Lukas Korynta

You Don't Know Your SO Until You Spend 4 Seasons Together

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People say you don't truly know your significant other until you've lived with them.

While that's not necessarily false, I think I've come across a quicker — and more all-encompassing — method to help you fully understand your boyfriend or girlfriend: Date them for a full year and experience all four seasons with them.

Why, you ask?

Well, it's recently dawned on me that I've never dated a girl for longer than eight or nine months. We never crossed the year mark. Not once did we ever repeat the same day.

I'd ran through the snow with some and gone to the beach with others, shared Christmas with one while barbecuing on the Fourth of July with another.

While thinking about that (somewhat pathetic) piece of knowledge about my dating life, it occurred to me that I truly didn't know any of those girls. Nine months is nothing to sneeze at, but the quantity of time isn't as important as the quality time you experience with an SO.

The quantity of time isn't as important as the quality time you experience with an SO.

While it is slightly problematic that we're potentially teetering into a two-season time period, and it's not uncommon for it to be 70 degrees in December and snowing 20 inches in March, for now (climate change deniers be damned), there are four seasons, so we're gonna go with that.

So before you move in with someone, let's take a look at each of them.

Spring

Spring is key for a number of reasons (even if you live in New York area and only get it for about 75 minutes a year).

During winter, everyone wears their basic, baggy sweaters and jeans so they can get from point to point without freezing, while limiting the amount of snow, salt and slush that can ruin good clothing.

Spring is the first time you see your SO in more put-together outfits — something other than the types of clothes they don't care about looking shitty in.

During winter, everyone wears their basic, baggy sweaters and jeans so they can get from point to point without freezing, while limiting the amount of snow, salt and slush that can ruin good clothing.Spring is the first time you see your SO in more put-together outfits — something other than the types of clothes they don't care about looking shitty in.

Then, there's the always tedious and ever-looming spring cleaning. Yup, even my description sums up how I feel about it.

For whatever reason, the change between winter to spring brings about the biggest cleaning project you'll embark upon in a given year.

It's one thing to clean with a SO after a party or to simply tidy up a home when guests are coming over, but spring cleaning is a completely different animal. It's an altogether a full-scale, wash-the-floors, change-the-sheets type clean.

Right off the bat, you may learn your SO is the type to say, “The hell with this, I'm paying for a cleaning service!” If they do that, are you totally on board or hate the idea of that either due to cheapness or otherwise?

Personally, there's something I enjoy about cleaning my own stuff, even though I don't do it often. The idea of strangers rifling through my personal space is odd. I like to turn on the music, open the windows and get the cleaning going.

Also, you learn what sort of a cleaner is your significant other. Are they going to rush the hell out of you? Maybe they're like a drill sergeant, barking orders and demanding every square inch is eat-off-the-floor clean.

Or maybe, that type of person is you.

I liken it to cooking with someone new. You both may be great in the kitchen, but watching her slice carrots in that slow, uneven motion drives you crazy, to the point where it's honestly better if they just sit down and let you finish.

Not that that's ever happened to me.

Summer

During this season, it's all about how you two handle the heat.

You get to know the answer to that (almost literally) burning question: How much does this person sweat, and is it going to be a stinky situation? You know, like body odor.

Up until this point, you've likely never even seen this person perspire much at all, unless you've worked out together. Normally, it's not a bad thing, but it's how the person deals with their sweat that gives you the answer.

Are you dealing with a multiple-shirt person? How about the armpit-stain folks? Do they sweat a lot when having sex? Does their apartment have air conditioning, and if not, are they the type who's either too cool or too cheap to get it for you?

Can you handle cuddling with this person when it's 85 degrees with humidity, and he still hasn't changed his sheets from those winter thermals?

Of course, this isn't to say you should avoid sweaty or AC-less people altogether. It's merely a warning to see how you handle it. Some people love the heat, love the summer and can't get enough of their SO's musk — sweaty or otherwise.

I'm just not one of those people.

Also, let's not forget about how this person looks in a bathing suit because — let's be honest — it's a fun thing to be able to brag to your friends about.

Then, there are vacations. This is a very important step in your relationship because you find out how this person handles money, what they like to do for fun and, most obviously, what it's like to be with this person for an extended period of time.

For me, vacations are only about having fun, and I don't go on them unless I can afford them. That's not to say I'm living life like a Bond villain, eating at only Michelin-starred restaurants and gambling away my life savings, but, if I'm on a vacation and it's a question of “spend the money and enjoy yourself” or “save and see what else catches your eye," I'm going the former all the time.

