How Do Couples Figure Out When Their Anniversary Is?

How Do Couples Figure Out When Their Anniversaries Are?

Modern relationships are confusing. Gone are the days of our parents where you told a girl you were going to marry her, went on five dates, and within a year had three kids and a house in the ‘burbs. Nowadays, things are a little more fluid and there are a lot more relationship options.

You could just be fuck buddies and solely rely on each other for sex. You could be friends with benefits, and have a relationship based on sex, but also enjoy each other’s company. You could be exclusive, which means you’re dating but you don’t want to admit you’re dating. You could have a roster, you could have exes you’re still banging, and you could actually be in a real relationship (one that’s on Facebook and everything!) You could also be “talking,” which is a bullshit phrase that encompasses anything from “we’ve been messaging on Bumble for three days” to “we’re celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary next month.”

Basically, it’s a clusterfuck. And to add to all that confusion, any one of these relationship stages could lead to a different stage, making it very complicated to figure out how the relationship actually started. Were you fuck buddies that travelled through all stages until you were official? Did you jump right into exclusivity? Did you start as fuck buddies in college, try and date, realize you’re not right for each other, remain friends with benefits, become exclusive-but-still-refer-to-each-other-as-“my ex,” before finally growing up and becoming boyfriend and girlfriend? All of these are plausible and all of these happen constantly because of all these unconventional routes to a serious relationship, it’s more difficult now than ever for a couple to figure out exactly when their anniversary is.

This is an issue I’m going through right now. My girlfriend and I are approaching a year together, but I’m not sure which exact day we’re going with as our anniversary. We met on a dating app, went on several dates and quickly progressed through the “talking” stages until we were official. But which date do we pick as our relationship starting? Is it the first date? We hit it off immediately, but it’s not like we knew exactly where this was going. Is it when we decided to be exclusive, a topic I foolishly brought up literal days before I was going on a trip to Vegas? There’s also the day I officially asked her to be my girlfriend, although I doubt she finds the memory of me saying “so I’m too drunk to figure out how to introduce you to my friends, wanna be my girlfriend and shit?” as super romantic.

I’ve spoken with other couples and gotten a variety of answers. One of my best friends and his girlfriend just picked the day of their first date as their anniversary because it was the easiest date to remember. Another friend told me he picked the date they first said, “I love you,” because up until then he was still hooking up with another girl. The fluid nature of modern dating makes it so that there is no consistent time for knowing that a serious relationship has started, and therefore everyone has to decide based on how their own timeline progressed. As for me, I’m leaning toward our first date, for several reasons.

One, it’s a date I can actually figure out. I remember it was a Wednesday because my now-girlfriend was late due to her tutoring a refugee family on Wednesdays, and I know it was the week leading up to my friend’s wedding, so I’ve managed to nail down a specific date. Secondly, we were both pretty committed to each other from the get-go, so there were no other hookups or relationships mixing things up before we officially became exclusive. I could tell there was something special going on between us, and in very uncharacteristic move, I decided not to fuck it up for once in my life. Thirdly, our first date was actually the most romantic out of my relationship step options. We discussed exclusivity while lying naked in bed and eating pizza (awesome, but not romantic). I asked her to be my girlfriend while drunkenly stumbling from bar to bar at 4 p.m. on a Saturday. Our first date is the only story that’s fit to share with people, so just in case people ask, we won’t have to lie.

I think I made the right choice, but I’m not 100% sure. What do you guys think? How did you pick your date? Let me know.

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Nick Arcadia

The opposite of a life coach. Email or DM me if you want some bad advice:

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