Actually, Love Is The Worst by Kathryn Hollis

I don’t understand why people consciously go out and about, looking for love.

Falling in love with someone is the worst thing that could happen to you.

Think about it. You meet someone, some random person, and all of a sudden they are your whole life. You don’t really get a say in who you fall for. It could be anyone: your boss, a coworker, or the barista at Starbucks. You don’t even have to mutually compatible. You might be wildly different; horrible for each other, star crossed and crossed again and yet, you love them, so you’re essentially stuck with them, forever. Even if you end things, or even never start dating in the first place, when you love someone, I mean really, really love them, they’re in your (idiotic) heart forever.

When you fall in love, all your emotions are instantly cranked up to eleven. Who has time for that? I cry over Youtube videos of kittens on my best days, I’m essentially already an emotional train wreck. Adding love to the mix doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Do you ever meet someone and realize that no matter what, this person is going to have a huge, amazing, life changing impact on you? I hate that. That feeling is the worst. When someone walks into the room and you see them for the first time and your heart leaps into your throat, you should just walk away. Pull a Nancy Reagan and Just Say No. Love is worse than drugs, because at least AA exists and there’s the possibility of rehab. There’s no real therapy for the kind of crazy love bring out in people.

I recently had the horrible experience of falling in love when I was abroad in Australia. It was f*cking magical.

The first time I saw him, I was sitting at my friends kitchen table, stuffing my face with falafel, my hair dripping wet from the rain storm I had just trudged through. He walked in the room, and I almost choked on my lettuce and died right there. When he walked in that room, it was game over for me. As we talked that night, and realized how much we had in common, and how much we didn’t, I knew, I just knew, that this boy was going to change my life. And I absolutely hated it. How unfair that I should find him in a place so far from home, where I only had five short months. How unfair that of all the seven billion people in the world, that this one, this untouchable distant boy should be the one that I needed so badly?

But love is like that. It will take all your crazy and multiply it by a thousand. It will make you better, stronger, more capable of handling things you didn’t know you could. And all the pain, all the suffering and loss and tears and time that will be wasted, well, love tricks you into thinking it was all worth it, in the end, for those shirt brilliant shining moments.

So when you wake up alone, after dreaming of them yet again, remember how you chose not to walk away. You succumbed to love, you let it win. And you would do it again. You would.

How You Know: Talia Ralph

You want to travel with them. You want to see what they’re like going through airport security, on planes, in strange countries. You want to meet their families and charm them to pieces. You want to nestle into their childhood beds and look around in the dark at all their old posters. You want to see all the embarrassing photos of them with braces and socks pulled up mid-calf. You want to hear all the stories about their drunken nights under the bleachers and their best friend’s jokes. You want to read all their journals, see how they took notes in high school. Did they use pen or pencil? What color highlighter? You want to work with them, just to see them work. You want to go out with them. You want to make out with them in the bathroom. You always want to touch them; you want them to always want to touch you.

You find reasons to disentangle yourself from them; it’s only going to hurt later, you can tell already. You stay up way past your bedtime for them. You look at the clock and know their schedule. You neglect other people and other things, and beat yourself up about it. But it’s like they have a hold of your hands and your voice, and you don’t mind. It’s like you’re trapped in an hourglass; you know your lungs might fill with sand, but there’s something sensual and comforting about the grains sliding down glass walls and pooling around your ankles, your knees, your waist.

You like things about their appearance that the rest of the world may cringe at and call strange, less than perfect. Their broken, reshaped noses; their little teeth or the gaps in between them; the way they pull their hair; their narrow hips; their wide shoulders; the depth of their pores. You can laugh when funny things happen in bed. You usually want to be in bed with them.

You think they’re smarter, better, friendlier, fitter, happier, more productive than you are. You strive to be as much as they are, as good as they are. You try to cheat and figure out what it is they’re going to teach you, if they’re going to fall from grace, if you’re going to play a part for them that you never thought you’d play before. You try and pull patterns and threads of meaning from the conversation or the way they looked at you the first time you met; what they did, what they offered. An apple stolen from the bar. Notes from a guitar. Pitchers of free beer. Pieces of bark with writing on them.

You cherish snippets of them; paste them up in your memories like old faded scrapbooks clutched to chests for generations. Their skin glows black and white in your head. They star in the little short films of your life that sneak up on you when you’re not looking. Like the walk to the South End for dinner on a quiet corner. The feel of the sun beating down on you both at an outdoor concert. The way they ordered wine on your first date. The slow swing of a hammock near a lake. The back seat of their car.

