The Friend Zone: Women’s Edition

Women are notorious for taking perfectly dateable men and transporting them to a cold, dark place known as The Friend Zone. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. And we probably have at least one  “friend” that we’re kicking ourselves in the ass for friend-zoning.

But let’s not assume that this practice is exclusive to women. Men, I’ve found, do the same thing, and women are just as oblivious to it.

When it comes to The Friend Zone, there’s really no question as to why a man has been put there: the woman doesn’t want to date you. She will never date you. She will ask you to fix stuff for her, and she will bitch about the asshole she’s currently dating, but she will never date you, and that is clear.

Not so with men. They have what I like to call the Back Up Barn and it is here that they herd sad, desperate females with the oft-unfulfilled promise of “I dunno, maybe, one day, possibly, I guess.”

Here’s how to tell if you’re just another sexy sheep.

 

1. Obviously if he’s being up front with you about his other romantic interests then you are not one of them. Most women are smart enough to figure that out, so they pack it up and move on. But if he’s being deliberately vague with you about other women, or what his feelings are with respect to you, guess what? HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY. You’re a Plan B, sweetheart. A silver medal. Give it up.

2. If all of his compliments are with respect to your looks, that’s pretty much all he’s interested in. Feel free to fuck him all ya want, but don’t expect it to go further than that. Men are not as shallow as we make them out to be – he’s not pursuing a relationship with a pretty girl just because she’s pretty; he’s actually interested in her, on some level, as a human being. The majority of people aren’t going to enter in to a commitment with someone they can’t stand or have nothing in common with – and that includes men. If you think every guy who’s ever turned you down falls under that category, maybe you should ask yourself why you’re drawn to that kind of man in the first place.

3. You know how you’ll talk to someone every day, and there’s flirtatious banter and cutesy exchanges and winky faces and hearts and shit? Ever had that just stop abruptly, and suddenly your conversations (which you always seem to initiate) become forced, and there is absolutely zero explanation for it? There is an explanation for it: he’s talking to a girl who isn’t you. And if this happens every few weeks or so, he’s talking to a lot of girls who aren’t you.

Yes, people get busy. Yes, shit happens unexpectedly. But people who actually give a shit about you are willing to explain that. If a guy can spend three hours texting back and forthwith you,  he can spend three seconds texting you to say he’s busy at work, or out of town for the week. If he doesn’t, you weren’t that important to begin with. Get over it and find someone who does think you’re worth three seconds of their time.

4. It takes a lot for a anyone, male or female, to muster up the courage to ask a potential partner point blank where we stand as far as dating is concerned. That’s a really vulnerable position to be in – and if the guy snaps on you, gets pissed off, clams up, is visibly offended, or basically reacts in any way that isn’t civilized open dialogue, you’re a back up bitch. You exist solely for “just in case”. Otherwise, why is he turning this in to such an issue? Why would he make you feel about thisbig for asking a fairly simple question?

Remember ladies and gentlemen:

-You are no one’s second choice.

-You are no one’s silver medal.

-You are no one’s back up plan.

 

If you think that’s all you deserve, go be in a relationship with yourself for a while. It’s probably for the best.

The Ten Things Men and Women Need to Stop Doing In Relationships

If there’s one thing I learned at the end of a 6 1/2 year relationship it’s that you have to pick your battles. 

I get that you might feel right. You might feel justified. You might be applying so deep meaning to what appears, on its a face, a very trivial issue. You might be compelled to explain your feelings to your partner for the next three hours. Really hash things out.

What the fuck for? You could just drop it and make the sex. Aww yiss.

Less bitching. More talking. Here’s how.

 

LADIES

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1. Stop giving a shit about the toilet seat.

Who. Gives. A fuck? Is this really something you need to spend time discussing? No, it’s not the principle of the thing. No, it’s not a matter of respect. No, it’s not his responsibility. Look before you sit down. Just like they look before they pee. Why is this such an issue?