To be clear, there's no “wrong” type of vacationer, just different kinds. Going on one with your significant other will clear a lot of that up for you.

Hell, even planning one will. Do you get the all-inclusive? Decide to save on the direct flight but pony up for the better room? Trust me, what's actually important to each side come out.

Fall

This season honestly and fully answers the question, “Just how basic is this person I've now spent two seasons with?”

Do they jump through the roof at the first opportunity to go apple picking? How about doing anything that involves the word “hayride?" On a scale of one to snob, how important is it to them to try the pumpkin-flavored beers of the season?

Are Sundays even an option to spend time with them, or is there simply no getting around being blackout drunk by the time the 4 pm NFL games roll around?

To be clear: Being basic isn't a bad thing. In fact, in some cases, it's a good thing. Much like pop music, we all know about those activities because they're popular. People do them. They're fun.

So, if you're one for hayrides and apple picking, do you really want to be with someone who's too cool to do shit like that when it comes time?

Additionally, fall is the beginning of the holiday season. You may be getting your first taste of this person's family — and literally, if you're actually eating at their home.

But, more pressing than the actual holidays (which we'll explore in a moment), is the drama that may ensue when deciding where to spend them. Or, if you'll even be spending them together at all.

Personally, I don't love the idea of not being with my own family and, naturally, that's caused some beef with women I've dated.

I'll admit that I'm a tad stubborn when it comes to this issue. (Full disclosure: Women who have dated me during the holidays have discovered this.) You may learn that your significant other feels the same as I do, or the exact opposite and can't wait to do anything other than be with their own. If you're a family-oriented person, this sort of thing could cause some serious strife.

Winter

During the final season of the year, you get a great sense of this person's family life. Sure, there's holidays all year round, but the rock stars come calling in the winter months.

Anyone can stomach family over a few cold beers and grilled hot dogs in the summer, but it you want a real family person? Try 20 degrees and a six-hour, three-course meal. 

You'll see how much your boyfriend or girlfriend actually enjoys his brothers, sisters, uncles or cousins. In the confined, indoor space of a home, you have very little choice but to interact with your family. Is it all laughs and storytelling? Or is there an undertone of biting sarcasm, layered and nuanced over years of distrust and disappointment?

On the other end, how does your SO interact with these people? Are quiet throughout dinner, barely saying a word or staring at their phones the whole night?

Personally, I'd think that's better than the opposite — never shutting the hell up, butting into family business and generally assuming a level a familiarly not quite earned.

You know what's a good sign that your SO is getting along with your family? When they offer to clean up. Even if they're just trying to show off, it's shows they're is looking to help out.

Every time I've been invited to a girlfriend's home for a holiday, I always make a concerted effort to help clean up. Maybe clean some dishes, take out the trash, run to the store to grab extra ice, soda or beer — whatever it is, if there's effort, it's generally positive.

Second, this season lets you get a taste of what kind of a winter cook or eater you're dealing with. Can they make (or at least, do they enjoy) the staples, like a nice, warm and hearty soup or chili or a big pot of Sunday sauce?

Lastly, you get to find out what kind of person you're dealing with in their downtime. Winter is nothing but an endless excuse to stay in and catch up on TV. Does this person watch television you can't stand? Only sports? Trashy reality TV? Complicated serial dramas?

This all may seem petty, but it's more than the simple answer to “Does my boyfriend or girlfriend enjoy watching a Shark Tank marathon, a show I cannot understand for the life of me?”

It's a piece-by-piece, slowly-forming-but-fully-gathered look at exactly what kind of person you're dealing with.

When you rush into a relationship, you miss out on the important things that make your boyfriend or girlfriend who they are. You learn the stuff that doesn't ever make it on to a Tinder profile, that's a bit more complex than [insert three emojis that describe your mood here].

When you rush into a relationship, you miss out on the important things that make your boyfriend or girlfriend who they are. You learn the stuff that doesn't ever make it on to a Tinder profile, that's a bit more complex than [insert three emojis that describe your mood here].

But let it be known that none of these singular elements should define the person you're with. In fact, even the things that annoy you may make you fall more deeply in love with the person. But, like any long-term commitment, don't you want to know as much as you can about someone before settling down?

Consider how much of this person's life you've actually seen or been a part of. When you realize how little it's actually been, you'll understand why you need to experience every season with them.