A raft of otters bobs down a river surrounded by craggy, artificial mountains. A crew of people emerge through a door in said mountains, holding a tray of fish arranged to spell out “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.” No, it’s not a fever dream you recorded in your Notes app — the people are employees of a marine mammal rescue in Vancouver, Canada, and one of the otters is celebrating their solar return.
The scene is just one of many on the rescue center’s videos on Twitch, a live-streaming platform where everyone from zoo alligators to famous gamers publicly share what they’re doing with millions. While most people on Twitch are watching streamers talk their way though League of Legends or Grand Theft Auto V, other people are watching IRL animals, beauty tutorials, or candid conversations between internet friends. Viewers like Twitch because the live element makes it feels more intimate and informal than other video platforms (like YouTube or Netflix). Only, navigating the chaotic homepage is no easy feat if you’re just learning how to use Twitch as a viewer.
Per Backlinko, a web traffic training company, the streaming platform hit 140 million monthly users in 2022 — 7.4 million of which are posting content each month. Read: there are an overwhelming number of streams to choose from. As the homepage loads, you’ll be immediately greeted with a live feed, likely of someone you don’t know playing a game you’re unfamiliar with in the middle of what seems like an inside-joke-heavy conversation with viewers. It’s not the most welcoming platform for newbies, but you’ll catch on quick.
Though gaming is the most popular content on Twitch, you don’t have to be fluent in Rocket League or a life-long Minecraft player to enjoy it. You can also find streams featuring cooking, vlogs, art, mature (meaning 18+) chats, crafting, sports, and more. Consider Twitch a more interactive way to watch and a more direct way to connect with people who like the same things.
Continue on for everything you need to know about getting into Twitch, from how to find videos you’ll like to making friends on the platform.
How To Join Twitch
Anyone can lurk on Twitch without signing up — streaming is free— but making an account and filling out your profile allows you to chat with viewers in livestreams, favorite videos you like, and set up a wallet so that you can subscribe to channels you enjoy. To sign up, tap the button on the upper right corner of the homepage and create a username, enter your birthday, and verify your account with a code sent via email or text.
To subscribe to channels, you’ll need to load up your Twitch wallet by tapping the profile icon, then Wallet, then Purchase Gift Card. Once you have some money on your account, you can subscribe to your favorite streamers’ channels to show support and gain access to ad-free viewing, private bonus subscriber streams, messaging, and badges, which show off how long you’ve been subscribed and make you stand out the in the chat. Subscriptions typically start at $4.99 per month and offers small savings when you subscribe for longer.
How To Find Your Favorites On Twitch
If there’s a game, gamer, or streamer that you’re already a fan of through other social media, simply look directly for their content in the upper search bar. If you’ve heard about various popular channels through TikTok, you can cruise the Recommended Channels bar on the left side menu. Alissa, 23, who streams digital art on Twitch, says that it’s helpful to find some of the bigger streamers on other social media platforms that you’re more comfortable navigating before finding them on Twitch. For example, if you’re really into Fortnight and comfortable on Twitter, search the app for popular posts on the subject and browse streamers and creators there, and then look them up on Twitch.
If you’re looking to find some more streamers who are playing games that are not super popular, you’ll have to do a bit more investigating. “Twitch makes recommendations by the amount of views, so I would suggest to search for the small streamers too (by search tags and scrolling past the top names) because they might just be the content you enjoy,” Alissa says.
How To Use Twitch If You Don’t Know What You Like
If you’re new to Twitch, it’s easy to get overstimulated by all of the different content and pop ups, so having some sort of game plan is helpful (no pun intended). If you’re interested in a certain category of video game, like RPGs, or a specific kind of stream, like a cooking demo, search those tags and then narrow in on even more specific content later. When you find a video that you like, take a look at the tags and explore those, too. Maybe you started out watching a 24/7 street food cooking stream, and then followed the tags to find auditory ASMR videos, and then suddenly, you’re in an entirely different place than you started.
Bernadette, 32, a Final Fantasy IX player, says that another way to find what you like is to experiment with vibe-specific tags, rather than content. “Search through tags like: cozy, chatty, safe space, etc. — Twitch has really boosted discoverability in the last two years,” she says, meaning it’s extra easy to find videos you might like by leaning on tags and keywords.
So think about what you’re in the mood for — passively listening to someone chat about their day while you do chores, a make-up tutorial that you’ll actually follow along with in real time, or maybe a chill chat that you actually engage with.