 

angry

2. Stop saying you’re fine when you’re not.

You aren’t fooling anyone, you know that right? He knows you’re not fine. Stop saying you’re fine. Grow up and tell him what’s wrong and quit making him walk on eggshells. In the grown up world, we call that communication.

 

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3. Stop picking fights during Guys’ Night.

You said he could go out. You encouraged it. You were all cool about it, like, “aww, baby, sure, you deserve some time off!” And now you wanna blow up his phone all, “I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP ME WITH THESE KIDS” and “WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU PUT ALL THE COFFEE FILTERS?!” and “YOU SELFISH BASTARD, YOU NEVER THINK OF ANYONE BUT YOURSELF!” lolwut? You don’t just sound crazy – you are being crazy. Knock it off.

 

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4. Stop assuming he’s insulting you.

Sometimes guys don’t talk the words real good. But if this man really thought you were a fat, hideous she-beast, why would he be sticking it to you in the first place? If a joke crosses the line, tell him so – but not like a rage-fueled cunt. If it’s just poor phrasing, fucking let it go.

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5. Stop expecting to be treated like royalty.

This just in: you are the princess of fuck all. Yeah, I know, every woman wants a boyfriend who will shower her with love and affection and shiny things and will bring her breakfast in bed and whatever else you think signifies true devotion.Tough shit – you’re not a fucking princess anymore than he’s a prince. You both fart, and are assholes, and forget to put your dishes in the sink, and swear too much, and your feet smell when they get hot and sweaty. In short – you are human. And while you have every right to demand that you are treated as such, stop expecting to have your ass kissed just because you have a vag.

 

GENTLEMEN

napkin

1. Stop fucking up our shit.

It really doesn’t make a bit of difference to us if you don’t understand why there are guest towels and house towels, or why there is fancy soap you’re not allowed to use, or why you can’t use the good dishes to microwave nachos. You don’t need to understand. Just respect our request to leave that shit alone and we’ll stop setting your ties on fire.

 

mowing

2. Stop telling us that there’s a “better” ways to do things.

It might be your way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. If we’re getting the task done just as efficiently and thoroughly as you do, then what the hell do you care? Besides, if you keep pushing it, we’ll just make you do whatever it is.

 

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3. Stop bitching about prep time.

Oh, I’m sorry, does it bother you that I’d like to step out of the house in something other than gym shorts and bedhead? I know that totally works for you, but I personally would rather not go to lunch looking like a hobo’s asshole. And by the way, that old line, “you look beautiful no matter what” is fucking annoying. Stop saying it, because we all know it’s just a weak attempt to get us out of the house faster.

 

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4. Stop treating us like bros.

No, we don’t want to be farted on. No, we don’t want to take shots for every kill we get in Halo 4. No, we don’t want to watch a marathon of American Ninja Warrior. Maybe sometimes that stuff is okay and we’ll indulge you, but that first indulgence does not mean we want to put on our favorite Affliction shirt and go pick up on bitches. We are ladies. Please treat us as such.

 

clueless

5. Stop playing dumb.

You are not Peter Griffin. We know you’re not an idiot. If you can’t remember shit, put reminders in your phone. Make yourself a list. Get a fucking whiteboard. If you didn’t take out the trash, admit that it’s because you were playing Battlefield all day – don’t tell us it’s because you were trying to fix the dishwasher or you were on the phone with important clients all day. We know it’s bullshit. We can see it on your fucking face.

 

 

Dating Someone With Kids: What You Should Know

I think it’s a fair assessment to say the stigma of single motherhood as far as the dating pool goes has decreased drastically. More men seem to be open to the idea – especially since we’re seeing more single fathers. But if you’ve never dated someone with children you probably have no idea what you’re getting in to – and you should, because kids are kind of a big deal what with them being tiny human beings with delicate little brains and all.

So here’s a heads up that will, with any luck, enable you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you’re equipped to handle it.


