While our culture remains as the biggest barrier against the normal development of relationships, having the knowledge that it takes to live happily ever after is mandatory. Think about it, it's not like we're dating various people left and right and having the chance to explore, gain some experience and get to know our standards better. Actually, it's more of an acting out, I'm dating because it's forbidden and thus I'm breaking my confining rules! And if it's any consolation, instead we either bump into people by chance; meet them through arranged gatherings or the worst salvation of all, the internet. So, I chose my first article to start midway, just like our culture, by setting our commitment terms straight and then what happens next is that after talking those terms over with our potential partners, we turn around and start from stage 1:
1. The "I like what I see and hear" phase:
Before we get into that, let's set something straight first. The whole process of having a life-partner comes in two portions, there's the love part and the relationship side. Now they may not differ in their purposes, yet they vary dramatically in their speed of progress. You can say that love controls the mind while relationship controls the rationality of the situation. Thus on love terms, when meeting someone you like, you are attracted to that person on two levels, physically and emotionally. Physical attraction has much to do with the animalistic desires generated by estrogen/ testosterone hormones which indicate that you wouldn't mind getting intimate, on the physical level, with that person. Of course lusting is something entirely different from liking or falling for that someone. However, it's not uncommon for love to start with lust, where you like what you see and would like it even better if you can connect on all other levels. What happens next, if your lust isn't just temporary, is that this person becomes your object of interest. With sleepless nights tossing and turning thinking about him/her, the euphoric rush you get each time you cross paths, the infamous racing heart beats whenever you hear their names and the obsession that never subsides regardless how many times you convince yourself that you're not turning into a stalker! All of these signs mean one thing; you're emotionally attracted to that person.
Still if you wish for this relationship to be heartache free, you must know that in this stage, you abide to see your crush's flaws. You know how they say love is blind? This is perfectly true for the attraction phase. So don't rush into judgments regarding how angelic this person seems for you won't have the rational ability to think straight. Take your time getting to know him/her, but be careful not to share your secrets or private details of your life as you don't really know them all that well. Keep it candy sweet, casual, fun and talk a lot so you can decide whether if that person has the necessary potential or not.
2. The "what if there's someone better for me out there" phase:
So you've talked, shared some fun times and pretty interesting phone calls that's keeping you hooked. Now, you're scared that this is getting serious and by serious I mean sooner or later you may need to take a life changing decision, to commit or not to commit?! And I'm all with you; it's dead scary, especially for those who take relationships seriously and not just another careless attempt at love. But the problem happens when you consider this hesitation as a sign that this isn't the right person for you. Because as uncertainty happens people get divided into two segments, those who consider it as an honest insight to bad luck, while others view it as a minor turmoil they shouldn't pay attention to. And it's true, you should never pay attention to such feelings especially when everything is going fine, the person has what it takes and you certainly feel that attraction getting stronger. Hesitation comes as nothing but an expected bump along relationships. It has nothing to do with love, as long as your feelings are not moving backwards, it has more to do with the rational thinking serious relationships require.
If you feel a wave of hesitation hitting your potential special someone, don't panic, just react in a more understanding calm manner. For example, men tend to retreat for a while, after coming all too strong, they decide to cool off and pull back. When he does that, give him all the time he needs to decide and assure himself that you're Mrs. Right. Don't ruin it by chasing him and asking questions, instead leave him be and if he comes back all strong and loving, then know that he's now sure of his feelings towards you. Women, on the other hand, when hesitant expect reassurance and more care from the man's side. What he does wrong is that he expects she's just like him needs her space and so she ends up feeling unwanted. So, the bottom line is, give him space to interpret his feelings whereas give her more love to feel reassured.
3. The "I want no one but you" phase:
Now that the relationship is heading somewhere more serious and more committed, it's highly unlikely for partners to still have second thoughts, unless something alarming has come up which of course would put your progress as a couple on hold or in worst case scenarios end it!
So, let's assume that everything is moving on just perfectly, what are the things you should expect in this phase and how to handle the hassles?!
Normally, this would've been the ideal timing for you to set your standards straight with your partner. As you've thought things through and decided that you want no one but him/her which means you want exclusivity. Thus now is the time for some serious talking aside romantic moments. You should discuss your finances, future plans and your career. But no baby talk just yet; remember you're only exclusive not engaged! But because our lovely society doesn't usually allow us to go through regular relationship phases, we tend to discuss those important issues before hand to avoid another relationship stain.
Another thing that you might notice is how passion has remarkably faded. Yes you're still in love, yes, you still find each other interesting and yes, you want to be together forever. However, it's not breathtaking anymore, there're much less surprises, probably only on national holidays and events. Things just feel more normal and plain now. That's because you've settled down early, you assume that your partner is yours now; you've got your catch and why bother shedding another breath when you can relax and enjoy the company. Wrong! Take it as a rule of thumb, never stop trying to impress, never stop trying to surprise and never let things boil down to boredom. Because people aren't that easy to be tied down or taken for granted, trust me they'll just leave. Although, this phase of subsided passion is a given because of two hormones our own bodies release, Vasopressin and endorphins which promote a sense of security, well-being and peace during long-term relationships. Yet, the heart would want what it always wanted, continually invigorated passion…
To be continued,