There are plenty of relationship milestones that couples tend to remember: the first kiss, the first date, the first time you met your partner’s parents. But there are plenty of things that only guys file away, for better or for worse. It’s not that they don’t also keep track of that first kiss, it’s just that these are milestones that are way more important to them. And keep in mind that "adorable" is a very, very, very relative term.
1. The first time he hung out with your parents and it wasn’t weird.
It’s not impossible to achieve a real, deep sense of comfortable familiarity the very first time he meets your parents. But it’s a relationship unicorn. All too often, those “meeting the parents” moments are full of awkward small talk, too much or too little eye contact, and sweaty palms. In fact, it’s likely that the first several meetings are fairly tense (or at least they feel that way in his head). But the first time he really feels comfortable around your family is a major milestone for him. He doesn’t even have to feel like family. He just has to know that he can let his guard down a bit.
2. The first time he texted you without worrying about B.S. rules or mind games.
This one comes fairly early on in the relationship but it’s a pretty big deal. All too often, people get in their own heads about "relationship advice" and treat those rules as ironbound law. They sweat over how long to wait for a text. Or they wonder if you’re somehow playing your own mind game and following your own rules that they have to parse out. Early relationships can be fraught with these weird, dramatic text conversations. But the first time he realizes you’re into him enough that all of that is bullshit anyway is a huge relief for him. Frankly, that stuff was always bullshit, but at least now he doesn’t even feel obligated to factor any of that in.
3. The first time he pooped at your place.
All right, this might not feel “adorable” for you at face value, and that’s more than fair. But this is less about the bowel movement that forever changed your plumbing and more about the vulnerability. In the early days of your courtship, he’s going to avoid using your bathroom for anything that would make you look at him differently. By the time he does use your bathroom it’s either because he is confident enough in your relationship that he’s over this stupid fear or he has food poisoning.
4. The first time you had sex.
For obvious reasons, he’s going to remember this one for a very long time. And I know, I know, women clearly remember this "first" too. But he remembers it in a very different way, if you catch my drift. When he’s in the hospital dying years from now, and he’s slowly losing his grip on reality, he’ll still be holding on to this memory. He won’t remember his grandchildren but he’ll remember this.
5. The first time you didn’t have sex after you started having sex.
This is equally as important. In the early stages of a relationship, things tend to be pretty physical. If you’re together, you’ve either just had sex, are actively having sex, or you’re about to have sex. Even if you’re waiting, there’s probably lots of making out. But the first time you have a date that doesn’t end in you all over each other is a big deal. Sometimes it’s tough to get a bearing on the relationship beyond the physical aspect. Once this happens for the first time and he realizes he kind of doesn't mind, it really cements the fact that he’s into you and not just hooking up on the regular.
6. The first time he really missed you.
There’s a difference wishing you were around and deeply missing you. He might wish you were around more often even after one date. But the first time he’s legitimately deeply upset when he has to go a week (or more) without seeing you is the first time he realizes just how much you mean to him.
7. The first time he understood the garbled mess of emojis you sent him.
It could take him years to get to this milestone. Maybe he’s still trying to decipher those messages.
8. The first time he wasn’t worried about trying to impress you on the date.
First, second, and even third dates can involve a lot of posturing. He wants to leave a good impression (and you probably do too). He’s busting out the good clothes. He’s sticking to topics of conversation that make him look good and doing his best not to embarrass himself. Those early dates can be high tension. But when he realizes he can actually relax in front of you and let his guard down, that’s huge. It’s not that he wasn’t being himself before. It’s just that he was being himself and also freaking out internally the whole time.
9. The first time he really sees a future with you.
If he likes you enough to go on more than one date with you, then of course he sees something there. But the first time the idea of a future really falls naturally into place for him is an “oh shit” moment he won’t ever forget. Maybe it’s during a particularly deep conversation or while you’re just cuddling up on the couch. It could be something you say or a look you give him. But the first time he sees your future together as not a vague idea, but as a fully formed and detailed concept, really changes things for him.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.