1. No one is more important than the kids.

This should be a no-brainer, but when you’ve exclusively dated the childless, you get accustomed to being numero uno in your partner’s life. And it’s not like you have kids, so you don’t really know what it’s like to be in a relationship where there is a mutual understanding that the kids have top billing in this show. But it’s true. Don’t take it personally. Or go right the fuck ahead and take it personally – there are other fish in the sea.

2. There are “kid snacks” in the house, and you don’t fucking touch them.

This isn’t a college dorm, where a box of cookies is fair game. No, bitch. Those go in lunch bags and are used as negotiation tools to persuade the little bastards to leave the room for ten minutes so you can finish this week’s episode of The Wire. If it’s a food item advertised on Nickelodeon, you better grab a fucking apple and hit the bricks, son. (The one exception is if there is a disproportionate amount of goodies to children. Three bottles of apple juice, two kids? Well, you have to drink the third one. That’s just family politics.)

3. Shit gets loud.

If someone is a normal parent and not a goddamn Nazi, they don’t subscribe to the belief that children should be seen and not heard. Kids are going to run, jump, shout, sing, yell at each other, cry, bitch, moan, nag, laugh, and be generally obnoxious – but it’s all in good fun (usually). Even if you’re inside and they’re outside in the yard, they’re going to come in the house every five minutes with a question, a request, a complaint, or to get something that they absolutely need right this very minute. They will accidentally slam doors, drop things, fall down, and cry dramatically to get their sibling in more trouble than they deserve. Parenting is a constant struggle between getting them to the shut the fuck up and letting them be kids. Get some earplugs, some patience, and remember how sweet they are when they laugh.

4. Shit gets messy.

The reality is that the house is not going to look like a magazine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Shit happens, and it’s happening constantly. And sometimes it’s not even the kids. My girls clean their rooms every day, and are responsible for putting their toys away. But there are days where I’ve worked nine hours, driven home in shitty traffic, stopped to grab groceries, came home, made dinner, given them a bath, and gotten them in pajamas and in to bed at 9:15, do you actually think I’m going to vacuum the floor right now? Do you think I give a shit about the toothpaste smiley face they drew on the bathroom mirror at this very second? Fuck off or clean it yourself.

5. Sometimes we’re boring.

I’m not old, you guys. I’m 29 for Chrissakes. But my idea of fun has changed dramatically, and even men my age without kids don’t understand why I think spending the day at the river having a picnic and walking along the shore is a great time – especially since there’s no liquor involved.

I’m not saying I don’t still enjoy the occasional party, that I don’t go to the occasional bar, that I don’t stay out until two having dinner and drinks with friends. But those times are few and far between, and I like it that way. I like that my weekends are spent at parks or science museums or taking road trips up to the Redwoods. And I cherish those weekends that are spent doing abso-fucking-lutely nothing at all.

6. Sometimes we’re tired.

Don’t get insulted if we don’t want to stay awake after to kids go to bed and watch a movie. We aren’t avoiding you. We are fucking exhausted. Wake us up in an hour. Maybe then we’ll be rested enough for sexy time.

7. We don’t need you to play mommy/daddy.

In situations where the other parent is an active, positive role in the kid’s life, we do not, in any way, expect, require, or even want you to step in. Don’t spank my kid. Don’t ask my kid to call you daddy. Work out with the person you’re dating where the line for discipline needs to be drawn so you are both perfectly clear as to what that entails. Obviously, you should be someone the kid can depend on, who can fix boo-boos and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But if you want a kid…make your own. 

8. Domestication isn’t so bad.

It’s kind of cool, having clean laundry all folded and put away huh? Clean dishes? House smells nice? Holy shit, are these linen napkins?!

There’s a whole new level of adult-type-shit that goes along with having kids. It’s the difference between having color-safe bleach and fabric softener and, well, not having those things. It’s having every size and shape of bandage in an organized First Aid kit. It’s always having a pen, always having snacks in your glove compartment, having dinner at 6PM every night at an actual table. It’s a porch light always being left on for you. It’s coming home from a night out to someone who fell asleep watching Investigation Discovery on the couch so they could kiss you hello, no matter how late it is. There’s a sort of comforting normalcy that goes along with the hectic-yet-structured schedule of having kids.

9. You will never be on time for anything again, ever.

We try, dude, I swear to god we do, but all it takes is one lost shoe, one broken toy, one stumble down the steps, one little asshole kid who refuses to turn the fuck around in his carseat because he’s mad at you for not letting him have another popsicle. Then BAM the whole fucking trip is set back half an hour. We even attempt to build time in for these little snafus – how many parents have said “I’ll say I’ll be there at 4:30, even though I should be able to make it by 4:00, that way I’m covered”? Except what happens? There’s a fucking gas leak and your garage explodes and oh shit, you just ran over your neighbor’s cat OH FUCK YOU FORGOT TO GET THE KIDS IN THE CAR IN THE FIRST PLACE.

But I swear, we try.

10. There will be times that we are lazy parents, and we don’t give a shit what you think.

Wouldn’t we all love to say we never let our kid watch cartoons, eat candy, or talk back? That’s the fuckin’ dream, isn’t it?

Yeah, well, that doesn’t happen.

Sometimes a Dora marathon is the only way I can clean and reorganize the closet, or finish a chapter I’m writing. Sometimes a lollipop is the only way I can get them to shut up so I can have an uninterrupted conversation with my banker. Sometimes my kid will get smart with me and I will get so pissed off that I literally cannot speak, because the only words I can think to say are “go fuck yourself, you little shit.”

We love our kids, don’t we? We love them madly. But sometimes cutting them a break means cutting ourselves a break, and if you want to get all judgey for that, well…just wait until it’s your turn.

 

Don’t Be A Girlfriend – Be A Bro!

Ladies, if you haven’t heard, men are no longer interested in girly girls with painted toes and pretty dresses. Men want a girl who can drink. Men want a girl who likes camping and fishing and getting dirty. Men want a girl they can show off to their friends and party with.

Men don’t want to date a woman. They want to date a bro.

Here’s how to give them what they want.

1. Burp and fart a lot.

Men love a gassy woman. In fact, if you can find a way to fart on them, that’s even better.

fart

2. Enjoy sports.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t care about them, don’t have a favorite team, or can’t tell the difference between an orange bouncy ball and the oblong brown one. If you want him to put a ring on it, you jump on his team’s bandwagon and you fucking like it.


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3. Drink beer, preferably from a tube or funnel.

Real women don’t use glasses and they sure as shit don’t drink wine. They drink the fizzy, delicious man nectar otherwise known as beer, and they drink a lot of it at once. Then they kick ass at beer pong and throw up in a potted plant. Then they start taking shots while listening to Lil Jon.

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4. Fuck manners.

Only pussies don’t act super obnoxious in public. Don’t use your napkin! Remember to burp! Impede on the conversations of everyone nearby by loudly discussing tits and how smashed you got last weekend!

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5. Stop putting so much effort in to your looks.

A bro can be showered, dressed, and ready to go in under thirty minutes, especially if he has the complete line of Axe products. Shower, shit, and shave, then throw on whatever doesn’t smell like last night’s vomit. Deodorant optional.

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6. Rid yourself of all girly paraphernalia.

Fuck your fluffy pillows and your Egyptian cotton sheets; get yourself a futon for fucksakes You don’t need vases of flowers, you need ashtrays and all of the liquor bottles from previous parties on full display. Is that a fucking chaise lounge? What the fuck is a chaise lounge? Get a goddamn tiki bar and take down any pictures of Marilyn Monroe that don’t show titties.

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7. Watch better movies.