How To Make Friends On Twitch
Though engaging with others on the platform is not a necessary component of participating, there’s a huge social element to Twitch thanks to old school chatroom-style comment sections. When you set up a profile, you can talk with other viewers in the streamer’s chatroom, or speak to the streamer directly. “There are so many pockets of micro-communities on the platform that eventually you start to see overlap in people who are in chats. This is something I gravitate to the most because we all know each other, which makes the environment super welcoming and cozy,” Bernadette tells Bustle.
If you’re on a mission to make friends on Twitch, Bernadette suggests seeking out smaller streams (under 150 viewers) where people are more likely to be interacting in the chat. “It’s a lot more personal in those streams that are smaller.”
To seal the deal and become friends off Twitch, or support streamers you love, Alissa says to connect on other socials. “Add people on social media and search through Discord servers for your Twitch communities — they’re great places to make friends, play and talk about common interests.”
Original Post: bustle.com
Dionne Warwick Is Still on the Hunt for Taylor Swift’s Infamous Scarf
Swifties aren’t the only ones who remember Taylor Swift’s missing scarf all too well. Legendary singer (and now tweeter) Dionne Warwick has provided an update on her attempts to get the infamous accessory back, and her work is not yet done. Appearing on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Friday, Jan. 21, she laid out her plans to find the scarf fans have long suspected Jake Gyllenhaal has.
Colbert brought the case up while asking the “Queen of Twitter” about some of her past tweets, reminding viewers that Warwick had gone so far as to offer to pay for the cost of mailing the scarf back to Swift. The late-night host “couldn’t let [her] go without weighing in” in the situation, as he told her, and the “Nothing’s Impossible” singer let him know that she had heard “not one word” from either Gyllenhaal or Swift so far.
“I’m going to find out and give her a call,” Warwick said. “I am. To find out if she got her scarf.”
The five-time Grammy winner didn’t stop there. “If she didn’t, I’m going to find Jake,” she added, giving Colbert a meaningful look that turned into some serious stink eye before she ultimately broke into laughter.
The story of Swift’s missing scarf has intrigued fans since the pop star released “All Too Well” on the original version of Red in October 2012. In the song, she mentions it twice, first singing that she left it at the house of the unnamed ex’s sister and that he’s “still got it in [his] drawer even now.” Later, she adds, “But you keep my old scarf from that very first week / ’Cause it reminds you of innocence / And it smells like me / You can’t get rid of it.” And so the question of what happened to it in real life kept popping up. The suspected sister from the song, Maggie Gyllenhaal, even faced a fan question about it on What What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in 2017, and she noted that “everybody asked [her] about this scarf.” However, she had no definitive answers as to its whereabouts, and the mystery continued.
It was the release of Red (Taylor’s Version) in late 2021 that ultimately got Warwick involved. The 10-minute version of “All Too Well” reignited the internet buzz with a vengeance, especially when a placeholder scarf made multiple appearances in the song’s short film, which came out on Nov. 12. Within days, Warwick was already trying to help Swift get her winter wear back and UPS was ready to join her.
Of course, only Jake Gyllenhaal can say what happened to the scarf and he’s kept mum on the subject. Whether or not Warwick will be able to change that remains to be seen, but at the very least, the saga is still keeping us all entertained.
Original Article: bustle.com
Keeping Your House Nice Is Hard, but These 45 Clever Things Make It so Much Easier
Even after you’ve done all of the renovations and upgrades that you want to your house, maintaining its beauty and organization is tricky. Especially if you have a house full of kids or pets, begging to make a mess of it all. I’ve shopped around and found solutions to all of your cleaning and organization woes. Keeping your house nice is hard, but these 45 clever things make it so much easier.
Protecting your investments is a no-brainer, but you may not realize there are plenty of affordable tools that will keep your higher-priced items looking their best. Check out the covers that protect your refrigerator handles from sticky fingers, or the canvas baskets that look good while hiding a mess of toys, blankets, or crafts. Little purchases like coasters or dedicated organizers for each room can help to protect your home from future damage.
Some wear and tear is inevitable when it comes to your house, so when things start to look a little dingy, try one of the restoration products I included, such as cleaners for windows, mirrors, or metal fixtures. I also added a repair kit for wooden floors or furniture, as well as one for repairing leather. These small maintenance hacks will preserve your favorite home pieces while you enjoy them.
