How comfortable is too comfortable?

| Romance Columnist

The other night, one of my roommates was leaving to spend the night at her boyfriend’s place. After she waved goodbye to all of us, she turned to him and said in a completely serious voice, “Remind me to shower tomorrow.”

Since they’ve been dating for over a year, her boyfriend shrugged dutifully, and they walked out the door. Meanwhile, I went on to prepare for my own boyfriend’s arrival; it had been over a month since our last visit, and I wanted to make sure that I would look good when he saw me for the first time in five weeks. When I mentioned this to him on the phone, he laughed at me.

“Carly,” Ben said. “Have you really forgotten that I saw you when you had mono?” I could hear him grinning over the phone. “Really, I’ll be happy to see you no matter what.”

As reassuring as this was, I flashed back to my relationship before we went long distance. I vividly remember spending whole weekends in my sweatpants, going a couple days without washing my hair and having Ben visit when my room was so messy I had to leap over dirty clothes and notebooks to get into my bed—this was also when I had mono. And now I was touching up my lipgloss in the airport—since when do I do that just for Ben?

Starting a new relationship is one of the most exciting experiences you can have; you’re so into the person that you make sure to come off as extra impressive. When time passes, though, and when a relationship becomes long term, wearing that T-shirt an extra day or putting on eyeliner stops seeming like a big deal. Does this new set of habits mean that a relationship has become too comfortable? Or does this mean that the relationship is secure, and that we can truly be ourselves?

I won’t lie: After the butterflies disappeared from my stomach and Ben had been around for a few hours, I felt far more comfortable about the idea of spending the weekend in jeans and a Hanes T-shirt. But for the initial encounter, I was really happy to know that I looked like the girl he remembered from our first date. And seeing him with a fresh haircut and ironed shirt made me remember the reason we’d ended up talking and getting to know each other in the first place.

There’s nothing wrong with being comfortable; getting to that stage of a relationship is really important. At the same time, it wouldn’t kill us to clean up every once in a while. As much as I’m sure you all have wonderful hearts and huge, sexy brains, odds are that your significant other noticed how good your butt looked in your jeans before they knew all that other stuff. So remind them once in a while just why you caught their attention in the first place, and you’ll keep that eye from wandering anywhere else.

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