You don't need me to explain how complicated and challenging dating is in the #modern #age, when our relationships don't just exist IRL, but also on our phones, on the Internet, and in literally every inhabitable cavern of this physical and digital web we've weaved. There are things Modern Women In Relationships do for their boyfriends that our mothers never had to do—like explaining the subtleties of flattering Instagram filters, and making sure he's up to date on all the latest celebs to follow and unfollow on social media.
1. Train him in the subtle nuances between a cute tweet that will make everyone jealous of your perfect relationship, and a gross tweet that will make everyone want to pull you two apart with vigorous force.
It's one thing to post a pic of you smiling with a cup of coffee, with some text like, "having a great morning out with bae," and it's quite another to post a pic of you holding hands in bed with a caption like, "happy 3 weeks dating the best woman in the whole world it's like I already forgot other people exist!"
2. Comfort him (and don't say "I told you so") when that unpaid internship doesn't turn into a real job in the end.
What with the millennial unemployment rate, we're all familiar with the crushing blow that is finding out the internship you thought would turn into your dream job ends and that's just it, no job, nothing. In such trying times, we only have each other and our equally empty bank accounts.
3. Explain why engaging in Netflix and chill isn't the same as going to a movie in a theater with other human beings (and hot butter) around.
Just because every movie ever made is available on some sort of streaming site doesn't mean you can Netflix and chill your way through every single date. Sure, it's fun to stay in and be gross with each other (what else is the point of having a boyfriend at all) but social interaction with other human beings is how we remain sane, and going out in public is motivation to take a shower, so we've gotta leave the love nest at least sometimes.
4. Make sure his supply of pre-filtered, pre-edited photos of you never runs dry, because you don't want him to start using those super cute pics he took of you drooling on your pillow...
He obviously posts smoking hot and incredibly flattering pics of you every week, but just because he thinks you look cute in your I-just-woke-up-hi-good-morning selfie doesn't mean Instagram needs to see it/will also think you look cute. Some things are best kept private.
5. Train him in the art of Instagram photography, and download all the best editing apps onto his phone.
It's adorable and great that he likes sharing pictures of you guys on all his social media, but sometimes #NoFilter is just a #no and should not be uploaded anywhere ever at all. Coach him in the ways of tasteful VSCO editing, and soon enough, your feeds will be just as compatible as the two of you.
6. Appreciate all the really great memes he sends that remind him of you—OMG, YES, babe, that cat with its head in the toilet is just like me!
Memes are art, and God bless them all, honestly. If you can't count on bae to share endless relatable content that makes you laugh out loud at your desk every couple of hours, who can you count on?
7. Reassure him that he doesn't have a dad bod because he just read all those blog posts and is super worried he's accidentally being the patriarchy by not doing enough crunches.
So your boyfriend found all the dad bod blogs, and because he's a very good male feminist who doesn't want to further the evil agenda of the oppressive patriarchy, he's become really concerned that he has a dad bod and you look super hot and is it his fault? He's great! You love him exactly as he is.
8. Make sure he isn't storing all your raunchy nudes on his phone because who knows when this whole thing is going down in flames and he'll feel inclined to start sharing your nipples with his dumb friends (or the whole Internet).
Sext away, do all the sexting you can and want, but maybe have a policy about how long those sexts can remain on each other's phones. The stakes are high.
9. Explain why responding to your thoughtful and poetic texts with things like "k" and "cool" is actually rude AF and is basically a breakup text.
He doesn't need to type back novels or send texts laced with a million emojis, but, like, maybe take a second to send a nice reply? Why are boys so bad at texting? We all grew up with the same technology. There is no excuse for this behavior!
10. Let him pick the next TV show you're going to co-marathon on Netflix or whatever, because he almost always lets you pick.
Isn't it cute how he can quote Sex and the City with almost as much accuracy as you? He's an actual hero for this. But maybe instead of launching into season one immediately after the finale—as is often very tempting to do—let him pick the next series. Relationships are about compromise. Think of it as practice for picking your future china patterns or naming your future children. A couple who can peacefully make it through years of Netflix and chilling together stays together.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.