1. Trying desperately to assemble furniture together. Sartre was wrong. Hell isn't other people. It's putting together a cabinet made of compression board with other people. It doesn't matter how much love is in your heart, good luck staying sane when you realize the screws you were scouring every inch of the floor for was in your partner's hand the entire time. Because they thought it was prudent to hoard them like a squirrel (apologies to anyone actually dating a squirrel. I'm sure your relationship is lovely and nuanced and beautiful).
2. When you ask your partner what they want for dinner and they say, "I don't know." Sometimes, pouring over takeout menus to figure out what you want to eat is very much like the negotiations at the Treaty of Versailles, in that it leads to an all-out world war and the rise of socialism in Germany. Except here, the ultimate act of transgression is saying "I don't know" when your partner asks what you want to eat (although it's frankly not as bad as bombing Pearl Harbor or, arguably, the movie Pearl Harbor. But if your partner has bombed Pearl Harbor or directed the movie Pearl Harbor, that's a huge red flag). That is one of the worst things you can say. If you don't care, just say "tacos." Literally say "tacos" every time you don't know what you want to eat if you care the least bit about your partner's sanity. Tacos is your go to, forever. Seriously, if you can handle figuring out what to eat after one of you says, "I don't know," you have the foundation for a beautiful relationship.
3. A road trip that takes more than two hours. After an hour, your car essentially becomes a mobile prison with no way to escape short of opening a door, rolling, and hoping you don't go under another car. The first time you commit to a serious road trip, you're committing not only to spending time together in a tiny box of metal, but you're also committing to one of you navigating while the other drives (and God have mercy on your soul if one of you decides to secretly change routes and send you to the Powerline concert). If you make it to the destination and you're both still sitting in the front (as opposed to one of you locked in the trunk), then congratulations. Here's a certificate you can print out if you actually made it through a road trip alive.
4. Spending a long weekend away in a hotel that only has basic cable (or worse: no TV). Granted, you're not forced to sit in close proximity to one another, but this is unmitigated, inescapable, your-partner's-giant-face-everywhere-you-look for a solid 72 hours. If that sounds horrifying to you, you will die alone. But if you're OK with that, congratulations, you've passed another relationship test. Bonus points if the long weekend is bookended by road trips. That's the gauntlet, right there. That's the relationship version of the Eliminator from American Gladiators.
5. The first time one of you sleeps over...and forgets their toothbrush. There's a difference between "well, we just banged so I might as well create a nest for myself and sleep here" and "I'm bringing an overnight bag." The latter is much more serious because it's way less sexy. It's more about everyone's weird bedtime routine and how they look brushing their teeth. Think about the fact that this is what you'll (potentially) deal with every night for the rest of your life until one of you dies. And even then, we don't know what happens in eternity. Maybe when you die, it's just you in a room watching your partner vigorously brushing their teeth...forever. Who's to say?
6. The first time you have a drunken, overblown fight about something you could never even describe to another human being. This fight will be about nothing. Literally nothing. You might even be agreeing on something, but you're too drunk to work out the incongruous semantics of what the other person is drunk yelling in your face. You will fight for hours, pausing only to stew in a silence so heavy it has a physical presence during the cab ride home. Your cab driver will charge you an "uncomfortable silence fee." And then you'll go home and scream at each other about how "tomatoes aren't fruits" (they are) for three more hours. You might even break up and have to reconcile in the morning.
7. Meeting parents. Any parents. Most people would rather meet a rabid bear on fire than meet their significant other's parents. Because even though the bear would probably overpower you and dig straight through your chest cavity like you were made out of sand, at least the bear wouldn't stare at you uncomfortably for two hours because it knows you're banging its son or daughter.
Also, people's brains short-circuit when they meet someone's parents. It's like they forget how to interact with other people. If you can survive your partner making a wildly inappropriate joke where the punch line manages to be offensively sexual and racist during dinner with your parents, you're in it for the long haul.
8. Attending a party where one of you doesn't know anyone. This is debatably worse, because you usually wind up meeting everyone in a group situation, and you get bombarded by questions and people, and you can't even remember everyone's names, and then they get offended, and pretty soon, you're just standing off to the side awkwardly pretending to text while ignoring that everyone is talking about how you're a weirdo. Or maybe it goes perfectly well for you, because you're a sociopath who doesn't care about other people. Either way, you lose.
Picking a bunch of things out is one thing (and if you think it's impossible to get into an argument over a bed skirt, even if you didn't even know what a bed skirt was until you moved in together, you are wrong), but then you've also got to figure out which of your personal belongings you keep and which you throw out. You'll never understand the importance of a bunch of old mugs you've had since college until someone is asking you to throw those mugs in the garbage. Then they become the most important mugs you've ever held.
11. Realizing that you both have a deep, unyielding commitment to rival ketchup brands when you go grocery shopping for the first time together. Hey, have you been dating less than a year? That's cool. That means you've probably never gone grocery shopping with your partner and never even thought about what they eat. You've probably never had them come up to you with a cart full of a literally insane amount of bananas and thought, I don't know why, but the idea of someone eating that many bananas in a week makes me irrationally angry. You've never thought, Why would someone ever pay that much for salmon? You've never thought, Why would a grown adult still buy Cocoa Puffs? You have never realized that it's physically possible to stare at pasta sauce for 20 fucking minutes. You've never truly gazed into the depths of your partner's soul and seen just how black it is when they take your fruit snacks out of the cart and replace it with granola, and don't tell you until you're at checkout. If you can successfully navigate the horrifying, maze-like aisles of the grocery store together, then you are truly meant to be together.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.