To be honest somethings always stay the same. Not that dating isn’t confusing and sometimes awful at all ages, but a lot changes in a decade, specifically the one where you go from needing to keep the door a little bit open for mom to having at leeeeast your own room to do all the hand stuff you want. Here are some ways your dating perceptions change from ages 15 to 25.
Your Dream Guy
At 15: He plays multiple instruments, is vaguely athletic (never jock-y — he has a sensitive side), and in certain lights, his eyes appear almost indigo. He broods beautifully and could absolutely could pass as the vampire protagonist in a YA novel.
At 25: You’re not entirely sure anymore because every heady musician that you’ve pursued has been freaking terrible. You’ve given up on the checklist of arbitrary traits and honestly, it’s pretty freeing.
Ideal Movie Date:
At 15: Your mom drops you off early, so you add a fresh coat of lip gloss and ~casually~ wait for him. You get tickets to a PG-13 movie you don’t care about and awkwardly transition from holding hands to full-on making out about 18 minutes in. And oh yeah, your friends are sitting right next to you, because you needed them to trick your mom.
At 25: Netflix. Wine. Blankets. Sex. SNACKS.
At 15: Oh god. You’re just hoping you’ve read enough Wikihow tutorials to confidently use tongue like this.
At 25: You know you’re a decent kisser, and it’s more about what ~this guy~ can do ~for you~ (especially because it might hint at how good he’ll be in other places).
Being Into the Same Stuff:
At 15: Liking the same song on a Future Islands album means that you share a rare bond that only few people ever experience. And if you both like the sixthHarry Potter the best? Congrats, you’re having, like, four kids (which are actually puppies because you both think kids are gross).
At 25: The older you get, the more you realize which common interests actually matter, like how much you care about food and how much you like to go out. You’ve learned this from the guy who had your identical HBO tastes, but never went out and only ate “to be full.”
Your Friends Liking Him:
At 15: You’re either paranoid that every single one of your friends likes him (even that one girl who is in semi-deep frenemy territory), or you’ll start hanging out more with his crew if they don’t. You can’t handle not being overwhelmingly welcomed as a couple by your immediate circle.
At 25: Your absolute closest friends liking him matters a lot but that’s it. If the guy makes you happy beyond a shadow of a doubt, there’s no part of you that worries what that ex-coworker you see twice a year thinks. You secretly judge other couples’ selfies; other people will judge yours. You accept this.
Your Parents Liking Him:
At 15: It mainly matters on a practical level, like: Will they let him in the house, or you in his car? But your mom hinting that he’s a hard-to-tame bad boy makes him just a teeny bit hotter, ADMIT IT.
At 25: If you’re close with your parents, this is huge. Your mom has been doubling as a fuckboy alarm since 2007, so if all she says about your boyfriend is “he’s fine,” you’re already in panic mode.
Spending a Week Apart:
At 15: Completely grueling. You’re haunted by the image of him waving good-bye across the hallway before he went to Hawaii with his family. Every grainy FaceTime is a slight against you.
At 25: Obvs you miss him, but you have the whole bed to yourself and can catch up with the four friends you’ve been kind of blowing off.
At 15: The first fight you have feels monumental and every fight you have after makes you worry in the back of your mind that it might be the last. Because yes, you would absolutely break up over him not signing up for the same gym sport as you.
At 25: You’d much rather calmly argue than have a guy bottle up everything and then ghost on you, or blow up at a random time. You know that little disagreements handled well are basically merit badges for your relationship.
At 15: The second-worst part of this (or worst part if you’re just “whatever” about the guy) is being in the same school and having a very high possibility of running into each other even if you’ve both recalculated your locker routes. Plus, like, everyone knows. Obviously. Of course.
At 25: Still never fun, but you can at least legally drink and buy yourself all the gym memberships and bags of Funyons (why not both?) you want.
Meeting Someone New:
At 15: Your pool of possibilities is sosmall. You’ve already imagined yourself with every halfway-passable, cargo-shorts-wearing guy in your school, and then shook that idea out of your head because, well, they’re halfway passable and wear bad things. *Sigh*. Maybe camp will yield something.
At 25: Dating apps hurt your thumb and your brain, but you can’t complain about the sheer volume of potential. Plus, if you ever are in dire need of a hookup, you can hit up “Fred or Frank??? From Club” in your contacts because you’re an ~adult~ and you can do whatever you want.