Staying clean and tidy is no simple task, but you can rely on these highly rated and reviewed Amazon products to help you along the way.
A Mini Desk Vacuum That’s Rechargeable
If your desk is the messiest place in your home, you’ll love this adorable mini vacuum. It cleans up dust and crumbs from desktops, tables, counters, floors, and even keyboards. The rechargeable hand vacuum gets into corners and crevices, and you can clean out its filter with the push of a button. It comes with an attachable vacuum nozzle, a manual, brush, and USB charging cable.
The Covers For Your Fridge To Combat Fingerprints
Over time, grime inevitably builds up on your refrigerator door handles. These plush, protective sleeves keep stains, water drip, fingerprints, and smudges at bay, and they’re totally inexpensive. This pair of machine-washable covers features velcro closures, which you can adjust to fit your door’s handles. Choose from a variety of sizes and quantities so you can protect your other appliances, too.
These Furniture Leg Socks To Prevent Scratching
These stretchy furniture leg covers provide an easy way to protect your floors from scratches. They fit chair legs with diameters between two and eight inches and the set includes 16 covers that can stretch over a variety of leg shapes to keep your home looking brand new.
A DIY Wood Furniture And Flooring Repair Kit
Restore any wood flooring or furniture with this repair kit that’s an Amazon bestseller. It easily fills chips, cracks, and other imperfections in wooden furniture, molding, laminate, edging, baseboard, and even decks. This set includes ten repair compounds in various colors, a spatula, an application brush, a wood putty stick, and a mixing jar.
This Playful Stain-Resistant Rug For The Kids’ Rooms
The best part about this playful, cozy rug is that it’s stain-resistant. The low-pile rug features a cotton fringe hem and soft woven material. It’s perfect for high-traffic areas or kid’s rooms and playrooms and it’s available in two sizes and four colors.
The Leather Cleaning And Recoloring Kit For Quick Fixes
Make your tired and worn leather look as good as new with this cleaner and repair kit. The first step of the kit includes cleaning your leather to remove deeply ingrained dirt and grime while prepping the surface for step two: recoloring. It restores faded leather and protects leather surfaces for the future. This kit comes in 12 colored compounds that can be mixed to match your leather.
A Motion-Activated Keyhole Light For Your Door
There is a budget-friendly solution to fumbling around in the dark, looking for your keys: this motion-activated light. The LED light comes on when you approach the door, illuminating the keyhole so you can quickly and easily unlock it. It comes with screws or an adhesive to attach to your door and has two modes: daytime or nighttime. You can also use it in cabinets or drawers for extra light on a budget.
This Cable Management Box That Conceals Cords
How can your home look its best with messy cords and cables contributing to clutter? This cable management box set is the simple, affordable solution that conceals power strips and loose wires so you can see the room and not the accessories that make it come alive. This set includes three boxes of a variety of sizes and is available in two colors.
A Compact Drawer And Shelf Combo For The Kitchen
This small drawer adds usable storage space to your cluttered cabinets. The compact shelf features three tiers and a pull-out drawer. Stack spices or canned goods on the organizer so you can easily see everything at once. It easily fits in your kitchen, however, it’s versatile enough that you could use it to organize your bathroom or craft area.
These Stain-Resistant Comforters In 20 Colors
Finding a comforter that’s luxurious yet easy to maintain can be tricky, but this microfiber blanket is stain-resistant to keep it looking brand new. This $35 find features a down-alternative fill and double-sided box quilting that looks expensive and feels cozy. It’s super soft and lightweight enough to use year-round. Whenever it does need a clean, wash it in your machine on cold and gentle cycles. Choose from 20 colors.
The Bamboo Shoe Shelf For Your Entryway
If your shoes and the shoes of every guest that enters your home are sprawled out all over the hallway floor, this is the attractive solution you need in your home. This sustainable bamboo entryway shelf has two tiers where you can store shoes and boots, as well as purses and a basket for umbrellas. Buy a couple and stack them on top of each other for additional storage.
This Cordless Handheld Vacuum That Does It All
This handheld vacuum is the perfect tool for quickly cleaning up life’s little messes. With no bags to replace, it’s simpler to maintain and it comes with three head attachments for getting hard-to-reach spots, as well as vacuuming your car. It picks up dirt and crumbs from carpet, countertops, floors, and even upholstery. The compact hand vacuum is lightweight and comes with an outlet power cord, as well as one for your car.
