Laura Donovan
December 06, 2013 11:00 am

I caved.

I bought a few things from OpenSky and went to Target on Cyber Monday (but not Black Friday, because I don’t want to get trampled) to get holiday shopping out of the way, and after glancing at the horrifically violent Legos in the kids’ aisle, I decided to wait on purchasing gifts for my nephews and headed for the greeting cards section. Not only do three family members have birthdays in December, but my new flame and I are celebrating our two month anniversary, so I thought I’d grab him a nice note to accompany the pre-Christmas present I’d picked out.

The problem was, there weren’t very many anniversary cards for non-married newbie couples. Everything was categorized under “Anniversary for the wife,” “Anniversary for the husband,” “Anniversary for the parents,” “Happy 20-year wedding anniversary,” etc. I finally found a lighthearted, cute card that could apply to folks who are dating, but it was the only one there and I had to steal an envelope from another greeting card.

It makes senses that there are more cards for people who actually tied the knot and aren’t just calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend, but I started thinking about anniversary celebrations in general and realized they can create a lot of stress or annoyance, depending on the situation.

At my best college friend’s wedding, a groomsman joked that the bride and groom were very good at honoring “month-aversaries” in Facebook status updates. They’d recognize the anniversary of their first date, first kiss, first “I love you” declaration, engagement, etc., all of which are special but hard to remember for those outside the relationship. It’s tough to keep up with all of that even if you’re in it, but it does help maintain some sort of fire and excitement, and when work and life pressures build up, it’s nice to have something sweet to celebrate every month. It could very well cheapen the small milestones too, so I’d say selectively choosing which ones are significant is a good habit to have.

The last time I cared about anniversaries was when I had my first boyfriend in high school. I’d quietly applaud every week that passed by, but the two of us publicly celebrated our dating anniversary each month. Our six month anniversary fell on my 17th birthday, and he was out of town for a family trip during that week, so it was around this time that I stopped putting so much emphasis on anniversaries. In teenage fashion, I cried about the “unfairness” of the circumstances and complained to my somewhat sympathetic parents, but I also started to understand that my little ritual was exhausting and not worth getting upset at my boyfriend about. Sure he couldn’t be around for our “big” anniversary or my birthday, but he was there the rest of the time, and that counted more than anything else.

To me, it’s better to live in the moment and organically experience a relationship than continuously focus on the progress you’ve made or amount of days, months, and years you’ve been together. I’m thrilled about the 2-month anniversary because I like seeing how far we’ve come — both as people and as a couple — since I got to LA and we began hanging out, but that doesn’t mean I’ll shower him with sentiment and giddiness on the fifth of every month. Maybe I’m doing that now because this is still technically the “honeymoon phase,” but if I’m lucky, that will never fizzle anyway.

Do you celebrate anniversaries, “month-aversaries,” or little milestones? Tell me your stories in the comments section!

Featured image via ShutterStock

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