April is here and love is in the air. What is it about the shining sun, the cherry blossom trees, the swapping out of heavy-knit ponchos and parkas in favor of striped bateau tops and trenchcoats that turns even the most stoic-eyed cynic into a softhearted, mushy romantic mess? In 2008, after a debilitating long, cold, and lonely winter, I reactivated my Facebook account and sent a “hey how are ya” message to a random lone dork who’d reached out with a “hello nice to meet you” missive out of the blue months earlier. Blame it on the sudden wave of warmth or the pollen wafting down Avenue B. Who knows what came over me, but thank God that something did—a date with the dork led to another and another, and before you knew it we were saying our “I do’s” in front of our nearest and dearest in an industrial loft in Long Island City.
Our courtship, however, wasn’t without its travails. Like all good affairs, it had its share of drama: missed calls, misunderstood texts, tears—one time, on the three-month anniversary of our first date, I recall storming down Driggs Avenue after a candlelit dinner because of something so insignificant I can’t even remember it now. Falling in love is a complicated journey that involves all sorts of compromises—add to that the mix of serotonin, hormones, and adrenaline that gets triggered when you meet your sweetheart and, needless to say, shenanigans ensue. If you’re not careful, you can totally lose sight of your own needs and goals in the process. Listen, I’m the first to condone any sort of careless, fall-down-the-wild-rabbit-hole, feverish spring fun and insanity, but falling too hard and fast can be dangerous and dizzying if you don’t constantly keep yourself in check. Here are six tips to staying good and grounded, even while losing your mind to true love.
Don’t Forget Your Friends
You know, your besties who’ve known you through and through since seventh grade; who’ve seen you through all your million boyfriends and breakups; who’ve supported you through many a dark night of the soul, always took your calls, and never once passed judgment. Your #squad might seem insignificant while you’re curled up naked with your newfound soul mate at sunrise sharing your deepest secrets, but once the dust of new love settles, they’re the ones who need to know they come first. Let them know they matter.
Don’t Blow Your Budget
It’s beyond tempting to start buying everything in sight—after all, nothing makes a sexy liaison feel more sexy than a brand-new wardrobe, custom-fit lingerie, laser hair removal, expensive hand-painted highlights, and more. Emptying your bank account seems to make perfect sense when you always have a passionate tryst to look your best for, but know what’s really baffling? Justifying massive credit card debt once the mania subsides. Don’t do it.
Don’t Ignore Your Day Job
Hangovers, sleepovers, walk of shames: They can all take a toll on your career, which, no doubt, you’ve worked so hard to put into place. In my 20s, I fell in love with a high-drama ruffian and used to stroll into work two hours late each day smelling of his BO, clad in an Old Navy sweat suit I picked up in Times Square on the way in. Not a good look. Eventually, my boss called me in and gave me a “this is your warning” talk while I stared down at my sneakers, mortified. I know that falling into the manic pixie dream dust girl fantasy of staying in bed all day with your lover listening to records can seem super satisfying, but being a worker among workers is truly the sexiest thing you can do. Bottom line: Suit up, shut up, and show up. The thrill of the chase will eventually dwindle, but paychecks will always be steady.
4. Don’t Have Unprotected Sex
Busting out a condom can, in the moment, feel totally inconvenient. But word to the wise? Do it. Don’t tempt STDs by not doing due diligence and protecting the skin you’re in. Have foresight: Load up on birth control and press pause before proceeding to the finish line. Your body really is your temple—worship it.
Don’t Make a Mess
Vacuuming, doing laundry, washing dishes, and scrubbing the toilet can feel totally antithetical to falling head over heels in lust, but maintaining order inside your own four walls first is the secret to not making a mess of things outside the home. Staying on top of your daily decluttering routine will make you feel like much less of a disordered wild mess while you’re being swept off your feet.
Don’t Social Media Obsess
Manically texting and obsessive Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat stalking to see what they’re up to when you’re not with them? Lame. Instead, why not tell the focus of your infatuation: “I’m really an old-fashioned kind of gal. If you want to get ahold of me, just give me a call.” Then vow to only reach out via text if you need to coordinate the logistics of your next meet-up. The amount of time you’ll save by doing this is directly proportionate to the amount of sanity you’ll lose by falling down the vortex of trying to get it all sorted by staying glued to your device. Thank me later.
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