Ask MR: I Think I Found Someone I Want to Be in a Relationship With, Now What?
11.30.16
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Hello and welcome to our advice column, aptly named “Ask MR,” where we answer your burning questions in the hopes of being the ointment to your life rash. Ask us questions by emailing write@manrepeller.com with the subject line “ASK MR A QUESTION,” or leave yours in the comments.

Dear Man Repeller,

I think I found someone I want to be in a relationship with. Now what?

Your question is complicated. (Isn’t it always?) But in that same line of annoying relationship logic, it’s also really not. Let’s break up your sentence in order to break down the answers.

I think I found someone I want to be in a relationship with. Now what?”

Step one is to know that you want to be in a relationship with this person. New relationships are like puppies: sweet, fun, comforting, the best distraction in the world. There’s a lot of slobbering. But they are also a lot of work. You have to nourish them, work on them, smell another mouth’s morning breath, be willing to find a solution when something crashes down, learn how to keep your cool, steady your voice even when you want to scream. You have to be willing to see points of views that make no sense to you, hear out sides of arguments that you believe you’ve already won and eventually spend a lot of time with his or her family. The family thing doesn’t quite work with the dog metaphor but here’s one more truth that does: among an infinite amount of kisses, there is a lot of shit.

Entering a new relationship doesn’t mean you seal yourself into some contract you can’t get out of, but you want to go in with clarity, intention and eagerness. You want to know.

(And believe me: I have entered relationships without much intention, where I didn’t exactly know. I was just like, “This seems fun for right now!” And it was fun. They were fun. So either don’t listen to me, or know that I’m answering as though you asked about a potentially serious relationship. One that you’d like to last, whatever that means for you.)

“I think I found someone I want to be in a relationship with. Now what?”

Step two: The person you found has to want to be in a relationship with you, too. At the same time. While he/she is not monogamously committed to someone else. I cannot tell you how to make this happen. Humans have been trying to invent love potions and spells ever since the first case of unrequited love. Brush your teeth and be yourself.

“I think I found someone I want to be in a relationship with. Now what?”

Step three: You both have to agree on what “in a relationship means.” I’m all for ironing this out early. Be clear about your expectations to avoid hurtful confusion down the lines. Are we monogamous? (Again, in this scenario I’m assuming that this is a potentially serious relationship. In my own relationships, I don’t like to assume anything. I like to know.)

“I think I found someone I want to be in a relationship with. Now what?

Let’s say you’re past steps one through three. You’re sure you want to be in a relationship with Someone, and Someone is sure he or she wants to be in a relationship with you. You two either had a talk or slid into the togetherness unexpectedly. You’re on the same page of what “in a relationship means.”

Now what? It’s the last part of your question.

Now you enjoy the partnership. Enjoy the intimacy and comfort of this other body and brain. You’ll probably ask yourself things like, “Statistically, how did I find this person who also found me?” and “How did I get so lucky?” Take a lot of joy in knowing he or she is probably wondering the same. Take even more joy in knowing that now you don’t have to worry about a wedding date. I feel like my favorite thing about being in a relationship is being really annoying on purpose (“Hi. Hey. What should I eat for lunch? Look at this GIF. Hi again. You have a booger. Do I?”) without worrying about looking “clingy.” Actually, my favorite thing about being in a good relationship is just…not worrying. But still caring.

Remember when I said new relationships are puppies? They are, so you have to do your chores. You have to be prepared to clean up messes, be annoyed, be okay when the I’mobsessedwithyoulet’sneverleavethisbed-pleasekeepyourfacesmashedintomineatalltimes phase is over, and adjust as the puppy/relationship grows.

Once you’re in it, don’t stop doing the things you love to do. Don’t stop being you. Continue being an active participant in your already-existing (platonic) relationships. Make and keep plans with your best friends. As you and Someone blend worlds, keep holding on to yours.

And have fun.

Do you think Boyfriend of the Year Prince Harry thinks about these things, yes or no? Read about how these two designers met — it’s kind of a funny story. Also, here’s a cute video of Leandra and her husband Abie about love.

Illustration by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; follow her on Instagram @heysuperstar.

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