It happens to the best of us: You’re super into your relationship and spending every second of your free time marinating in each other. One day you wake up and realize it has been weeks since you spent quality time with your friends, your family is pissed, oh and your regular runs and yoga nights? Traded in for hardcore fuggle sessions. You’ve been wifeyed. The male equivalence of this is hubbied. I hubbied up my college boyfriend so fast his friends started calling me Yoko Ono. “No no guys, I’m not forcing him to break up the band! It’s just that finding new ways to remove my underwear is probably more appealing than watching South Park in an apartment that smells like vomit and beer…”
This type of couple cocooning can be dangerous; if it doesn’t work out, instead of emerging a beautiful butterfly you come out wide-eyed, disheveled and realizing you’ve lost track of all of your friends, and no one likes getting that “hey I’m single now, wanna hang out?” phone call after 8 months of silence.
Plus, being that hard-core dependent on your relationship makes it harder to get out if things become unhealthy. But it’s a very easy trap to fall into. Low key nights spent wiping your nose on your boyfriend’s mustache simply begin to sound more appealing than a crowded bar or a party full of repetitive small-talk.
But it’s important to keep your independence. Your relationship will do better in the long run if you have your own things going on, because as appealing as your girlfriend’s ass is, neither of you will be too happy if you’re always all up in it. Figuratively speaking, of course… This is all easier said than done.
Here are some simple tricks to avoid being one half of that obnoxious touchy-feely cocooned couple who neglects all of their friends, and if they do make a public appearance, it’s only to stand in a corner and lick each other’s face…Do as I say, not as I do.
Plan (and keep!) friends-only nights. Do you have an annual taco tuesday with the girls or a rock climbing tradition with the guys? Stick to these dates just like you did when you were single. And while it may be tempting to bring your new guy along, try to abstain.
Keep up with your hobbies. Sometimes it’s more appealing to snuggle up on the couch with your sweetie and some General Tsaos Tofu than work on that art project or head to the yoga studio. Especially in winter, when it’s dark by the time you leave work, and your slippers and a back-rub sound pretty good. And as far as fitness being a hobby, well lots of people gain “relationship weight,” which is like baby weight but doesn’t involve an adorable squirming infant whose head smells like a mix of heaven and freshly baked bread. (Someone bring me a baby to smell!)
In the beginning of my relationship, visiting my boyfriend meant ditching my long weekend runs. But the man sleeps late, so instead of trying to rouse him with sweet whispers of morning sex and then disappointing him by insisting he take me to that bagel place round the corner, I keep a pair of running shoes at his place and head to the park…Whether you’re into playing the banjo or brewing your own kombucha, try and keep up with your individual interests, and don’t let fitness fall to the wayside. I don’t care what bullshit Cosmo feeds you, sex doesn’t burn that many calories.
It’s okay to see your family solo. Your new girlfriend doesn’t need to come to every.single.family.event. Your aunt’s birthday party may be hellishly boring, but there’s no need to drag an innocent into that equation. Your family wants some one-on-one time…And if eventually you break up, then everybody is going to harass you about where your nice girlfriend is, and then you’re going to drink too much and spend the evening telling your 6-year-old nephew what a succubus is.
Include your friends. Instead of inviting your girlfriend to tag along with your friends, invite your friends to tag along with your girlfriend. If they think your coupledom is annoying they can always opt out. Make a plan with your significant other—outings and adventures are always fun—and then invite your friends along to do whatever was already planned. This gives off a different vibe, but still allows everyone to get to know each other without being that girl who invites her boyfriend everywhere. Earlier in the year I did a Tough Mudder with my guy and a group of friends. It was really fun (and crazy intense) and it also checked the whole “keep up with your fitness” off my list. And because you have to work together to complete the course, we had all kinds of excuses to touch each other without being too obnoxious.
Okay, so tell me all about how you avoid that couple cocoon. Or tell me how annoying your coupled up friends are. Do they speak in “we?” I hate that!
The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at http://www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog