We're just not going to the bathroom together. Ever.
August 2, 2010 4:20 PM   Subscribe

What can I look forward to as my relationship continues?

I've been with my partner for a year and a half now and we moved in together "properly" a couple of months ago. I've never been in a relationship this length before and it' been so awesome getting to know another person so intimately. I had no idea it was possible for two people to be so close.

So what does it get like 5, 10, 20 years down the line? I realise some things will be unique to the people involved (the time we shared our root passwords, for example, will not resonate with everyone). What intimacy milestones might this relationship (or a different one *) pass? Along the lines of "it's great when you get so comfortable together that you x"

* Stephen Fry may become available and not gay

I hope I've explained this coherently. I think this counts as a way creepy question for one's girlfriend to ask. IT'S OKAY HONEY, I AM NOT LOCKING YOU IN TO AN INEVITABLE FUTURE. Also, how did you get internet in the cellar?
posted by teraspawn to Human Relations (48 answers total) 114 users marked this as a favorite
I realized I had something truly special with my guy the day he walked into the bathroom to grab my butt while I was tweezing my unibrow.
posted by phunniemee at 4:24 PM on August 2, 2010 [15 favorites]

Learning to pee in front of each other has been one of the great adventures I thought I'd never have.
posted by fatbird at 4:26 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Traveling together.

moving together.

having a kid takes you to a whole new level.
posted by k8t at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2010

Best answer: When you know automatically when your partner needs saving from a situation, eg, stuck in a boring conversation from hell with that person they dislike, and you can help them without them having to ask. (Or you have that secret couple signal that you both use.)
posted by Jubey at 4:34 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]

Like spending time with each other more than being on your own.

Can sit in silence together watching the scenery or listening to music and feel connected and happy.

Hold hands and feel plugged into a happiness electrical circuit.

Still feel surprised and laugh out loud amused at the observations your beloved makes.

Save the best of the best of the best of the internet, just for your sweetie.
posted by bearwife at 4:42 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: When your partner is sobbing, covered in their own vomit and diarrhea, and you don't even flinch about cleaning them up because they are upset and afraid and all you care about is making them feel safe and comfortable and loved.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:42 PM on August 2, 2010 [33 favorites]

Best answer: When something really bad happens, and know your partner is there for you 100%. I was with my bf through the illnesses and death of both of his parents. He was there for me when unexpected complications landed me in the hospital for three weeks, and out of work for two months. He was my caretaker, advocate, counselor, and nurse for the duration (even though my family continually offered to come help). True love is your partner changing your nephrostomy bandages. And even though I would do the exact same thing for him, I was totally humbled by the tenderness and care he showed to me. We celebrated our six year anniversary yesterday!
posted by kimdog at 4:44 PM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]

When you start to say the exact same jokes at the same time. Or when you can call up an inside joke that hasn't been mentioned for years and still get the other person to laugh hysterically.

When your fights begin to look like "this is a problem I have." "I'm sorry. Let's fix it." and 20 minutes later you've hashed it out and you're good to go, rather than yelling and/or passive aggressive dramatics that can go on for days.

When you know more about their life than they do about their own (though perhaps that's just because my boyfriend has a terrible memory, but at times I have a better sense of his pre-me life than he does). Likewise, when you can predict with great accuracy how the other person will respond to a new food/movie/music/book.

When you have someone to nurse you though sickness and take you to the emergency room if you need it.
posted by lilac girl at 4:45 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm with Jubey on this one. When you get to the point of being practically psychic...and can crush any other pair of people at Taboo (using shared experiences and your newfound psychic powers) it is awesome.
posted by eralclare at 4:45 PM on August 2, 2010

Best answer: We got a cat together. It is awesome. (I'm sure it's not the same magnitude as having kids)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 4:48 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

when you know your wsignificant other is sick before they do.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:56 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

You'll find your conversational skills will rapidly devolve unless you have a job where you are constantly conversing with other people. What happens is your brains will start to meld and you'll be able to finish each other's thoughts without having to actually finish sentences. So you'll… you know… and your SO will be nodding in agreement while others people will be all, like, "Huh?"

