Long before the complications of school dances, party make-outs, and schoolyard crushes (much less dormcest, friends with benefits, and long-distance romance) we were all taught the most basic rules of love—we just didn't know it at the time. So put down the latest Cosmo, stop psychoanalyzing your relationship, and revisit the love lessons you've known since you sucked your thumb.
Share your apple juice! And when time is a commodity hotter than a prime carpet square on the reading rug, make sure you're prepared to both give and take your partner's time. I get that you have three midterms and your friend’s birthday and the pile of laundry on your futon is starting to smell, but make time for a date with your partner… not just your activities and schoolwork. And remember to share him with his friends, family, school, clubs, gym, jobs, and pillow; don't throw a tantrum when he needs ten minutes to himself. Then enjoy the times you have him all to yourself! (Na na na boo boo.)
2. Play Nice
Coy. Hard to get. Playing the game. Call it what you will, just don't do it. Remember how your parents didn't care whether cutting off your sister's ponytail was an act of friendship or hostility (for the record, it was friendship)? Well I don't care if ignoring his texts is a strategic move in your game of love... it’s just not nice.
3. Use Indoor Voices
Although I hope your romantic quarrels are at least marginally more sophisticated than disputes over the nuanced rules of double-ditching (don't get me started...'doggy ditches' are not, and will never be, a thing), you're still going to get in fights. And that's ok. Don't avoid conflict just for the sake of playing it cool. But if the girl who lives down the hall asks you if everything is ok, you're probably doing something wrong. Keep your voice down and your temper under control. And please, please don’t double-doggy ditch.
4. Take a Time-Out
Before you embarrass yourself by crying in public (where you'll undoubtedly run into at least three people you know), take a time-out. In moments of extreme anger, stress, or even happiness, take a second to compose yourself and put things in perspective before deciding to act. Or cry.
5. Use Your Words
No punching, kicking, screaming, pushing, biting, or otherwise invading 'personal space.' That's all still true. But add some updates to the ground rules: no passive aggressive text messaging, no eye rolling, no ignoring, no expecting him to read your mind, and no bashing him behind his back. Have a problem? USE YOUR WORDS.
6. Kiss and Make Up
In kindergarten this rule was always a drag - “Ew I do NOT want to hug Joey because he obviously has cooties which is why I kicked him in the first place..." But now it's the best. Even if you're not 110% over a problem, sometimes the simple act of forgiveness (and all of the “forgiveness” it entails) reminds you that the fight isn't worth your stress, no matter how hurt you were by the fact that he forgot that you hate carnations because really, they're just the tacky cousins of the rose. No need to sit in a tree, but enjoy the K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
We’ve come a long way since our kindergarten days, but interacting with boys can still be terrifying. So enjoy your maturity (and the fact that you no longer have to eat lunch in an elementary school cafeteria), but don’t forget to channel your inner kid every once in awhile in order to earn a gold star in love.