A lot can happen in a year. Think about all of the cups of coffee, take-out pizzas, movie nights, girls nights, and busy work days. We’ll experience ups and downs, highs and lows, and many different emotions… sometimes even in the same afternoon.
A lot can happen in the first year of a relationship as well. For many of us, the one-year mark is when we feel like we’ve really figured this whole “being in love” thing out. Everything just falls into place.
When we go on a date night, we no longer feel that there is any awkwardness, and we can be totally ourselves with our boyfriend. He knows our family and friends and we’ve gotten to know his important people, too.
Just like there are many things that should happen within those 12 months, there are also situations that shouldn’t happen at all. The emotions, conversations, and moments that take place during this time will tell us whether we’re meant to be together… or whether we should call it quits before year two rolls around.
Here is everything that we need to know about the first year of the relationship: 10 things that should happen and 10 things that shouldn’t.
20Should Happen: You Talk Over Breakfast And Dinner And Feel So Close It’s Like You’ve Always Been Together
In the first year of the relationship, you want to feel like this guy has always been your boyfriend. It should feel like you’ve been a couple for much longer than you actually have.
Since you two are living together now, you get the chance to talk over breakfast and dinner every day, and that makes a big difference in how close you feel to each other.
You want to look at your boyfriend on a Monday evening when you’re eating pasta and think, “How has it only been a year? It feels like five.” This is when you can be sure that you’ve found your guy.
19Shouldn’t Happen: You Miss Girls’ Nights On Fridays And Feel Your Old Single Life Was More Fun
It’s been a year and yet… you actually miss the single girl that you were before you entered this relationship. Most of all, you miss the girls’ nights that you and your best friends had every Friday, and you feel like that period of your life was a lot more fun.
Maybe you’ve tried your best to make the relationship work but you don’t feel like you and your boyfriend get along as well as you should. The truth is that this shouldn’t happen. You want to feel like your life is happier and better now that you’re in this relationship and that you would never go back to the way that it was before.
18Should Happen: You Move In Together And Split Chores And Household Tasks With Minimal Fighting
Bacon and pancakes on Sunday morning, doing the dishes while he does laundry and takes the garbage out, and smiling at each other because you’re finally living together. These are all things that should happen within the first year of your relationship.
You want to glance over at your boyfriend and know that this whole cohabiting thing is going really well.
While there are going to be small disagreements over silly things every once in a while, you want the fighting to be kept to a minimum. Living together feels peaceful and full of harmony, and you’re both beyond excited to be sharing an apartment or house.
17Shouldn’t Happen: Sharing A Space Means You’re Fighting 24/7
On the other hand, if moving in with your boyfriend means that you two are fighting all the time, that’s not something that should happen.
You have most likely thought that sharing a space was a big mistake, and if you can’t get along, then it seems like it was. The first year of a relationship is crucial and will tell you what your future holds. Maybe you think that he doesn’t help out around the house or he sees his friends too much, or he doesn’t think that you two are on the same page about commitment. If you can’t stop fighting with each other, what’s the second year of your relationship going to look like? Can you really sustain a happy relationship?
16Should Happen: Your Weekends Are Full Of Neighborhood Walks, Brunches, And Quality Couple Time
Everyone has routines when they get used to living in a certain neighborhood. There’s that amazing brunch place that’s a ten-minute walk away. There’s a coffee shop on the corner. And Saturday mornings are for yoga, grocery shopping, and treating yourself to some chocolate donuts from the amazing, cute little bakery nearby.
And once you and your boyfriend celebrate one year, you want to feel like you’re spending quality time together on the weekends.
Brunches and walks around the area are common, and you two always make time for the other person. You’re exactly on track and this is exactly what should be happening.
15Shouldn’t Happen: You Don’t Have Any “Me Time” Or Go To The Movies, To The Gym, Or Even Grocery Shopping By Yourself
For many people, it can be tough to balance being in a serious, loving relationship and having “me time.” If this is you, then you might realize that after a year of being with your boyfriend, you don’t spend much time alone.