This is both comforting and irritating when you realize that everyone else do needs to hear the rest of the sentence, so you can't just…
you know…
trail off.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:01 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

We got a cat together. It is awesome. (I'm sure it's not the same magnitude as having kids)

We got two dogs together. It was awesome. We assumed it was not unlike having kids. Then we had two kids. It's a whole 'nother level.
posted by davejay at 5:01 PM on August 2, 2010

My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 years, living together for 1. It's been great! Here are mine:

When you can love her so much for pissing you off.

When you realize that when she makes you do things you don't want to do, it's usually truly for your own good.

The surprises seem to come less and less, which makes them so much better.
posted by leeconger at 5:01 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Major Injury, subcategory The Scream You'll Never Unhear.

Have fun!
posted by kidelo at 5:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

A decent chance of divorce\splitting up.
posted by sanko at 5:07 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: When you've had the same fight enough times, you can start to debug it. Given enough time and patience, you learn how to see it coming, how to avoid it, how to turn it into some sort of productive conversation. It's never exactly fun, but there's something awesome and exciting and, yeah, intimate about the ability to do that — the feeling that fights and misunderstandings aren't just disasters that happen to you, but intelligible and meaningful things you can work with.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:17 PM on August 2, 2010 [12 favorites]

One of my favorite things (my husband and I have known each other for 8 years) is laying in bed at night and telling "the story of Us" to each other.

I'll say, "Remember the first time you introduced me to your friends?"
and he'll say, "Yes, and you were wearing a yellow dress." And I didn't even know he remembered that. It's nice when you start to have a story and a shared history.

I also liked, when we got married, that I got to start calling Ryan my family and that now my parents are "our family" instead of "my family".
posted by Saminal at 5:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]

Eventually you'll realize when to back off before they need to use the safe word.
posted by nomadicink at 5:35 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I love your title because you don't ever have to share the bathroom! Ever! Some people like to, some don't.

For me, it's so great when you get comfortable enough with each other to give each other the privacy and space they need.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:02 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

It is true that most long term relationships develop their own patois. I don't think we realized how much we had until we spent a week with two other couples on vacation, and our after work routine and some of our private lexicon came to light.

When you realize that you've been together longer than you've been apart, you'll realize that there's a comfort in having a shared history. (That lends to the private lexicon as well, your personal shorthand.)

Being able to say something with your eyes across the room. From "My god look at her dress" to "get me the hell out of this situation" you'll read each others' body language as well as words.

One of our phrases is "it doesn't matter where we are as long as we're together." In-law visits, driving on a scenic route, fearing death through horrible turbulence, hiking through the woods, in the emergency room - better or worse I really don't fear much in the world with him by my side.
posted by librarianamy at 6:12 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This might not be the fuzzyhappy you're looking for, but I think it's an important intimacy milestone: sometime between now and, say, three years, you guys will go through a rough patch. The frantic happy brain chemicals will start to die down a bit and you'll be left with this . . . this person! who has a lot of annoying traits you didn't notice at first, and things will be hard for a bit--a few weeks, a few months--as you guys learn to cope with one another, the reality of one another, in all your thorny glory.

Some couples survive through this; many don't. If you do, your relationship will be that much more precious and complicated and multifaceted to you.

Also, hating the same people. Is that terrible? If we're at a party, and someone unbearable is talking me up, I know that after, when we talk about our nights, his perceptions of the person, of the party will be the same. It's a really awesome feeling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:44 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Keep on keepin' on with the bathroom privacy. I have known my husband for 20 1/2 years and have been married to him for almost 16 of those years and we have never, and will never, pee (forget about the other thing) in front of each other. Not going to happen.

So, back to your question!

It's great when you get so comfortable together that you:
-practically read his mind.
-are still surprised by some things he said, regardless of the above.
-can be totally and completely you, the good, the bad, the whatever.
-like doing familiar, comfortable things, but feel so safe that you can take risks together.

Seeing the person you love most in the world hold your child for the first time breaks your heart into a million pieces and puts it all back together, almost simultaneously. Watching him rock your little girl to sleep brings tears to your eyes. Seeing him want to rip someone apart (but not doing it, of course) for hurting your son makes you love him even more than you thought you could.

Everything is just better the longer you're together. You learn how to surprise each other, even though you thought you could never surprise him because he knows you too well. The best part is that you go from crazy in love to comfortable to crazy in love again, and you keep doing that, over and over.
posted by cooker girl at 7:19 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

* Getting to tell off (or at least be a huge bitch) to people who've done him wrong, when he can't do so.