The Spoon Rests That Keep Counters Clean
This kitchen counter gadget is a chef’s dream because it makes post-meal clean-up a breeze. The food-grade, BPA-free plastic utility rests are designed for you to set spoons, pot lids, and other utensils on to avoid making a mess. The multifunctional rest keeps utensils separate and, thanks to the high lip around the edge, catches any liquids before they drip on your counters. This pack comes with two.
These Canvas Baskets That Can Hold 25 Pounds
If you’re looking for versatile storage that also looks good, try these metal frame storage bins. The rectangular baskets are made of canvas and feature a heavy-duty bottom board and frame that extends to create a rigid shape that supports up to 25 pounds. Use them for spare linens, toys, or craft supplies. The faux leather handles are elegant and modern, making this a no-brainer when it comes to upgrading your storage.
This Dual Lazy Susan Made Of Stylish Bamboo
This bamboo lazy Susan is convenient, sturdy, and stylish, so you can leave it out on your counters without it messing up your home’s aesthetic. It has two tiers that each spin 360 degrees with ease, with three pegs that fit into pre-drilled holes to make assembly a breeze. Each tier has a rim to keep items from sliding off. It measures 10 inches in diameter and serves as the perfect spot for storing spices, produce, or even essential oils.
The Snack Caddy You’ll Want For The Next Big Game
Get ready for the big game with this rustic wood snack caddy. It has compartments for everything you need for the big game: three remote controls, two large food dishes, and two cup holders. The serving tray has handles on the side and stainless steel bowls for snacks that can be removed when it’s time to clean them.
A Pack Of Rustic Corner Shelves For Unusable Space
These unique corner shelves make use of wall space in your home you’d otherwise ignore. This two-pack comes with dark rustic-looking wood shelves and four black metal brackets to secure them to the wall. The right-angle shelves fit perfectly into any corner or nook.
These Unbreakable Cups For Your Next Party
Host a party without the fear of broken glass with these unbreakable cups. They’re eco-friendly and even made from reclaimed materials such a natural wheat straw and starch. They’re biodegradable and won’t break or chip — even if you run them through the dishwasher, microwave, or even store them in the freezer. This pack of five comes in a variety of colors so your guests can keep track of their drinks.
The Grout Pens That Make Tile Look Brand New
Give your tile an upgrade and avoid scrubbing in the future with these grout pens. This kit comes with a foldable cleaning brush that gets tough, stuck-on grime, as well as two beige-colored grout pens that easily cover dingy grout lines. This pack includes two replacement nibs for the pens so you can revamp your whole space for less than $20.
A Quick-Drying Bath Mat That Prevents Slipping
Keep your bathroom smelling fresh by avoiding common mold traps. Your bath mat is one of those spots, but with this textured mat, you can worry less about mildew because it dries so quickly. It’s made of PVC loofah material that secures itself to the floor without suction cups. The material is resistant to scum and can be washed in warm water.
This Unique Metal Brush That Eliminates Pet Hair
Eliminate pet hair from your favorite sofa with this magic tool that should cost a lot more than $10. This metal brush features a wooden handle, which is comfortable in your hand. In addition to handling pet hair and fur, you can use this tool to gently brush your couch and trim loose strings and banish pilling.
These Crowd-Favorite, Reusable Chalk Labels
Keeping your house organized can feel like an uphill battle, but with the help of these reusable labels, now your whole family can help out. This pack includes 96 labels that stick to glass bottles, jars, or plastic containers and a chalk pen that is erasable. This pack is Amazon’s #1 bestseller of “removable labels,” earning nearly 20,000 reviews.
The Sink Mat That Fits Around Your Faucet
Keep sitting water in your kitchen to a minimum with this sink mat. It wraps around the base of your sink and absorbs splashes or drips. The protective mesh material dries super quickly and can be machine washed and dried. It has a snap that secures the mat around your faucet and comes in three colors.
These Fun Wall Hooks That Encourage Tidying Up
Looking for whimsical solutions that will get your kids to pick up their stuff (or keep you motivated as an adult)? Try these wall hooks that look like little characters scaling the wall. The “buddy” wall hooks can hold up to five pounds — ideal for jackets, lightweight bags, and towels. This pack of three includes mounting hardware and adds a fun touch to any space.