You can see yourself with them in the future you can’t quite see. You build apartments outfitted with all the right kitchen supplies and the perfect bed with two nightstands, each piled with books and magazines. You wait for them patiently while they chase their dreams; they wait for you patiently as you chase yours. You sit in bed eating dinner late at night, drinking tea and wine and whiskey as you tell each other all about the chasing. You create adopted dogs and cats; you have awkward conversations about money; you put up with each other’s crap. You see what they look like standing at the end of a candle-lit aisle in your grassy front yard and wonder if you’ll make it to the other end to meet them or if they’ll just end up in the scrapbook clutched to your chest or flickering on the screen in your brain. TC mark

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How Do You Handle A Long Distance Relationship?


Long distance relationships are hard as fuck. I’m sorry, but they are. Yeah, there are some pretty great things about them – unlimited alone time, not having to fight for space, being able to go out with your friends all the time without anyone getting upset — but on the whole, being thousands of miles apart kind of blows. And whether you feel like acknowledging it or not, distance has a definite impact on the dynamics of a relationship.

A serious long distance relationship, I’m pretty sure, is not the same as having a long distance crush. When you have a long distance crush, everything’s new. It’s exciting. You’re getting to know someone over the only modes of communication you have and it’s the biggest emotional tease, really, because the possibility of anything is wide open. Maybe you’ll meet them, maybe you won’t. Maybe it will be idyllic like it is in the movies or maybe it’ll be a horrendous disaster. Maybe you’ll end up getting that brownstone in Greenwich Village and live out your bohemian fantasy together or maybe you’ll realize upon meeting that you actually hate each other. You never know.

But when you’re trying to make something that already exists, something with arms and legs, legitimately work long distance, it’s difficult. It’s difficult because you have the best and worst of both worlds – all the freedom of being single and none of the fun, all the comfort of being in a relationship and none of the contact. It’s like you already have a large part of your life figured out but it’s mysteriously nowhere to be found, and when you think about it, that’s probably one of the weirdest feelings you’ll ever get.

I’m pretty new at this long distance thing so I’m not certain I know what I’m talking about, but I think a large part of making it work is actually two things I’m embarrassingly bad at: hope and optimism. Hope as in, you put your everything into it and hope it doesn’t spontaneously combust (or worse, slowly fizzle out), and optimism as in, you don’t allow yourself to succumb to occasional pervasive feelings of loneliness and pointlessness. But when those feelings crop up, they’re unavoidable. How do you handle them? How do you know it’s worth it? What do you have to tell yourself to feel okay?

My girlfriend and I weren’t always long distance — we actually used to live together – but when we broke up she moved to Texas and I bounced around for awhile before settling in New York. But now that we’re finally back together, it’s like… what now? She has a big girl job in Texas, and New York — at least until I finish my degree — is my home in all its glittery piss-soaked glory. And while we do try to maintain our daily doses of hope and optimism, sometimes it just feels completely impossible. The loneliness is tangible.

And it’s scary too because you realize just how fragile it is, how fragile what you’re trying to keep alive really is. You can visit each other, you can Skype, you can do small things that make you feel connected to each other’s lives, but even those can sometimes seem like paltry offerings thrown into the void when you consider the vastness. You also realize how frighteningly easy it is to disconnect. When you fight long distance, for example, it’s not immediate. It’s all radio waves. You can literally be done with each other in the click of a button and knowing that is equal parts crippling and fascinating and all too real.

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I Don’t Want To Complain About My Boyfriend. Am I Weird?

By Karen Noble

One time, a guy I was dating said, matter-of-factly, that though I was enamored of him now in the beginning stages of our courtship, I’d eventually grow to hate him “the way all girls hate their boyfriends.”

I was surprised. “You think ALL girls hate their boyfriends?” I said.

“Not hate, like real hate,” he replied. “But you know, when they go hang out with their girlfriends and complain about us or when we don’t do something basic in the right way, whatever. That way where you love us, but we’re idiots.”

And in a sort of vague rom-com Sex and the City way, I knew what he meant. I thought about my own friends and the way they talked about their dating lives. Usually when you ask a woman how her relationship is going, she’s inclined to dress it down. She’ll say things like, “It’s gooood.” Pause. “He’s really tough to get through to sometimes where I don’t know if he’s really present, you know? But we’re good, we’re like totally good.” Or “Ugh. I can’t even with him. He just like, leaves shit everywhere and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. Like, all he has to do is call that guy about that new job and he like, won’t even do it.”

So why if we love them, do we find it acceptable, nay necessary, to bitch about them to others? It’s required for any conversation between women about men. Maybe I’m missing some female chip in my brain, but why would you be with someone you don’t absolutely adore? Is that unrealistic? Because the idea that growing to resent and hate the person you’re choosing to be with is terribly depressing.

Is it because the opposite is annoying and we’re trying to make ourselves look sympathetic and human to others in an attempt to bond? Is it because it’s suspicious or Stepford-esque to say only nice things about them?