* Learning how to be helped in hard times.

* Two words: hospital bed. You'll never be the same when you've seen him in a surgical gown.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 7:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

When you get to the point that you can dominate any sort of guessing game (eralclare mentioned Taboo, and I'll add Catch Phrase and Pictionary), regardless of topic.

Conversely, that means your SO also knows you well enough to give you the exactly wrong clues to confuse you so you lose the game every single time you play. For years. And you still want to play with him.
posted by lilac girl at 7:34 PM on August 2, 2010

Best answer: --You'll know each others' most hated foods/ingredients and comfort foods

--If you're my husband you'll know how to identify when I am being a baby raptor and/or penguin (to generalize, you'll have jokey shorthands that will be bizarre in the extreme)

--You'll both probably get fatter

--The cute habits, not so cute! Sorry.

--You'll be your own little shared fandom of two. We're obsessed with The Shield and talk about it a lot to each other. That's kinda the only thing we have in common, but...

--You'll have dumb arguments that you have over and over. Hopefully you find these funny even if they're exasperating in the moment (i.e. my husband constantly moving my stuff to random places like a cat)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:40 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Traveling together and when things don't go according to plan in a place you're both unfamiliar with, tackling that together as a team. Really any team problem-solving like that...if you can make it through without fighting it really seals the bond.

Domestic rituals that somehow manage to be both mundane and special, the highlight of your day, that you both look forward to. Examples: my guy coming home from work and studying in the breakfast nook while I make dinner and chat with him about each other's days, hunkering down after supper to watch some TV show we're both into, walking around the neighborhood at dusk before supper, making up stupid narratives about our cats pretty much every single damn day when we first get up and they greet us in bed (the same old joke but it never gets old), taking turns bringing home a surprise treat from grocery runs, playing head-to-head DS games or "would you rather/either-or" in bed before sleep, board game night, lazy brunch once a week or so, driving out to see his folks on weekends...just the regularity of it is comforting.

I'm not as into the "humble explicit intimate body-sharing" thing as lots of folks--the thought of grooming and zit-popping and watching each other tweeze or pee or any of that tends to make me shudder, not go "aw", I'm admitting my random prudishness here--but I will admit when one of you is in physical peril and you need to help each other it's also a bonding moment (the hosp. thing above is the same deal). When my husband didn't think twice before carting me to the ER at 2 a.m. and waiting patiently and holding my hand and reassuring me due to abrupt scary but mysterious abdominal pain despite him needing to get up that morning at 7, or when he cut his foot up and I needed to clean him up and bandage him properly, and bringing each other tea and oranges and soup when we get sick, just that stuff. Once when we were out jogging I hurt my foot and he offered to carry me home (we were a few blocks away). Just things like that.

One of my favorite things too is, couples tend to spend a lot of time talking to each other early on in dating about tastes, impressions, preferences for things like food, art, movies, books, sports, politics, whatever. But as you spend more time with each other you will start to organically, subtly grasp why this person feels the way they do, and see how their feelings manifest in every day life. And you'll get to a point where you know before they tell you how they're going to feel about something, whether it's a movie you see together or a person you meet. Follow-up conversations together in private after something like going to a party or a museum exhibit become fun in a different way--you can not only talk about your impressions, you can talk about your guess of what the other person's impression is and compare and talk about how or why you might have not quite gotten it down precisely. Hard to explain this slightly more nuanced way of comparing notes on things, but it reminds me how super close we are.

This one is kind of TMI but even if you had the awesome new-lusty vibe when you first got together, you CAN have even better chemistry as you bond despite the old saw about getting complacent and whatever as comfort moves in when excitement over the new leaves. You can become so trusting and so close sexually it opens new worlds, and that's pretty rockin' in its own right.
posted by ifjuly at 7:48 PM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]

Best answer: My husband and I recently spent an entire evening laughing our asses off over, and having a spirited discussion about, our local county voter's guide. (My state has a low barrier to entry for running for elected office. This is apparent when you look at some of the candidates for our Senate race.) It was such a joy to realize that of all the billions of people on earth, I had found the one other person in existence who would find this as awesome as I did.
posted by KathrynT at 7:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Being able to say something with your eyes across the room. From "My god look at her dress" to "get me the hell out of this situation" you'll read each others' body language as well as words.