The Glass Wax That Polishes Windows and Mirrors
Do your windows, mirrors, or metal fixures look tired and worn? This professional glass wax is the solution you’ve been searching for. It polishes and protects glass and metal by simply rubbing on and buffing the wax off. It goes on dark pink but dries to a chalky white so you know when it’s time to remove it. This little bottle will give your windows and mirrors a streak-free finish.
A Low-Pile Doormat That Absorbs Water Quickly
A durable doormat can save your floors from sitting water, mud, and snow, but not all doormats are created equally. This heavy-duty option is waterproof, low-profile, and easy to clean. It’s made with highly absorbent polypropylene fabric in a low pile that allows doors to easily open over the mat. To clean it, you can use a vacuum or hose, and the manufacturer says it’s safe to machine wash as well.
These Door Draft Stoppers That Keep Bedrooms Warm
These weather-stripping door draft stoppers fit onto your door to keep out sound and light and to regulate temperature. The transparent seal traps heat in or out, depending on the season, so you can cut electrical costs. Installing it is as easy as cutting it to size, peeling back the adhesive tape, and sticking it onto your door. You can use it anywhere to close gaps in garages, basements, beds, or even cabinets.
A Teeth-Brushing Station That Keeps Everything Clean
Why dispense your own toothpaste when you can pay $26 to have a machine do it for you? This toothpaste dispenser can be conveniently mounted to the wall by your bathroom sink using a double-sided adhesive. It’s also a sanitary solution: It can hold up to four toothbrushes when they’re not in use, keeping their heads covered and away from germs. Plus it features a shelf for storing other essentials, as well as two cup dispensers.
This Modern, Automatic Trash Can That Locks In Odors
This simple upgrade will make your whole house instantly cleaner: a new trash can. This one has a touchless automatic sensor that opens and closes to lock in odors when you’re not using it. The three-gallon can has a stainless steel base and plastic lid with a slow-close feature, along with a non-skid base and a removable ring liner to secure bags. It’s available in eight colors options.
A Set Of Nesting, Wooden Coasters To Protect Tables
These wooden coasters look like expensive decor accents when they’re not in use, but function beautifully at protecting your table from ring marks. The four-piece natural acacia wood and cork coasters nest into one another when stacked and offer a sturdy lip to keep drinks from spilling. The cord bed absorbs moisture to keep your tabletops in pristine condition.
The Fabric Pins That Are Magnetic And Release Easily
These genius magnetic pins ensure you never wake up with your duvet bunched up at the foot of your duvet cover. The easy-release pins secure up to 10 pounds so you can also use them for hanging curtains, pinning comforters, or securing couch covers in place. This set comes with eight pins.
These Genius Cushion Supports To Revamp Sofas
Over time, sofa cushions can sink and won’t always spring back to life. But these cushion supports improve the shape and feel of your furniture. The wood supports are covered in black vinyl, making them a cinch to clean. Just fold out the supports to your desired length and place them below your seat cushions for extra reinforcement. They instantly fix sagging cushions and make your pieces look so much better. Best of all, no installation is required.
The Sheer Curtains That Repel Dust And Dog Hair
The best way to keep your curtains clean is to dedicate time to wash them properly, but let’s be real — there’s not always enough time in the day for that. That’s why reviewers love these anti-dust sheer curtain panels. They’re made of a textured material that is anti-dust, anti-allergen, and repels pet hair, so your curtains stay cleaner longer. This polyester-blend set features a slide-through curtain rod pocket. Choose from three sizes and three colors.
The Magnetic Curtain Tie-Backs That Look Stylish
Don’t just push your curtains open, tie them back with these magnetic curtain holders that keep them in place and add a charming accent. Not only are they easy to use, but they’re also decorative with a modern spindle-shaped clasp and rope tie that’s stylish.
A Pack Of Odor-Beating Lavender Sachets For Home
Keep your closet smelling fresh by hanging a few of these lavender sachets over your hangers. The small bags are filled with French lavender, which has a calming fragrance that can reduce odors and boost your mood. Place one in your gym bag or by the door where everyone leaves their shoes. This set comes with 24 sachets.
The Self-Watering Pots That Hydrate Your Plants
These self-water planters make it easy to care for your plants, even if you don’t have the greenest thumb. The 6-inch pots feature a large, transparent basin that can hold excess water, which plants absorb through a connecting cotton rope. This set of three is available in gray and white and will water your plants for up to about a week, depending on the plant and time of year.
