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You Swoon, You Sigh: The 10 Stages of Shipping

The jitters descended upon me last weekend while binge-watching Bates Motel—that prequel series to Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Oh, because that’s the poster show for murder and hallucinatory angst, you ask?

Strangely, no. It was the beautifully budding romantic tension between White Pine Bay’s own Norma Bates and Sheriff Alex Romero that made me devolve into a puddle of wine and feelings for 12 hours straight. (Sadly, no hyperbole here. My BFF tried to pry me away from Netflix, to no avail.)

Boarding ship for a fictional couple—whether they exist between the pages or on screen—hits out of nowhere, even in the least saccharine genres. No one’s safe from it. Like love itself, you might not realize it’s happening until you’re curled up in a ball long after you close the book or flip off the TV, listening to cathartic ballads on Spotify in the dark—while hoping your fictional pair has what it takes to go the distance. (Is this post making me sound like a loser yet?)

For those unsure (or cough, cough, in denial) if they’ve jumped ship, here are ten common stages of falling hard for a couple:

1. There’s that moment you first realize the characters have chemistry, and you have to reread/rewatch the scene just to make sure.

jess rory ship gif

2. You focus only on these characters during group scenes, because let’s be honest, they’re your main concern.

ron hermione ship gif

3. Your heart leaps when they fight because you know it’s out of love.

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4. You analyze every physical interaction to death.

katniss peeta ship gif

5. You Google the characters’ names plus “will they get together?” and comb through the results.

poussey soso ship gif

6. You get lost in a dark web of fan-made YouTube videos that play their scenes on repeat (set against Top-40 slow jams).

kate sawyer ship gif

7. You start to resent the book/show/movie for dragging its feet on their first inevitable kiss.

harry sally ship gif

8. You curse every time they almost kiss, but don’t.

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9. You release a strangled cry when they finally do.

norma alex ship gif

10. You have an existential crisis once you reach the last page/episode, because, wait, where are they going?!

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So whether you’re on the cusp of falling or recovering from your last ship, Swooners, you have my sympathies. Now comes the obvious question: Who’s your fave couple to ship?

Author spotlight

Kelsey M.

Publicist for Swoon Reads. LA native. Not ashamed to know all things Kardashian.

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