No one wants to see “White People Fall In Love Then Someone Dies” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Drop all your bitch-made notions about movies and go watch SuperMegaFuckYou Lords of Domination and Dat Ass, Part IV. You’ll thank me later.

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(Chuck Norris doesn’t need a fucking meme, bitch.)

Fellas, if you don’t really find any of that to be particularly appealing when it comes to your mate, maybe you should start appreciating the other ways in which your partner can be your best friend.

 

How To Tell That Bitch Be Crazy: A Gentleman’s Guide

The majority of magazines we see on the shelves seem to be targeted toward women. Single women. Single, independent women. Women that don’t need to take no shit from no man, nosir! And, as you’d expect, the pages are filled with useful “tips” and “checklists” to help them narrow down and filter out the countless douchebags that run in and out of their lives.

Men don’t seem to get the benefit of getting monthly Crazy Bitch Lists, though, which hardly seems fair since the douchebag/crazy bitch ratio is pretty even.

Fellas, I’m here to help. And not with the obvious stuff that you guys already know – saying I love you too soon, going through your phone, etc. No, no.

You deserve better.

 

1. She looks run through.

Ya’ll know what I mean, right? Banged more times than a screen door? Ridden like the town bike?

Now let’s get one thing straight: I firmly believe that a woman should be able to have as many (or as few) sexual partners as she wants without being criticized or labeled a whore. You are not a whore if you practice safe sex. You just like sex. And that’s cool.

But there are women who don’t have that kind of respect for themselves, and as a result, they look…well…run through. Maybe she hasn’t even had sex with that many guys, she’s just sucked a lot of dick. In any event, she wasn’t having sex with these men because she wanted to have sex and she’s comfortable in her body. She did it for attention and affection, no matter how briefly it was given. And you can tell, because it leaves a visible residue of run through-edness.

If you can’t tell if a girl looks run through, ask a lady friend. They’ll know. We always know.

Girls make bad decisions. Crazy girls keep making them. Don’t be another bad decision.

2. She’s rude to waiters.

I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. For one, you have got to be crazy as batshit if you mouth off to people who touch your food.

It also shows a blatant disrespect for people she considers to be “beneath” her, which means she holds herself in pretty high esteem – and even if she’s brilliant and beautiful and successful, that’s no excuse to be an asshole to a stranger. If she’s going to be that shitty to someone whose last name she doesn’t know because they forgot to leave off the onions, what’s she going to do YOU if you forget to take out the trash?

3. She hates kids.

If you also hate kids, you can disregard this one. You’re both clearly insane.

And to clarify, I don’t mean she doesn’t want kids. I don’t mean kids make her uncomfortable. Some people just aren’t kid people. But in my experience, people who actually harbor a hatred for kids are fucking looney tunes. They’re children. They are loud and stinky, yes, but mostly they’re innocent and harmless. And they give you an excuse to play with Legos again. Who hates that? It’s weird.

4. Facebook is way more important than it should be.

If she keeps pestering you to make things Facebook official; if your notifications are full of shit she’s tagged you in, if she must commemorate a trip to Starbucks with a couples’ selfie, that bitch is nutty like a Payday bar.

I understand that social media plays a huge role in peoples’ lives now, but your news feed should never look like this:

(9:46AM) Jessica M. Just woke up and already thinking about my man @JohnWilliams! #hesthebest #luckyme

(10:29AM) Jessica M. Getting ready to go to a movie with the boyfriend @JohnWilliams! #sospoiled

(11:17AM) Jessica M. On my way to the theater! #excited #cantwait

(11:34AM) Jessica M. Standing outside of the theater! Aren’t we a cute couple! <insert stupid fucking selfie here>

(12:22PM) Jessica M. Left theater to pee, just want to remind you bitches @JohnWilliams is MINE #dontbejealous

(2:08PM) Jessica M -> John Williams’ Wall:

I ONLY NEED YOU, BABY!!! XOXOXOXOSMUSHYKISSKISS<3<3<3

cornymeme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What. The. Fuck.