Gone are the days when you would grocery shop alone, or head to the gym or a group workout class, or even go see that new romantic comedy alone because no one else wants to see it and it can be liberating to do that. When you and your boyfriend are basically attached at the hip, it’s not the best thing. No one likes a stage-five clinger, and it’s good to establish your own life.
14Should Happen: You Tell People He’s The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You (And You Mean It)
When couples get married and write their own vows, they often say something along the lines of, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”
You want to be able to say this about your boyfriend after the first year of the relationship.
Of course, you don’t want to simply pay lip service and say this without meaning it because you think it’s what your friends and family want to hear. You want to say this and mean it 100 percent. You can’t imagine waking up in the morning without seeing your boyfriend’s sweet, cute face or coming home to tell him about your amazing day at work. Life with him is just so much better.
13Shouldn’t Happen: He’s Still Flirting With Girls At Parties Or Mentioning An Ex From Time To Time
Sometimes when a couple breaks up, it’s because one of them is still hung up on their ex. This is an unfortunate reality for sure.
After a year, you don’t want your boyfriend to still be flirting with girls at parties. It’s awkward and embarrassing and feels pretty bad. You also don’t want him to be talking to his ex-girlfriend or mentioning her from time to time.
This tells you that he’s not committed to you and that he might want to be single. It’s frustrating to realize this, but it’s much more frustrating to stay in the relationship, right?
12Should Happen: You Adopt A Pet If You Both Agree That It Sounds Fun
These days, a lot of couples are getting married later but still proving their commitment to one another. Many couples are deciding to get a pet, whether a cute fluffy dog or a sweet cat. Sometimes couples break up and “share custody” of the pet.
If you and your boyfriend have passed the one-year mark and have adopted a pet together, that’s a great sign that you two are really committed to each other.
It’s great that you made this joint decision and that you’re taking care of a dog or cat as a couple. And just imagine all the adorable photos that you can share on social media!
11Shouldn’t Happen: You Don’t Feel Like You Know Him Better Than You Know Yourself
When you go on a first date that is really fun, you really enjoy talking to the guy sitting across from you. You want to learn everything that you can about him. Sure, you care about his favorite movies and food, but you also want to know how he feels about important issues.
Once you two have been a couple for 12 months, you want to be able to say, “I know him better than I even know myself.” It’s almost like if someone quizzed you about his life, background, and personality, you could totally ace it. Of course, he knows just as many things about you, too.
10Should Happen: You Trust Him Completely (And Don’t Feel The Need To Check His Texts Or Get His Phone Password)
If your best friend told you that she found out her boyfriend’s phone password and was reading his text messages every day, would you say that she needs to trust him more? Of course you would, right?
After you and your BF have been a couple for a year, you definitely want to be able to say that you trust him.
You don’t care about getting his cell phone password, and you’re not even a little bit curious about who he’s texting. You know that you two are solid and that there’s nothing to worry about. And you know that he feels the same way about you.
9Shouldn’t Happen: You Two Aren’t Progressing And You’re Still Nervous And On Your Best Behavior Around Each Other
Think about how you act on a first date. You’re a bit nervous, you keep bumping your elbows on the table, and you’re on your best behavior because you don’t know this guy very well yet.
Think about how you act after a year together. Things are totally different, right? You two get along so well that you are totally yourself and when something awkward happens, you can both laugh it off.
After the first year, you don’t want to feel like you two aren’t progressing and are still tip-toeing around each other. That proves that you don’t get along as well as you should and that it’s just not a great match.
8Should Happen: 24 Hour-Days Are Actually Properly Divided (+ We’re Making Time For Our Besties)
The start of a relationship is a fun and tiring time. You have never had such a full life, right? You’re juggling your new boyfriend, your job, your friends, your family, and still finding time to take care of yourself, work out, and watch The Real Housewives. You’re not complaining, of course, because you’re so happy. But it’s definitely a lot to deal with.
You want each 24-hour day to be properly divided between all of the things and people that you love.
You don’t want to feel like all you do is see your boyfriend. It’s really crucial that you still have your own life. You also want to make sure that you still spend time with your besties. You don’t want to ditch them for a guy, ever.