This is so much damn fun. Not even a look, but the slightest muscle twitch in the slightest way can communicate so much. It is so much fun to have that kind of expressive, non-vocal communication, that sometimes it makes me crack up laughing when my wife and I are doing it, which kind of ruins the secrecy of it, frankly.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:13 PM on August 2, 2010

Best answer: Is it weird to say I really like having assimilated? The sense of being a single unit, a We instead of a You and Me? It's like you always get to be as comfortable as you are by yourself, but each half of you keeps cracking the other half up.

It is hilarious to be married. We are so funny and fun.
posted by mckenney at 8:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]

Farting, and enjoying it, with your SO in the room (or the bed).

You should be just about a that stage already.
posted by klanawa at 8:41 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh man I missed some stuff.

You will see your partner walk across the room like they have a million times before and it will hit you: No one walks like they walk. No one smiles like they smile. And it will feel like the most wonderful ache in your chest and like you are the luckiest person in the world.

You will say "I love you" at different times, and after the newness of the relationship fades it doesn't have the same impact. That can be a bit scary. But know that sometimes, you will mean it more than you've ever meant anything in your life. It will be the most important thing to you in that moment, that this person knows that you love them.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [14 favorites]

Seeing how your lifelong personal issues are intimately related and accepting this as an opportunity for continued growth.
posted by Mertonian at 11:53 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

We've been together 7 years, married for the last 2. We met on our first day at a new job together and just clicked.

He makes me laugh when I don't even want to. Sometimes, he also aggravates the ever living crap out of me because "why doesn't he know better?" And then, he makes me laugh again, and I realize it wasn't really him I was aggravated about. He pushes my buttons on purpose, but in a kind and good way, because sometimes I just need to vent and/or cry, and then helps me laugh it off. This is part of why he is so good for me.

The only time either one of us used the toilet in the same room as the other has been in a context of one person in the shower and the other saying "no peeking!" If one or the other of us were dramatically sick, it would be a different story. We also don't share passwords. We still work at the same university but in different departments and both of us are in IT, so this is important. We don't share personal passwords, either, but they are in envelopes in the fire safe, in case of something terrible. We both tend to stay logged in to various sites on our respective machines, but respect the boundaries. I love being able to trust.

I once removed some stitches from biopsies of a couple moles on his back (doctor approved me taking out the stitches at the time, "just remember to grab the knot and pull that"), told him I thought it needed a butterfly bandage or two, and he said no because it had itched so much. The next morning, I was awakened by him apologizing after his shower and telling me I was right. The incisions had popped open. I had some coffee and a cigarette (and a shot of something to steady my hands, as I recall), and got to look into the gaping wounds (thankfully not bleeding) that had split wide open while I butterflied them right up. I am NOT a morning person on the best of days. We now joke about this.

This guy is MY guy. He's not the father of my children, but he is one great step-dad and my children love him. I love him, and I know from my scalp to my soles that he loves me.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:37 AM on August 3, 2010

It's like having a new car. Fun,fun fun! and it smells good for a year or so.

Eventually, it will be comfortable, stained, and showing wear, but still an integral part of your world. With care, it might look good for quite a while, but the new car smell will imperceptibly fade. You can travel together with it and it's good for kids, as well.

In time, you will covet more features and perhaps a different color. You may keep this one at home and test drive some others, and perhaps he will, too?

Sometimes, you'll want to go different places at the same time.

Eventually, it will need to be rebuilt or replaced. They don't last forever.
posted by FauxScot at 4:27 AM on August 3, 2010

Best answer: It's like having a new car...Eventually, it will need to be rebuilt or replaced. They don't last forever.

But if you devote yourself to the proper maintenance, it will become an old classic; the envy of all your friends and neighbors who realize you have the hottest little thing on the block.

My parents have been married for 34 years, and aren't looking to upgrade anytime soon.
posted by phunniemee at 6:43 AM on August 3, 2010 [18 favorites]

Right after we got married, my husband and I were walking on a beach on our honeymoon, talking about how we felt different. He said: "It's like we're a real team now—they've given us jerseys and everything. Before, it was like we were just playing pick-up games in the street."

There's an amazing sense of strength and comfort from knowing that you're on a team.
posted by blazingunicorn at 12:24 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Been together 10 years - LDR for a year or so, and shacked up for the past couple of years.

