There comes a time in many relationships when you must decide if you are ready to take those next big steps: should we move in together? Should we get a dog? There are lots of good reasons to weigh these decisions carefully (do we want to see each other ALL the time? What if he only wants to get a gross little dog, what does that say about him?) But at the end of the day there’s really only one reason why these are scary decisions: what if we break up?
Of course there’s no way to know for sure if your relationship is going to go the distance or not. Heck, if I had the ability to predict my breakups I…guess I would never have dated anyone ever. But there are some steps you should REALLY avoid taking as a couple unless you are VERY CLOSE TO POSITIVE you aren’t going to break up, or it could make your life very difficult down the line.
Couples Tattoos. Now I know it’s super tempting and romantic to each get a tat of that Greek yogurt you’re both so into right now because it reminds you of how you like to eat breakfast together and also now whenever anyone asks you about your tattoo you can share your really cute story about how you like to eat breakfast together. But you’re gonna want to be SUPER SURE about both him AND the permanence of this Greek yogurt trend because, honey, I give ‘em both a year.
Sharing your Netflix password. You’re a grown up. You pay your $8 a month for Netflix with your hard earned money. So you better be sure that you are sharing that password with someone who isn’t going to leave you as soon as he’s done watching the third season of Portlandia (which they just put online! Yay!)
You know what, while we’re on the subject same goes for your ZipCar, Seamless Web, your parent’s HBO Go password, frequent flyer programs, recipes, and even those little punchcards from the coffee place down the street. These are your assets. Protect them.
Your cutesy relationship/lifestyle blog. We’ve all read ‘em. Those mommy blogs full of pictures of happy, smiley, attractive, usually Mormon families who seem to live in homes that could only exist on Pinterest and who always, ALWAYS seem to have perfect marriages to handsome husbands who wear bowties a lot. These women literally make a living showing you how to lead a good life. Seems like a pretty sweet gig, right? But before you go sign up for your Blogspot account, you gotta be REALLY sure about your relationship because can you even imagine having to explain to the thousands of strangers who you have let into your life that, oops! Harold actually got a wandering eye at a bowtie convention and now our life is in shambles. Let’s leave the public relationship humiliation to the celebrities, okay?
Sharing friends. Look, of course you should have your friends and your significant other meet. And of course you want them to like each other and get along! But I’m just saying do you really want them to BECOME FRIENDS unless you know FOR CERTAIN that you won’t wind up in a custody battle situation down the road? They’re your friends, not your family – they can pick and choose who they are friends with and it doesn’t have to be you! Plus, he is definitely better at knowing about cool new restaurants than you are and has none of the baggage that you and Jenn have from that little spat a few years back over that cute bartender you both hooked up with.
Sharing secrets. “But Laura! A relationship is built on trust!” That may be true, but a breakup is built on revenge. The only way, and I do mean the ONLY way you should divulge any of your darkest secrets is if he also divulges a secret of equal heft. Or you could find yourself moving out of the apartment you prematurely shared, stressing out about finding a new place AND terrified that he’ll tell everyone that you wet the bed well into your twenties. And meanwhile the worst you’ve got on him is that he cried during the Notebook.
Now, again, we can’t ever know for sure what our futures hold. Part of the thrill of dating is taking a risk on another human being and opening your heart to them. Just maybe hold off on opening yourself up to splitting that CSA share with him for a few more years? Because you could find yourself taking on the full share someday, and NOBODY needs that many vegetables.