5. She drinks…a LOT.

If all of your dates must include a party, a bar, a club, or the opportunity for her to get smashed out of her mind, then guess what? She’s not fun. She’s not a party girl. She’s a wackadoo with a drinking problem.

Shit, she might not even really have a drinking problem, but it’s always a red flag if she’s gotta get tipsy whenever you guys hang out. She’s either insecure with her own personality and drowns that insecurity in gin, or she really does have a fucked-off, boring personality and alcohol is the only thing that makes her interesting. To quote the Governator, “Get out; get out now!”

 

Gentlemen, I wish you the best in finding the lady of your dreams. But if she’s a nightmare, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

 

How to Be Happy and In Love…AT THE SAME TIME!

1. Kiss passionately at least once a day. Not a peck on the cheek or a quick smooch – I mean kiss like you’re teenagers for a good 5-10 seconds every day. If you can’t find the time in your day to do this, your priorities are fucked up.

2. Have sex as often as humanly possible. For some people, that’s once a week, for others it’s five days a week. If it’s quick and nothing to brag about, who cares? It’s sex, it’s a great stress reliever, and it’s important to make time for it. What good is having a “date night” if the two of you aren’t fucking each other? Next time you get a sitter, skip spending money on dinner and a movie, get a hotel, and make dirty monkey love.

3. Play games. Cards, a board game, video games, Hangman, I don’t give a shit. Games are fun, and a perfect excuse for wagering favors (i.e. if I win you cook me dinner; if you win, I’ll go to that movie you want to see that I think looks stupid).

4. Stop thinking you have nothing to talk about. That shit confuses the hell out of me. Maybe you’ve told each other all of your stories and secrets, but you live in the age of information. Talk about current events, read the paper together, discuss advancements in technology. Each of you could pick a subject you’d like to learn more about, learn about it, and then share your knowledge with your partner. “We ran out of things to talk about” is just code for “We are both boring people and didn’t feel like putting in the effort.”

5. Eat together. There is no reason you can’t sit down and share a meal with each other other than when you’re at a restaurant. This is particularly important if you both work all day and are only able to have dinner with each other. Turn the fucking TV off, put down your goddamn iPhone, look each other in the eyes, and talk.

6. Pick your battles. Show me a couple that says they never argue and I’ll show you a couple that needs to work on their communication; show me a couple that says they argue all the time, and I’ll show you a couple that wastes too much time bickering about inconsequential things. There’s no need for the question, “What do you want to do for dinner?” to develop in to a three hour bitch fest that ends with the two of you bringing up shit that happened three years ago. Let’s say you want Chinese. Your partner wants Mexican. Do you hate Mexican food? Do they hate Chinese? No? Then flip a fucking coin and let fate make the decision for you. All that should matter is that you’re spending time with the person you love – and chances are, you’re going to remember the conversation you had and the laughs you shared, not the food you ate.

7. Mix it up. Kyle and I got stuck in a bit of a rut as far as our kid-free time was concerned, and it was much too early in our relationship to find ourselves going through the motions. Dinner at the same restaurant, followed by a movie, then home. Now, we still go to movies and out to dinner, but that’s become our fallback date. Try going to a museum, the theater, a comedy club. Pack a picnic lunch and take a scenic drive in the country or hold hands and enjoy a stroll through an older neighborhood with big, beautiful Victorian houses. Babysitter cancelled, or you can’t find one? So what? Put the kids to bed and play their board games – Candyland, Sorry, Battleship. Pop open a bottle of wine, put on a cheesy Chuck Norris movie, and have your own version of Mystery Science Theater. Ask him to show you how to play one of his favorite video games; offer to show him the best way to cook a steak. And if you do find yourselves doing the old standby of dinner and a movie, don’t sit where a TV is visible, put your phones in the middle of the table, and make out like horny teenagers during the movie’s boring parts or opening credits.

