Relationships and dating can really whisk you away from reality sometimes. So much so that people can tend to lose themselves a little bit and do things that might be out of character, compromise their integrity, or just wind up being a really terrible mistake.
Here are some situations you might find yourself in where it might be a good idea to take a step back and think a little about what you’re about to do instead of adhering to the proverbial, well-meaning yet sometimes detrimental advice of “just following your heart”. Sometimes you just have to ask Kenneth what the frequency is– for real this time. Thinking critically about these things could even save you money!
1) Meeting their parents or introducing your parents
Maybe you have a good relationship with your parents, and you might not think it would be a “big deal” to introduce the person you’re dating to them. After all, they’re a part of your life, and if you’re the type who actually likes to share that kind of stuff with your parents, it might make sense to some degree. However, if you’re not sure if you’ll actually be serious or not and you break up, be prepared to face questioning for the next 500 years or so about that person. And for the love of god, do not let your parents or family friend them on facebook.
If you’re the one meeting the parents, perhaps you should try to talk your significant other out of introducing you. Even if you feel like you’ll date them for at least a year, it might accelerate the relationship prematurely and really fuck shit up for you. Especially if you’re really nervous about it. Opting out of meeting them altogether is always better than making a potentially bad impression caused by nerves.
2) Taking an expensive trip
Whether you’re visiting them while they’re studying or working abroad for a long time, or you’re planning on taking an expensive vacation, you’d really better evaluate whether or not it will be worth it. There’s nothing more gross and awkward than having to cancel a vacation or a trip due to an unexpected breakup and any potential squabbling about money afterward. Not only will you have to deal with the pain of the actual breakup, but you might end up being shorted a few hundred or thousand dollars. Even if you don’t break up, there’s always the potential that you could break up on the trip itself, which will sort of also be like wasting or losing money.
3) Buying or accepting an incredibly expensive gift
As the last essay in Sloane Crosley’s new book expands upon, it’s never a good idea to buy something you can’t afford to lose. If you buy an expensive necklace, say, for your girlfriend, and can’t quite afford it, think of how bitter you’ll be about it when you break up. On the other side of it too, accepting an expensive gift might make you feel indebted and guilty, especially if you might not share the same feelings behind the idea of such an expensive gift. It has been my experience that sometimes, expensive gifts can be sort of a purposeful manipulation. So, if you set boundaries, you won’t be as easily manipulated. The more crazy expensive or extravagant the gift is, probably the crazier the person anyway.
4) Getting engaged– for real or for a GreenCard
If your girlfriend needs a Green Card, but it doesn’t make too much sense to marry her at the time, you should probably not do it. If she gets mad at that, she’s fucking crazy, and you should break up with her. If you feel pressured either to propose or to accept a proposal, chances are, you’re not ready to take that sort of plunge. Getting engaged should be a personal decision that shouldn’t be taken as a given, or feel forced– whether you’re the one doing the pressuring, or you’re the one reluctantly proposing.
5) Impulse marriage
This is THE WORST. Even worse than getting impulse engaged. The chances of this ever working out are slim to none. I feel like people almost do it as an adrenaline rush or something. Marriage isn’t a kamikaze shot, it’s a $500 mistake. Because yes, you WILL get divorced, and you WILL feel like an unbelievable moron.