These Covers That Fill The Gaps On Your Countertop
Cover the space between your stove and countertop to keep it free from messes with this set of stove gap fillers. The flexible silicone is easy to cut to match the depth of your appliance, and the T-shaped profile slides easily into place for a super-simple setup. Its nonslip construction won’t slide around and it provides a seamless fit.
A Slim, Sleek Rolling Cart For Extra Storage Anywhere
If you need some additional storage, check out this rolling three-tier cart. It has more than 5,000 reviews, and many reviewers have raved about how easy the trolley-style cart is to move from room to room, as well as how the durable wheel brakes keep it from rolling away on its own. It’s made of plastic and stainless steel so it’s easy to wipe down, plus its narrow size is perfect for storing in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen.
An Easy-To-Clean Showerhead With Seven Modes
This showerhead is one the whole family will love since it has seven settings to choose from. It easily attaches to your existing shower and has touch-clean spray holes that you can simply wipe clean, rather than soaking it. Choose from a full body spray, wide-body spray, massaging spray, full body with massage, drenching spray, energy-saving mode, and pause. Each mode is powerful to relieve sore muscles and wash away the dirt of the day.
These Guide Lights That Easily Install On Your Outlets
Adding custom lighting to your home can be a huge investment, but these outlet guide lights are a budget-friendly solution — plus they have 11,000 reviews. This pack comes with two outlet plates that have a built-in light and don’t require batteries or wires. They snap on easily without occupying one of your outlets and they come in four colors.
A Hygienic Soap Dispenser That’s Automatic
The area around your sink can get pretty messy. Thanks to its battery-powered design (which works when you simply place your hand under it), this soap dispenser cuts down on the drips of soap that inevitably land on countertops. This hygienic dispenser holds liquid soap and has a versatile sleek finish that’s stylish and suits any home decor.
The Decorative Outdoor Pillow Covers You’ll Love
Create a cozy space in your backyard or step up your curb appeal by adding some of these decorative pillow covers to front porches. Don’t worry, they’re waterproof — made of canvas polyester with a PU coating. This four-pack features 18-by-18-inch covers, however, they’re available in four sizes and 21 colors. They feature a hidden zipper where you can insert the pillow (not included).
A Paper Towel Holder With Lots Of Whimsy
How cute is this paper towel holder? While it secures the roll of paper towels upright, it also features a little “buddy” hugging the roll, making it easier to tear off a sheet. It’s fun and functional, plus it’s easy to load when the roll is empty. It’s earned nearly 3,000 reviews, including this one: “I like the uniqueness, so had to buy it. It’s sturdy and does the job.”
This Tabletop Organizer To Keep Track Of The Remote
Keep all your TV remotes in one place to save your sanity. This $20 fix holds three or four remotes, depending on the size. The tabletop organizer has a rustic farmhouse decor style that is a stylish alternative to your typically messy coffee table.
The Clothing Rack Dividers For Organizing Your Closet
Do you share a closet with your partner? Or do you want to make putting clothes away a bit easier? Try these clothing rack dividers. This pack of 16 comes with 60 labels that you can add to each divider to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Use it to label colors or outfits, or just separate what is yours from what belongs to your partner. The sturdy plastic labels go over your closet pole and sit above hangers so you can clearly read them.
Is He "The One?" I Still Don’t Know After Four Years
Q: If I don’t know after four years, does that mean my boyfriend isn’t “the one”? I ask because we’re planning to move in together next summer, and I feel like I should be sure that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I always hear, “When you know, you know,” so I’m wondering if I don’t know yet, does that mean I never will? I’m 27, and while I’m comfortable being single at this point, I don’t want to figure out three to five years from now that he isn’t my person for life. That scares me!
I don’t want to feel like I’m settling but I also don’t know if it’s normal to feel a little unsure. I can absolutely see spending the rest of my life with him, but in a way, I also assume I’d be able to find someone else. (I definitely don’t believe there’s only one perfect person for everyone.) I guess my question boils down to: Do you always “know,” or is it normal to have some uncertainty? And if you should be sure, at what point in a relationship should you call it quits if you aren’t?
A: To answer the big question you have, yes, it’s incredibly normal to feel uncertain, to harbor lingering doubts. The truth is, you cannot know how long a relationship lasts until it’s over, which might be when one of you dies! I want to gently suggest that the length of a relationship is not what makes it good or bad, real or false, love or a poor approximation. There is no knowing that someone is going to be “the one,” the right choice forever. The question isn’t, “Will this person always make me happy?” but rather, “Is this a relationship I want to build?”
