What a year for love. From a royal wedding to arguments about what the #MeToo movement means for dating to the revival of the romantic comedy, a lot has happened in the world of relationships.
Here are 10 things we learned from others' love lives in 2018.
1. Consent should be clear-cut. But people are still confused.
In January, Babe.net published an anonymously sourced account of a young woman's first date with comedian, which she says wasn't consensual, but he thought it was. Before that, Ansari was considered a millennial dating guru. His comedy specials, his book "Modern Romance" and his Netflix show "Master of None" all explore the frustrations of trying to find love in the swipe era. In those works, many singles saw their foibles, joys and struggles reflected on screen.
After Babe.net's story published, debate roared about whether the #MeToo movement had gone too far. While there were many men accused of sexual misconduct this year, the allegations against Ansari stood out for being in a dating, rather than work, context. And they highlighted nonverbal cues as being key in determining consent.
Men told me that they felt confused and unsure about where the line is when getting physical with someone. While opinions on Ansari are still split, one thing's for certain: Couples are talking more about what they are or aren't doing together. And young people are having less sex than ever before, the Atlantic reported this month.
2. Dating has become more political
While discussing politics with a potential mate used to be considered taboo or unsexy, "now it's almost uncool to talk about unpolitical things," says Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, at Tufts University. When singles started taking their get-out-the-vote efforts to Tinder, it became even more clear that daters are looking for matches who share their views.
Dating apps such as OkCupid saw huge increases in users including political terms in their profiles. Similarly, the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed daters to have difficult conversations about assault and consent as early as a first date.
3. Friends setting up friends can actually work
Sure, sometimes when your friends try to set you up, it can be annoying or come off as meddling. But it worked for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Shortly after the couple's engagement, in January it came out that Prince Harry's childhood friend Violet von Westenholz had set them up.
Before being introduced, Prince Harry hadn't even seen Markle on the legal drama "Suits." And she didn't have a particular fascination with the royal family. Kudos to Von Westenholz for her excellent instinct. She emboldened wannabe matchmakers everywhere.
4. That first meeting isn't everything
Love doesn't need to be instant to last. This year, several tales of slow-blooming love came to the forefront. Bachelor Nation's Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon took three years to go from unrequited crush to best friends to getting engaged.
Similarly, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith discussed how it took them a while to become a couple. On "Red Table Talk," Jada's popular Facebook Watch show, the couple revealed that the night Will Smith went to a taping of "A Different World," ostensibly to meet Jada, he ended up meeting someone else instead - Sheree Zampino, whom he went on to date and marry.
Years later, when it was clear his marriage to Zampino was unravelling, Will called Jada and didn't ask her out, instead simply telling her that they would be together now. She picked up and moved from Baltimore to Los Angeles to start a relationship.
5. Forcing a meet-cute narrative on strangers is creepy, not sweet
Remember the #PlaneBae story that captivated social media for a few days? In July, Rosey Blair, an actor, writer and photographer, asked a woman to switch seats with her on a flight from New York to Dallas and then aggressively documented the woman's conversation with the hunk sitting next to her.
Over the course of the flight, Blair spun up a story of romance and intrigue, which at first many thought was adorable. Until the tide of social media opinion quickly turned, branding Blair as invasive and coercive.
Blair eventually apologised for "utilising what could have been a beautiful, charming moment among strangers as a tool to communicate a narrative I am fond of." Coincidentally, in other romance "narrative" news, it turned out ...
6. The romantic comedy is not dead after all
From Netflix releasing a stream of rom-coms to "Crazy Rich Asians" being a smash hit on the big screen, this was the year it became clear that the movie genre isn't as moribund as critics had previously declared. Instead, the rom-com is getting an update - the characters in these movies are more ethnically and sexually diverse, the plot lines are more politically correct - and viewers are responding by watching and rewatching.
7. Getting engaged after a couple of months is risky
So many lightning-fast engagements this year! Remember when fans were cheering on singer Ariana Grande and comedian Pete Davidson, who got engaged after a whirlwind romance? They didn't last, but we all got a beautiful souvenir in the form of Grande's catchy breakup anthem "Thank u, next."
"Bachelor" Arie Luyendyk Jr. also second-guessed his quick engagement to Becca Kufrin, ultimately breaking her heart on television and going back to his runner-up, Lauren Burnham.
That couple is expecting their first child in 2019. Thankfully there's at least one celebrity couple we can believe in: actors Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, who started dating in 2017 and tied the knot this month.
8. Janelle Monae taught many people a new word: Pansexual
This was a big year for Janelle Monae. Her album-plus-film "Dirty Computer" was nominated for a Grammy for album of the year. Glamour honoured her as one of its women of the year. And she introduced a wider audience to a sexual orientation many were learning of for the first time: pansexuality.
As gender is becoming recognised as more fluid, sexuality is following similar patterns. For some, the term bisexual feels too binary, and so "pansexual" is a label to express attraction to those of all gender identities: male, female, gender-fluid, trans, androgynous, intersex and more.
Monae had previously identified as bisexual, and in an interview with Rolling Stone she clarified by noting that she's pansexual. GLAAD puts pansexuality under the bisexual umbrella, defining the term as "anyone attracted to people of all genders or sexes, or regardless of sex or gender." (Some people do use the labels bisexual and pansexual interchangeably, Kate Estrop, president of the Bisexual Resource Center's board of directors, told me.)
9. Don't interrupt your partner's big accomplishment to propose
Public proposals are fraught. They can be seen as cute or manipulative. But when a man infamously interrupted his girlfriend who was running her first marathon, it was just annoying. It served as a reminder to couples everywhere: When your partner is achieving her dreams, your role is to cheer her on - not interrupt her and make her moment all about you.
10. And don't publicly pressure her to take you back
Another celebrity couple attracting attention for their tumultuous relationship is rappers Cardi B and Offset. This month, on the same day that Cardi B revealed pictures of her baby Kulture, she announced that she and Offset had split. He may have cheated on her - and then tried to win her back by interrupting her set at a music festival to apologise.
Much like that marathon proposal, some fans found it romantic and others were outraged. They did reunite in Puerto Rico recently, but she says they're not getting back together.