There are a lot of things I did really fast in my relationship.
For example, I popped the big L word after the first month. We slept together the first... night? And we moved in together after dating just six months.
In general, you'll find I'm a big proponent of being open, honest and loud about your feelings right out of the gate. This ensures no one is left in the dark, and you can get to the good stuff more quickly (if the good stuff is even coming).
That being said, in my three-year relationship, there have definitely been a few... um... surprises.
Living with someone changes EVERYTHING, and skeletons YOU didn't even know you had in your closet will start coming out.
Every now and then, my boyfriend will make a declarative statement about me that I never realized about myself. It's usually something like "you're so weird about X..." or "who knew you'd like Y..." and I'm always like, "Oh, oops."
Here are a few things I suppose I could have revealed to my boyfriend a little bit sooner:
I'm a crier.
Like, big time. If I feel any other emotion besides neutral, I'll probably cry.
Happy, sad, angry, tired or hungry — all result in big, sloppy, loud tears.
I get that this makes it hard to take my water works seriously sometimes, especially considering my tears could be caused by any number of things at any given time, but damn, did my boo-bear not see that one coming.
In the beginning, every time I welled up, the whole world would stop with my boyfriend and me. We'd have this HUGE TALK, and I'd have trouble explaining how I really felt, which was, for the most part, a six on a one to 10 scale of hysterical.
He'd contort his face into this half-horrified, half-concerned look and talk to me the way I talk to my dog: "SPEAK TO ME, GIRL. WHAT IS IT?! USE YOUR WORDS!"
Now, when I cry, he barely looks up, which I'm sure we'll all regret one day.
But anyway, SPEAKING OF DOGS...
A dog is a requirement for me.
I know this sounds stupid, but the bigger idea here is that there was something I always knew would be in my life, and I never let him in on that.
I just assumed I would get a dog when I wanted a dog, and I didn't take into consideration what a commitment like this would mean for him.
When I started bringing it up, I could tell he didn't take me too seriously.
This would then result in these weird, passive-aggressive arguments about expectations, selfishness and ultimatums that always spiraled out of control. And I guess that could have been avoided had I mentioned this non-negotiable for me sooner.
Other big things I recommend everyone talks about BEFORE you move in together are marriage, kids, where you want to live one day and finances.
I'm a shit sleeper.
Not only am I shit sleeper, but that I'm totally WORTHLESS when I don't get enough sleep... and when I'm sick... and when I'm hungry.
BUT BESIDES THAT, I'M PRETTY GREAT.
After faking bliss and snuggling in bed for the first month or two, I finally broke down and told my boyfriend how resentful I was of his perfect sleep, how miserable I was at night and how grumpy it's making me during the day.
I started walking around the house putting clothing over any electronic lights that would cast a glow in the dark. If a window blind was out of place, I'd have to go fix it. If a watch was ticking too loudly in another other room, I'd have to go shove it under a pillow.
Needless to say, it was a pretty big surprise to my boyfriend that he was sleeping next to a sleep psychopath for a whole month and had no idea.
Now, we have a whole evening routine designed for "getting me ready for bed." I wouldn't say it's bae's FAVORITE thing about me, but at least we have a system now.
It actually DOES matter how much he helps around the apartment.
It is NOT helpful to play domestic housekeeper if you a) hate being a housekeeper b) you're not domestic at all or c) you really just want everyone else in your life to do the hard work for you.
Here's the difference: I love nesting — things like hanging up photos, buying throw pillows and installing decorative lighting. But I hate cleaning, cooking, taking out the trash, doing laundry or generally just maintaining a comfortable, safe space for adults to live in.
After going out of my way to make our home as comfy and clean as possible for a few months, one day, I snapped and unleashed a wrath of resentment and anger over how the housekeeping seemed to fall on my shoulders.
My boyfriend was blindsided, and to be fair, he came back with this argument: "I'm sorry! You never asked for my help, and you do such a good job of keeping things clean. It never looked dirty enough to me to clean it."
If the solution was as simple as bringing my concerns to his attention, I wish we had established this dialogue when we first moved in. It would have saved us a fight and saved me a ton of vacuuming hours.
I tend to splurge on my hair.
Ah, yes. Money. I can't stress this enough: Talk about money BEFORE you commit to someone. That shit matters.
If you are splitting expenses, it is important everyone is honest about their financial stability.
For me, my big splurge (at the time) was my platinum blonde hair. I loved it. I felt ALIVE.
But I try to be conservative in other areas. I pinch in places my boyfriend wouldn't. You can imagine his surprise when I came home with new $200 hair after we had been surviving off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for two weeks because I "couldn't afford to split groceries."
After that, we got prettyyyy honest about what our financial priorities were. (And to be fair, he has his own guilty pleasures.)
Now, we have an understanding of where we are financially as a couple and as individuals, and where and when we will spend our money.
What I was like when I was a single girl in the big, big city.
Here's where giving your partner a heads up on your past matters: if you are still friends with an ex, if you're going to run into an ex or if you regularly hang out at places you used to go on dates with other people.
This way, no one is caught off guard when someone recognizes you from, well, you know, that one night with the tequila shots at that Mexican restaurant and the mechanical bull...
Trust me, I learned that one the hard way. (Ah sweet, sweet Jorge. Bless him.)
Sure, I couldn't have predicted that most of these things were going to be catalysts for "bigger relationship conversations."
But then again, I have your attention for a mere moment on the internet and if I can help just one person keeping secrets from their boo-bear unintentionally, then I'm going to do it.
If you feel yourself sailing into serious relationship territory, take a hard look at yourself and your relationship.
Is there anything you're hiding, feigning, minimizing or maximizing? If so, don't. You'll learn much quicker if this is the relationship for you, and be closer to your partner in the end.