer embarrassment.
In the words of OutKast, “I know you like to think your shit don’t stink” but…your shit stinks. His stinks. Hers stinks. Even the Queen of England’s stinks. Larry knows, he met her. We’re all just walking, talking catalysts of our own shit at the end of the day. That might be a grim way to put it but it’s poetic, nonetheless.
Laying everything out on the table — warts and all — is the only way to know for sure if you vibe with your partner’s idiosyncrasies. If you can’t handle them at their worst, you won’t appreciate them at their best.
4. They stick to the goddamn schedule.
Since I can whip up a mean fruit bowl and Larry is the bastard child of Gordon Ramsy and Julia Child, our cooking schedule made itself. I’m on breakfast duty and he’s in charge of dinner. He washes the dishes in the morning, I wash the dishes at night. Whoever wakes up first makes coffee for two. No questions, no arguments. Full bellies, happy humans.
As someone who gets acid reflux at the thought of monotony, I’m surprised to admit that simple routines make life a hell of a lot easier.
We don’t compete to be the best at something and we’re happy admitting when we suck. I’ve seen this ruin other relationships — couples competing to be the most successful at work, the most well-liked among their friends, the most athletic at the gym, the funniest at a party. A little playful competition is healthy, but it shouldn’t disrupt your harmony.
There’s a difference between wanting to be your best self and simply trying to be better than your partner.
Larry and I can’t compete because he’s essentially better at everything. That’s what I love about him. I’ve learned so much from his creativity, patience, and handiness. The only time we have ever come close to competing was when we started learning Spanish. I was sitting by the pool when I received a notification from my Duoling app that said, “Dr. Codswallop just beat your high score. What are you going to do about it?”
I’ll admit, I was pissed but, when he took the reigns the next time we ordered street tacos, I was both relieved and impressed.
A partnership means that you’re on the same team, so you have to start playing like you are. Otherwise, you both lose.
5. They call each other out on their bullshit.
Larry and I ignore each other more often than we care to admit. Still, we admit it. It’s normal not to listen to every word your partner has to say. It’s not normal to get mad about it. Don’t try to pretend or make excuses when the truth is, you just don’t care about whatever news story they’re ranting about. Chances are it’s boring as hell.
Just because you like each other doesn’t always mean you find all of the same things interesting.
So rather than get upset, we quiz each other for prizes. It goes a little something like this. Larry says, “It’s really fascinating since we pretty much use the hexadecimal color code every day.”
“I don’t know what that is,” I say.
“I know because you weren’t listening.”
“Yes, I was… am… always do.”
“Oh yeah, really? OK. If you can sum it up in a few words, I’ll walk to the store right now and buy you a tub of Tonight Dough.”
“Yeah, sure. Duh, obviously. That’s easy. You were saying…uh…”
I’ve been buying my own ice cream lately. I appreciate the exercise.
We’re only human. We all bottom-burp. If you can’t laugh about it with the one you’re with, you’re with the wrong one.
6. They have absolutely NO control over one another, nor do they want to.
Every single day is absurd and peculiar. We thrive in spontaneity and the notion that anything could happen, which has led us to live in three different countries over the last year and a half. Having the courage to forgo your inhibitions — whether it’s catching the next flight to Australia or rolling out of bed on a Wednesday morning to watch the sunrise — that’s how you write your life’s most memorable stories.
When we met, we were both leading unpredictable, nontraditional lifestyles. We’ve escaped the captivity of nine-to-five work through freelancing, but are forced to live rather frugally. Since we love to travel, we value happiness and new experiences over financial success. We find comfort in not having a home base. We’re not making it work despite our differences, though I admire and envy couples that can. It works because we do.
I can’t quite understand why anyone would want to change or control the person they fell in love with anyway. Didn’t you choose them for a reason?
Larry allows me to marinate inside the flighty and crude woman that I am, and I let him parade around in his inappropriate humor and eccentricities. We shirk gender norms, and we have zero control over the words that come out of each other’s mouths.
I was slightly terrified to introduce my new pet to my parents. Surprisingly, they invited him to our family Christmas party. After one too many spiked eggnogs on the patio, he battled with what he thought was a sliding glass door. The entire family watched in befuddlement. Eventually, my six-year-old cousin broke rank. With a simple twist of the handle, she pulled the door inward on its hinges and let the fool free.
Besides that, he was well-behaved. Not once did he pee on the rug or hump Grandma’s leg. When I confessed my initial nerves at the end of the night, he smiled and said, “A good comedian knows his audience.”
7. They don’t treat each other like throw pillows.
We make a point to check-in throughout the day, even when we’ve been together twenty-four-seven for the last 140 of them. Good lord, I just did the math and that’s 3,360 hours. [Cue the knife sound-effects from the infamous Psycho shower scene.] Thank God for toilet breaks.
We don’t do this suspiciously or to pry, but with a simple, you a’right? [Said best in an English accent.] Unlike social situations where the same question is asked out of politeness over interest, ours is a genuine inquiry.
Don’t treat your partner like a throw pillow; something that’s there every morning and night but gets forgotten as you toss it around. A pillow’s purpose is support, not to look good or fulfill some sort of decorative facade.
Not sure if your partner is actually just a throw pillow? Here are three irrefutable situations in which they most definitely are.
- The sole purpose of dating this person is to plaster their pretty face all over your social media account. Look world, look who I’m shagging these days!
- The only thing you have in common is your obsession over their body. It doesn’t count if you also share the same obsession with your own.
- You started dating just in time for the holidays so you could bring them to the Christmas party and prove to your grandmother that you’re not a complete disappointment to the family lineage.
Did you pass the test? Nice! Now, don’t forget to check-in. It’s a simple way to acknowledge the person you claim isn’t just a cute faux fur lumbar pillow you found on sale at Wayfair. This sincere act of validation proves you care about their mental state even on the most ordinary of days. And I think you’d agree, they’re all pretty ordinary these days.
8. They gently slap the sense into each other.
Being similar certainly helps but still, our methods of learning and our reaction speeds are vastly different. In the past few months alone, we’ve encountered stressful situations in which one of us inevitably overreacts. I’m not quite sure how, but we always manage to balance each other out.
Even if you read life at different speeds, you will always find yourselves on the same page.
If I’m stressed, he’s cool as a cucumber sandwich. If he’s pissed, I’m zen as hell. Intuitively knowing how to douse your partner’s fire is crucial, without being wishy-washy or vacuous with empty encouragements like, “Don’t worry babe, everything will be OK.”
Effective reassurance sometimes requires being realistic and brutally honest. There’s nothing better in this godforsaken world than a partner who stands on-call with the exact pep talk you need at the exact moment you need it.
I know I’m not the first person to say this but communication is key. If you’ve mastered that, you’ve mastered everything. And if you’ve mastered everything on this cringy list then ladies and gentlemen, you may have found yourself the one. Now cringe and be merry.❤
Try them out for yourself and let me know how you do. Once you work on these habits with your ‘One and Only’, you will be ready to deepen your connection at my Getting the Love You Want couples’ workshop this summer. If you need a litte more support in finding ‘The One’, you can join the Keeping the Love You Find Workshop for singles. I hope you will join me!