They immediately felt connected, the chemistry was hot, it was easy to see that he was a kind and considerate soul. She obsesses about him all day long, they text all through the day. Chris has been in a relationship with Kara for the past year. While the first 6 months were great, it seems lately that things are beginning to slide.
The sex life has taken a downturn, it feels like they talk past each other at times, her moodiness is irritating him more, and she is complaining about the weekends he sometimes needs to work for his job. Just as marriages move through stages, so too do dating relationships. By mapping out the stages you can know what to expect and anticipate the challenges ahead. Oxytocin or bust This is where Tasha is at. Affection is easy, sex, if you go there, is great.
Dangers One obvious danger or downside is that you never get beyond one or two dates. You find you have a lot in common but her personality reminds you too much of your ex.
But the bigger danger is that it does all click and both are so caught up in the greatness of it all that neither one wants to rock the boat and spoil the magic.
You bite your tongue and by the time the next weekend rolls around your irritation has receded. Challenges If the chemistry isn't there, there isn't much to do except perhaps give it one more try and see if something clicks. And if you have been biting your tongue and fearful of rocking the boat, your challenge is to resist the temptation.
The issue isn't about chewing and food, but about bringing honesty and realness into the relationship from the start so the person gets a true sense of who you really are and what is important to you.
Unsettled settling As Chris has noticed the landscape has changed. Sex is down, irritation is up. Routines set in, the hot chemistry is okay, but less hot. But with this is also a relaxing of that walking-on-eggshells behavior. Here is where what each person is particularly sensitive to — criticism, control, lack of appreciation, not getting enough attention — begins to stir: Chris starts to feel micromanaged, or Kara feels abandoned and is increasingly resentful of his working weekends.
Here is where couples can begin to argue about who is more hurt, who is too sensitive, arguments that can seem endless or destructive. But wait there's more -- literally more life.
Here Kara loses her job or Sam's grandmother dies and he is devastated, or Chris has a medical crisis. Finally, this is the time that the couple starts to have serious conversations about the future. Here they talk about priorities, whether to have kids or not or how many, whether to focus on careers or whether a job is just a job and they rather raise chickens as a hobby.
This is where commit-a-phobia sets in: One partner wants to move forward, the other may say slow down, give me more time. This is big stuff, the real test of the relationship. Are we on the same page about our visions and priorities? Can you support me in the way I need to be supported while I struggle with the loss of my grandmother or the loss of my job?
The bigger issue is whether we can productively have these conversations without rancor and tit-for-tat? Some couples will and some will find that they can't. Moving forward…or not You move through this emotional valley-of-darkness and come through the other side.
A bit rough at the edges, some lingering regrets or resentments perhaps, but the positives heavily replace the negatives. You both were honest, you both learned to be assertive and be compassionate, you both are able to understand the humanness of the other. Dangers You believe that your relationship has reached this point, but in reality you essentially skipped all of Stage 2.
The deeper and normal problems of Stage 2 don't evaporate, but linger, and like landmines, may explode unexpectedly later. Challenges This is the last chance to get everything on the table, to feel safe and secure and honest. Relationships change over time because people change over time.
In order to navigate the course, you need to fill in, not fall in, into the emotional potholes that come along the way. Change can be a challenge, but change is your life telling you that you've outgrown the old ways. And by being honest with yourself and your partner, you can both successfully move forward.