7Shouldn’t Happen: You Never, Ever See Your Friends Anymore
Many people have fallen in love with someone and it’s like they forget that they have other people in their lives. They stop calling their mom, they stop going out with their girlfriends, and it’s like they have zero social life.
You don’t want this to happen, and you don’t want to reach a point where you never see your best friends anymore. These are the girls who have supported your dreams and heard about all of your dating problems, and you don’t want to turn your back on them just because you’re in a relationship. If you reach the one-year mark of your relationship and realize that you never see your friends, you want to ask yourself why. Do you just need to make more time for them, or is your relationship unhealthy?
6Should Happen: He’s The First Person You Want To Tell About Your New Job (Or The Worst News Ever)
When you get amazing news (you landed your dream job, yay) or you get bad news (the owner of the house you’re renting is moving back in so you have to leave), who do you want to tell first? If you always turn to your best friend or mom before your boyfriend, that could tell you that you’re not that invested in him.
If you always tell him first, that’s amazing, and that’s exactly what you want to experience after a year of being together.
He’s your best friend and the person that you trust so much. He always knows the perfect thing to say and he can cheer you up when you’re down. And if you’re celebrating good news, you always want to celebrate with him over anyone else.
5Shouldn’t Happen: Like Chandler And Joey, He’s Still Super Close To His Best Pal, But He Doesn’t Make Us A Priority
What’s not to love about Friends… and Chandler and Joey in particular? These two are the best pals ever and they have so much fun goofing around together. But when Chandler gets into a relationship with Monica, he definitely starts to make her a priority. He makes sure that she knows how important she is to him.
What do you do when, after the first year of a relationship, your boyfriend is a lot closer to his best friend than he is to you? He has his own real-life Chandler, and you’re just not his priority. You really don’t want this to happen, and it’s a sign that you’re not meant to be.
4Should Happen: You Get Emotional With Each Other And Can Have The Deep Conversations You’ve Always Wanted To Have
In romantic comedies, the main character will start a new relationship and walk around in the best mood like she’s lighter than air. You know that things are going well because she and her new guy will stay up all night talking and sharing hidden truths and emotions.
It’s super romantic and it’s probably something that you wished that you could experience, too.
After the first year of dating someone, you want to be able to say that this happens pretty frequently. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to stay up all night and miss out on your beauty sleep, but you do want to stay up until at least midnight sometimes because you’re having such a great conversation.
3Shouldn’t Happen: You’re Insecure Because He Never Says He Loves You Or Talks About His Feelings
Your BFF just met a new guy and she’s so excited… but after a month, things fizzle out. Why? Because even though she has told him that she really likes him, he won’t talk about his feelings or say the same thing right back.
You can’t sustain a relationship when one person is invested and all in and the other person would rather talk about anything except their feelings. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in a year-long relationship with a guy who won’t say that he loves you, it’s probably time to break up. You start feeling insecure because you’re not sure how he really feels about you, and you should never have to wonder about that.
2Should Happen: You Get Engaged (Or At Least Agree Marriage Is In Your Future)
A dream scenario: you date a guy for a year and things are going so beautifully that the two of you get engaged. Maybe it happens on your anniversary (and it’s a really romantic moment) or maybe it happens a little bit later, but it happens, and you two are so excited.
Of course, not everyone wants to get married, but if you do, you don’t want to date someone for years and then have them tell you that they don’t think that things will get to that level.
That would definitely be tough. After a year, you want to know how your boyfriend feels about marriage. Even if you’re not ready to get engaged just yet, you two talk about it and agree that it’ll happen soon.
1Shouldn’t Happen: You Give Him An Ultimatum About Moving In Together Or Marriage (And He Says No)
Is there anything more dramatic than an ultimatum? If you date your boyfriend for a year and feel that you have to give him an ultimatum about commitment, you might know deep down that things aren’t going to work out.
Maybe you want to move in together or getting married seems like the next step. But giving your boyfriend the choice of getting married or breaking up isn’t the best idea. If he says no, it’s going to be even more upsetting. But the truth is, if you reach this point, you already know that he’s not the right guy for you. It’ll be tough, but you’re going to find someone else, and after you date them for a year, things will be much better.