Being able to have eloquent communication involving random noises and handwaving. Having your partner hold you and suddenly everything gets better, even if things still suck. Thinking Knowing you have the most awesome sweetie in the room, wherever you are.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:05 PM on August 3, 2010

Best answer: Together about 10 years, married for 6.
Once, I had a big painful pimple in my ear. She was happy to pop it.

But we have never, never, shared root passwords.
posted by secretseasons at 5:28 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Five years, engaged for four days. I'll say it: SEX GETS AWESOME.
posted by McBearclaw at 9:07 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

You get to drive each other crazy but keep going because you love them so much.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:35 AM on August 4, 2010

Best answer: My parents were married for 35 years, divorced last year, unhappy for a long time. If you are as lucky as me with the wonderful man I have found to share my life with, you will get the wonderful realization that you are not your parents and your relationship has managed to avoid the pitfalls of theirs, and your worst fears about the fleeting quality of love and the impossibility of sustained intimacy will turn out not to be true.
posted by mai at 10:49 PM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

(Or you have that secret couple signal that you both use.)

Ooooh, we need a thread just on secret couple signals.
posted by mecran01 at 3:23 PM on August 8, 2010

You get really good at giving each other back rubs. Like, really good. Because sure, she's not a professional, but she knows exactly what my back needs.

I spot a spider, scream, and she immediately comes running with a shoe because that was apparently the spider-scream. I also apparently have a please-do-the-dishes sulk.

Fighting each other's battles is neat, too. I get so worked up when people are lousy to her at work, because don't they realize she's their most competent, intelligent, hard-working, and stunningly attractive employee? She does it, too, and it really, really helps. No one likes fighting anything alone.

I can send her to the bar to order, and when I get there, I'll say, "What? That's not whiskey!" And she'll reply, "You've been outside all day in the heat. You want a gin and tonic." And sure enough, I want a gin and tonic, and she knew it before I did. (And on the rare moments that she's wrong, she'll get me the whiskey anyway.)

Couples that game together get a special dynamic that weirds other people out: that particular game is just for the two of you, and it's weird to hear other people talk about it. You can talk about the stupid game mechanics or your character or how much better it would have been if... And seriously, you make THE BEST team. You kill the hell out of everyone, because you know exactly what the other is thinking, and how they're going to go about it.

This is awesome, btw.
posted by honeydew at 1:01 PM on August 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I know this thread is moribund but I still have to add. Arriving home from work and seeing a beautiful woman walking down the street and as she gets closer realizing it's my Honey!
N'thing "The Look" (tm) at a party, time to go!
Or the coded whistle at the market when we're trying to find each other.
We've been together 23 years and the bathroom is no big deal!
posted by Pecantree at 11:23 AM on August 29, 2010

this: >the coded whistle at the market when we're trying to find each other.
this: >When you get to the point that you can dominate any sort of guessing game (mind reading in general)

* We try to take care of each other and do chores & other household things without being asked. Dividing up chores & responsibilities makes sense if you're sharing them with someone responsible. Nobody likes getting nagged, but asking/reminding is not nagging if you can do with with respect.
* We do the 60/40 thing where you give 60%, trying to out-do the other person.
* When we think the other person needs something, we ask & offer instead of assuming. (assuming causes the most conflict. We haven't had a "real" fight in years.)

we've been married 16 yrs ...as of Saturday :-D
posted by ChefJoAnna at 6:14 PM on October 4, 2010

When you know automatically when your partner needs saving from a situation, eg, stuck in a boring conversation from hell with that person they dislike, and you can help them without them having to ask. (Or you have that secret couple signal that you both use.)

HOLY SHIT, I just had my adult moment reading this. I can confirm that my gf and I have developed that secret couple signal without consciously thinking about it, just as all them adult couples do! The gf did exactly this, rescue me from a boring conversation in a social engagement over the weekend, when I was hoping for an exit somehow. And I was all winking and smiling with her, sharing our little secret, quite happy to play tag-team with her.

But you're so right; this is a long-term couples thing. My dad and mom do this all the time.

One moment we were two shy singles-about town, trying out "moves", now we're doing secret couple signals. LIKE ACTUAL ADULTS. I can't believe it. Wow.

I mean none of this sarcastically. All of this 100% genuine and all that. But holy, did I just have a kensho moment.
posted by the cydonian at 7:08 AM on December 6, 2010

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