There’s a misconception that most of us unconsciously hold about relationships. It’s perhaps the most pervasive myth out there when it comes to long-term love, and it’s the idea that a relationship is actually a predetermined set of life events that a specific potential partner is selling, and we choose to buy it or not.
In reality, relationships aren’t given to you fully formed; you make them together. You build your relationship with someone, your compatibility with them, brick by painstaking brick. It’s like a house you and your partner build that you never actually complete, never get to fully live in. You just keep building it, every single day, through your words and your actions, the things you overlook, and the things you blow up about. It’s a little Sisyphus-ian, really. (The silver lining here is that if Camus is to be believed, Sisyphus is happy.)
I’m not suggesting that you can change any person into a great partner, or that you can change people at all, or that that’s the goal. I’m just reminding you that what you have with your partner is created by you two — you have control!
There’s a joke in the book Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give by Ada Calhoun where she asks her mother, “How do you stay married?” and her mother answers, “You don’t get divorced.” It’s a trite joke, sure, but there’s some truth to it, too. The way to stay together is… you just do it. So if you’re worried about leaving your partner in a few years, one option would be to simply not. I know I’m massively oversimplifying things! My reductionism is off the charts here.
Your real fear is one of two things. One, that things will somehow be so bad that you’ll want to leave, which frankly seems unlikely (although certainly possible) if they haven’t been bad up until this point. Or two, and I think this is the root of the root, that things will never be so f*cking good that you will feel certain that you picked correctly. And if things aren’t That Good, shouldn’t you just leave now?
My vote, honestly? Stay. Don’t leave. Now, I am distinctly not of the belief that long-term love is a hard slog where you can’t stand to be around your partner, but it’s somehow valuable because… you did it! You made a choice and never changed your mind and now you and your partner of 47 years sleep in separate bedrooms and haven’t had sex in two decades, which is somehow an achievement because you Stuck It Out.
Let me be clear: Those are bad outcomes. I am, however, of the belief that long-term, committed love feels a lot more like sitting in a comfortable armchair than riding a roller coaster. It’s a lot more like putting on a great pair of socks than it is like going to a dance party. Obviously, there are times when that’s a little sad. I wish love were a little more like the movies sometimes, but there’s a reason rom-coms end after people get together. It’s kind of boring! Not every day. Some days are hot; some days feel like falling in love again.
Every negative train of thought in your letter is posed as a future hypothetical. The questions you ask are, “What if things get bad? What if I become bored or dissatisfied?” Not that you are currently, which I think is really telling. I believe if you were to start feeling very unhappy you would know.
Is there a guarantee those things won’t happen with your partner in a few years? No. But right now you’re giving me absolutely zero reasons to predict that it will. It’s always possible that you and your partner — whether that’s your current boyfriend or someone else — change and grow in ways that mean you two no longer fit together. It’s possible that one or both of you has a massive, unforeseen life event that breaks the relationship. It’s possible you want different things out of life down the road. It’s possible that Adam Driver knocks on your door and tells you that it’s always been you and asks you to run away with him. Are any of those a reason to leave now? No.
You’re never going to get a Hogwartsian letter in the mail that tells you who The One is. You’ll never know with absolute certainty that you made the right choice. As you pointed out, there are lots of people out there who would probably build a lovely life with you. Would it be different in some really good ways with another person? Yes! Would it also be different in some really bad ways? Also yes. No matter who you choose to spend your life with, there will be some degree of wonder about what it would be like with someone else. But if you’re 95% with someone, I don’t think that’s settling.
So if you love spending time with your partner, if being with them feels good and happy and secure now, even if not Unendingly Thrilling and Wildly Exciting, but warm and loving… well, that’s pretty d*mn good. If it doesn’t feel like that, if it feels like you’re just going through the motions, then walk away. As Marianne Moore says in one of my favorite poems, “Satisfaction is a lowly thing. How pure a thing is joy.” Find happiness and stick with it when it’s hard, but not when it’s bad.
You’ll never be able to see what’s coming down the road. The great news, however, is that you have a lot of control over what you make and with whom.
It’s A Pleasure appears here every Thursday. If you have a sex, dating, or relationship question, email Sophia at BustleSexAdvice@gmail.com.
Original Post: bustle.com
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