Every long-term relationship is unique, but no matter what route couples take, they all must pass through these nine major milestones.
1. The First Fresca: Inevitably in any long-term relationship, the moment will arise when you and your significant other take deep breaths, dip two straws into the same Fresca can, and rapidly gulp it down while making intense, unflinching eye contact as your friends and family circle around you chanting “First Fresca!” It’s an amazing event to be a part of, but it only happens once, so be sure to savor it while it lasts.
2. Surgically combining friend groups: You can’t keep hanging out with separate friends forever. Eventually, you’re going to need to surgically fuse each other’s social groups into a monstrous, writhing, omni-limbed ball of unified friendship.
3. First romantic spiderweb message: Every couple knows they’ve reached an important new chapter in their relationship when spiders start spinning webs above their bed that spell out the message, “The Lovebirds Fuck Here.”
4. The child who symbolizes your relationship becomes an old man: It’s a moment that happens to every couple: The little boy who serves as a physical embodiment of your relationship suddenly shrieks and ages from bright-eyed child to withered crone in a matter of seconds. Then you know for sure that your love has matured and reached the next level.
5. Moving in together (arms only): Cohabitation is a huge commitment, and most couples prefer to ease into it by renting an apartment and letting their disembodied arms live there for a while first to see if they can peacefully coexist.
6. Moving in together (full bodies): If the arms are getting along nicely, then it’s time for your entire bodies to shack up.
7. When the semi truck that follows your significant other around starts following you, too: After a year or two of dating, the mysterious semi truck that silently trails your significant other will eventually begin following you, too. It’ll be a little awkward at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll feel closer to your partner than ever before.
8. The Marriage Of The Parents: When your parents and your partner’s parents all get married to each other, your own marriage is likely right around the corner.
9. Learning each other’s names: There comes a time in every long-term relationship when you think, “I wonder who this person is who I’ve been spending all my time with these past few years?” When this happens, it’s only a matter of time before you both reveal your first and last names.