Would it be totally psycho to when a female friend asks, “How’s your boyfriend?” for me to say, “Really good. We’re like, super in love and I think he really gets me. We’re both flawed people but we’re making this relationship work because we’re both committed to each other. Also, he does this really adorable thing where he sort of hops into his pants in the morning when he’s getting dressed. You’d have to see it, but it’s like, the cutest thing. So yeah, things are good and he’s a good person doing his best.” Because it feels like that would come across as totally psycho.

Okay, I know PDA is annoying and maybe this is the verbal equivalent, where no one wants to hear about how great your relationship is. People want the juice, the guts, the gore. They want to feel better about their own lives by hearing yours isn’t so perfect. And if they’re single, they don’t want to hear me talk about my sweet boyfriend. They want to feel better knowing at least they don’t have my problems.

But look, my boyfriend is my partner. We’re a team. Why would you go run around talking smack about your teammate? Why would you be with someone who causes you to sigh with frustration when they’re brought up? Why do we gather together and talk about our adult male partners like they are children we’re forced to deal with? Even if your boyfriend was just a friend, it’d be incredibly rude to complain about them behind their back, right? Why is expected and as I said before, necessary, to b-tch about your boyfriend to your female friends?

I like my boyfriend. I have complaints, sure, but if someone asked me how our relationship was going or how he was, I’d want to say nice things. I’d want to be honest about how good things are without feeling guilty or like I’m bragging or I’m insensitive.

Am I weird? Am I weird because I don’t want to grow to “hate” my boyfriend? Am I weird for not wanting to complain about him to other women? Can we stop doing this?

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I love this.

41 Everyday Things That Are Incredibly Sexy, Nico Lang

1. When they text you back right away.

2. When they say, “No, it’s your turn.”

3. When you’re at home in your unsexiest clothes and it still gets them in the mood.

4. When your laundry — the one chore you truly hate — has mysteriously folded itself.

5. When they are wearing a button down shirt — and absolutely nothing else.

6. When they save you leftovers.

7. When you get flowers delivered to your work and don’t even have to ask where they came from.

8. When you are getting on a train together and they put their hand on the small of your back, just for a second.

9. When you can tell they are really listening.

10. When they know what size you wear.

11. When they tell you that they want to wait, too, and you know it’s not a line.

12. When they aren’t too ashamed or too bashful to carry your purse.

13. When they aren’t too macho or too proud to let you pick up the check.

14. When they don’t need you to be perfect, they just need you to be you.

15. When they remembered to put the toilet seat down.

16. When you’re flirting with someone and they notice you have a tattoo, then know what it means without you explaining it to them.

17. When they kiss you in the middle of a sentence.

18. When they aren’t afraid to show you affection or tell you they love you around other people.

19. When you walk in and they are on the phone with your mother and laughing.

20. When you wake up and you are still in their arms, even after a night of endless tossing and turning.

21. When you stub your toe or hurt yourself in a way that clearly isn’t life threatening, but they still ask if you are okay.

22. When you can tell they are about to say “I love you” but are too scared to say it — because they really want you to say it back.

23. When you go to the restroom and they order you another cup of coffee, because they know you well enough to know that more coffee is always the right answer.

24. When they become friends with your friends.

25. When they will go to a movie that you know they are going to hate, only because you wanted to see it.

26. When they don’t notice the incredibly hot person across from you because they’re too busy looking at you.

27. When they remind YOU of your anniversary.

28. When they tell you they were wrong.

29. When you leave your toothbrush in their apartment — on “accident” — and then find it in the holder, right next to theirs.

30. When they are willing to cry in front of you.

31. When they actually look into your eyes.

32. When you go to a restaurant and they pour your glass of water for you.

33. When they know what you are going to say, right before you say it.

34. When they’re wearing your sweatshirt or running shorts.

35. When they’re already gone by the time you wake up and leave a little note for you to remind you to have a great day.

36. When they introduce you as “my _____friend” for the first time.

37. When they actually read that book you recommended.

38. When they make a joke that they know only you will get.

39. When they remember a random fact about yourself you barely remembered yourself.

40. When they tell you that they understand how hard you work.

41. When they ask you how your day was, and they really want to know.

How you know you’re in love: Nico Lang

You can’t stop bringing them up in casual conversation, even to people who don’t know them or don’t know you, like random people on the train and the bus or the person at the stall next to you in the bathroom. They pop up in random conversations that didn’t even initially have anything to do with them, like a discussion on finally finding a two-diva solution to the Britney-Christina Crisis or exploring the existential gauntlet thrown in Dude, Where’s My Car?

You can picture this person’s face with your eyes closed and could draw it, sketch it or fingerpaint it without looking, and when you close your eyes and feel their face, you can tell that they look exactly how they feel. They ask you if you would still like them or date them if they murdered someone, started worshiping Satan, were incurably stricken with Bieber Fever or converted to Scientology, and you don’t hesitate to answer, although you mention you might initially have a hard time with that Bieber thing.


Thought Catalog: How You Know You’re in Love

by Nico Lang

You can’t stop bringing them up in casual conversation, even to people who don’t know them or don’t know you, like random people on the train and the bus or the person at the stall next to you in the bathroom. They pop up in random conversations that didn’t even initially have anything to do with them, like a discussion on finally finding a two-diva solution to the Britney-Christina Crisis or exploring the existential gauntlet thrown in Dude, Where’s My Car?

You can picture this person’s face with your eyes closed and could draw it, sketch it or fingerpaint it without looking, and when you close your eyes and feel their face, you can tell that they look exactly how they feel. They ask you if you would still like them or date them if they murdered someone, started worshiping Satan, were incurably stricken with Bieber Fever or converted to Scientology, and you don’t hesitate to answer, although you mention you might initially have a hard time with that Bieber thing.

You know what size dress, suit or gender-neutral dashiki they are without looking and know what their favorite movie, ice cream flavor and Beatle are without asking, although the latter is known to fluctuate depending on mood and menstrual cycle. They know that John is always a good default answer in any situation and are okay that you’re okay with Yoko and don’t blame her for everything. You can have different opinions and interests without arguing about them or feeling like the fact that you love football, Proust and underwater basket weaving and they love posting pictures of cats on Tumblr makes you mortal enemies. They do something seen as embarrassing to other people in public — like insist that Katy Perry is actually Rick Perry’s daughter — and you aren’t embarrassed, although you think secretly think that would make sense if it were true.

You just can’t wait to look it up on Wikipedia when you get home and prove them wrong, because you love those cute little moments where they are proven wrong and make “that face.” They say they’re mad at you for doing the “I told you so” dance, but you know they won’t stay mad. You trust them never to go to bed angry. They trust you to always turn out the light when you finally join them.

You know when they are happy or sad or lonely, even when they won’t own up to their feelings, because you somehow just sense it. They get you in all of those weird unspeakable ways and people tell the two of you all the time that you are just like an old, married couple, except that you’re both still wear slap bracelets and watch Spongebob. You’re fine with cleaning up after them, doing the dishes or making them that extra pot of coffee when they have a term paper due in the morning that they have barely started or are on deadline. They might not be able to have sex with you that night or the next night because they are really tired, but you are fine with cuddling or just being next to them. You watch them in their sleep and they say they aren’t even that creeped out by it. They might actually be a little creeped out by it and are totally lying, because they know you’re just being sweet and not being John Wayne Gacy.

You can go without have sex for a week or two weeks and not care all that much, because you know that you are doing other things that are sexy and affirming, like curling up close and listening to the new Jack White album. They suggest that you have a fun night in, where you play board games or theShowgirls drinking game, and you aren’t mad about not going out with your friends that night. You know you’ll catch them later. They talk to you and you actually listen, not because you know you’ll get some sex out of the deal but because you are genuinely interested in learning about this human being. You can’t remember having felt this way about anyone. They give you the “tingles” and you don’t know what that is because you haven’t had those in a long time and you think your stomach might be going to sleep.

You find yourself accidentally talking about the future, even when you don’t mean to, and it just happens to slide into conversation. They’ll be discussing their views on Obamacare or the War on Women’s Reproductive Health, and you’ll interject with, “Speaking of planned parenthood, how many children do you think you want?” You find yourself wondering if they’ll be a good parent and searching for clues as to how they would perform in such a role and have considered randomly babysitting your friends’ kids for the night and taking notes. They mention they aren’t that interested in marriage or children and you don’t get all judgmental and yell-y like one of those women in the He’s Just Not That Into You book and know that just being together is pretty awesome. You know that you don’t always have to put a ring on it or a stroller on it to like it. They know they like it and tell you they love you. You don’t hesitate.

Thought Catalog: Kiss Like You Mean It

When you kiss someone, kiss them with both hands, kiss them like you are holding on tight and won’t let go. Lean in for the kiss like you are both in a musical and the score is swirling around you — as if your dress or her dress or both of your dresses will be blown up by the wind at any moment. Pretend you are like people who are holding each other after a long war is over and peace has been declared and you are being photographed in black and white. Kiss them like it’s going to be hung on someone’s wall someday, as a reminder of what love can be like.

When you kiss someone, don’t church kiss them, unless it’s the kind of kissing you do when you sneak into the confessional booth after hours. Give every part of your mouth to the kiss, but try not to eat their face because you want to have some of their face left to kiss later. Do not swallow their tongue because you’ll need it to let them explore the parts of your mouth that most kisses miss. Put your hands on their neck or use your hands to caress their hair (without them feeling like they are being strangled), like their body is being pulled into the kiss, and they just might fall inside of your face. Kiss them like every neuron inside of you is firing at the same time, every cell inside of you has suddenly sprung to attention and every part of you is consenting to this moment… [continue]