8. Coupon books – the cheapest way to say I love you. Remember making these things for your mom? Hell, maybe you even made or received one in the early days of your relationship. Well…BRING IT BACK! And when you make one, try to pinpoint the things that you know they’ll appreciate the most. Personally, I loathe touching dirty dishes; it doesn’t matter if they’ve been in the sink a minute or an hour, I am seriously repulsed by food that is wet and partially eaten. As a writer, I require silence and no interruptions to remain in my “zone”, and with 4-year-0ld twins, such things are rare in my life. I love when my car is spotless and tidy inside and out and getting to spend one-on-one quality time with my mom. Kyle knows all of these things about me, and thus would present me with a coupon book that would include vouchers for not having to do dishes, two hours at a coffee shop alone to write, a free car cleaning, and an afternoon with my mom. His would mostly include blow jobs and back massages. Boys are so easy.

9. Cuddle. I sleep on my stomach, facing to the right. Kyle sleeps in whatever position he happens to land in. Nonetheless, when we go to bed at the same time we spend a few minutes in each others’ arms before rolling in to our respective positions and going to sleep. Okay, well, actually, due to the fact that he works 8-12 hours a day moving furniture, he conks out pretty quickly. And since he wraps one arm and one leg around me, I typically must wriggle out from under him – no easy feat, given his abundance of height and muscle and my utter lack of both. Anyway, the point is – cuddle! Snuggle! Ladies, when you’re watching TV together, lay your head on his lap. Gentlemen, stroke her hair. Put your arm around her shoulders, hold his hand in public. You’re together. Be together.

10. Write each other notes. No one’s saying you need to write a sonnet or a five page love letter. A simple Post-It on the bathroom mirror with those three little words, a text that says you’ll miss them while they’re at work, or a folded up piece of paper tucked away in their work pants detailing the naughty things you want to do to them when they get home. Kyle is a fan of opening up Notepad, writing a paragraph full of sweetness, and leaving it up on the desktop for me to find when I hop on the laptop. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’ll make them smile – what’s stopping you?

11. Keep the memories. Kyle and I met online almost six years ago. We exchanged several emails before meeting…and Kyle has saved every one of them. Until I lost the wallet it was kept in, I held on to the ticket stub from the first movie we saw together. He is reluctant to throw away anything I’ve ever given him, regardless of whether or not it’s broken. A few months ago, during a stressful time in our relationship, I went up to grab an order of Chinese food that we were going to split. Two people. One order. One fortune cookie. The fortune inside read, “Stop searching. Happiness is sitting right beside you.” That little slip of paper is still tucked away in my jewelry box. Save the little mementos, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Take tons of pictures and don’t just store them online or on your phone – keep hard copies too. Put all those things in a box, tuck it in the closet, and when times get tough, take it out and go through it together. Take it out and remember.

12. Be silly. If you can’t be yourself with someone, then you shouldn’t be with them at all. And sometimes, it’s hard to resist the urge to make fart noises or weird faces, to dance in the car to your favorite song, or to start a tickle fight. Kyle and I are constantly playing pranks on each other and have several ongoing wars: we’ll throw glasses of water on each other unexpectedly or shout, “NINJA KICK!” before kicking open the bathroom door while the other is in there. I’ll flush the toilet while he’s in the shower, he’ll hold my keys above his head and make me jump up to grab them. Have fun! Kid around! Act goofy! For Chrissakes…BE FRIENDS. It makes being lovers so much easier.

13. Remember that you’re in love. Kyle’s parents have been married for 36 years. The two of them are truly the strongest, happiest couple I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and after four kids, financial struggles, family issues, and all the other standard problems a married couple will face, they are still madly, deeply in love. It was Kyle’s father who gave me the best relationship advice I’ve ever received, and if you have kids with your significant other I suggest you pay close attention: while you’re busy being mommy and daddy, it’s important not to forget that you’re also husband and wife.