Stage One: Find Man, Stage Two: Live Happily Ever After

As a woman who is constantly thinking about her future and planning ahead, some people are surprised when I tell them that stories and moments from my past tend to replay themselves over and over again in my mind. For example, the other day, I started to think about what the topic of this blog post would be, and then proceeded to strike up a one hour conversation with myself, replaying my relationships from the past ten years and remembering what went wrong. Looking back, it’s weird to say, but I’m happy that I’ve aged. I enjoy remembering the good times of the last decade, but I definitely wouldn’t want to live them out again.

However, I can’t help but think about the relationship that I have with my boyfriend Matt and how it’s evolved. Matt and I met ten years ago, and were good friends for two years before we started dating. We broke up after our first three years together, and then reconciled after 18 months. We’ve been back together for over three years, and I’ve noticed a lot of changes over the course of our time together. Thus, prompting me to write about the different stages of a relationship. What you had, what you wanted, what you might miss, what you have now, and what you hope is in store for the future. Take the journey with me!

  1. The strong, emotional bond of young love: Depending on your age, this stage can be a bit different for everyone, however, there is one, common denominator: passion. This can be physical, emotional, you name it. I remember when we first started dating, we would be together all day, then go to our separate homes, and call each other three hours later. Looking back, I wonder, what the hell was there to talk about? We had just spent 8 plus hours together? Then, I remembered, we were just beginning to figure each other out, digging deeper into one another’s likes, dislikes, etc. There was also a stronger, romantic, emotional connection. There were a lot of “I love you’s” exchanged, talk of how wonderful the other person was, planning the future together, etc. To me, the best way to describe it was being in a Disney princess movie. You’re Ariel, he’s Prince Eric. He’s ready to hurdle himself into the ocean for you, and your mind is clouded with thoughts of the other person. You never want to let go of their warm embrace, and then some.
  2. The Intellectual Stage: Next, comes the intellectual, deeper meaning stage. You’ve already figured each other out (for the most part), so there’s not a lot left to talk about on that front. So, you start discussing ideas, world news, politics, the hard stuff. It’s your time to really gage what the other person believes in, and if you can see your relationship going all the way. You’ve come to realize that looks won’t last for forever, so, you have to see if the conversation will. This is also the time when you figure out how the other person responds to shit that life throws their way. Do they come up with solutions? Do they get mad?
  3. The Mature/Grown Up Phase: Shit. Gets. Serious. You start talking about living together, and you essentially are working towards compromising all of your assets. Sometimes, this phase can make or break couples. Unfortunately, you have to put on your big girl/boy pants and deal with real life problems. Will we have enough to feed ourselves this month if we buy that new television? Finances are never a fun thing to talk about. But, it’s important to try and keep the mood light and realize this person is your best friend. You should be able to bring open and honest communication to the table. And, when all else fails, laugh.

Through all of these stages, I have learned that as people grow older and change, so do relationships. The two biggest issues with couples are expectations and communication. For example, say that during the beginning of your relationship, your significant other called you every night before bed just to say, “I love you.” But, now that you’re living together, your partner doesn’t even say, “I love you” before bed at all. You miss this, and start to wonder why he/she doesn’t do it anymore. Every night you go to bed, wishing the other person a “goodnight,” and hoping, silently expecting them to say, “I love you.” I mean, it would be nice to throw in there every once in awhile. But, it never happens. Months go by; you sit at night with this silent frustration. You may even start becoming passive aggressive, etc.

Some people hold on to that anger, and over time, little things that have changed start to piss you off. As you grow together, you may take out your frustrations on the other person instead of simply stating, “why don’t you tell me you love me before bed every night?” Your relationship becomes the question, “Why don’t you?” You forget about all of the things that he/she does for you, and you only focus on what’s slipped through the cracks.

Some of you might be like me. You might be too nervous to bring up your questions or concerns. If you’re like me, you always feel that people have enough on their minds, and you really need to pick and choose your battles. Sometimes, when I get frustrated, I ask myself, Am I going to turn this into one of those battles? I’m trying so hard to “let it go” that I’m sacrificing my opinion.

I’ve made a promise to myself over the past few weeks to start becoming more honest with Matt. If I’m upset about something, it’s time to raise my voice. If I wonder why he hasn’t done something, it’s time for me to say, “you used to do xyz for me. I miss that. I would really appreciate it if every once in awhile, we could make xyz a thing again.” It’s doesn’t pay to get mad at the other person for not meeting your “silent expectations.” If you want something, ask politely, and go after it. Men and women cannot read each other’s minds. It’s hard enough to figure out the language of the opposite sex as it is, and now we have to silently figure it out? I don’t think so.

If none of what I’ve said has made sense, or you think you’ve just wasted your precious time reading this article, I’m going to sum it up right here. “If you never ask for doggy style, all you’ll get is missionary.”

Granny Smith – over and out

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21 thoughts on “Stage One: Find Man, Stage Two: Live Happily Ever After

  1. *laughs* the last line tickled me silly! But seriously, I enjoyed this article. I think it could really benefit a lot of young people still in that young love phase. Going to reblog this! Thanks, you didn’t waste my time!

  2. Reblogged this on The Rattling Bones and commented:
    Great tips on Relationships, how they grow over time and how to keep things moving along.

    Please comment on Granny Smith’s blog. Comments here are closed.

  3. Communicating is essential in any and every kind of relationship! Lover, friend, business partner, doctor, etc. It is good that you recognize that you need to ask for what you want. People aren’t mind readers! I am forever reminding my hubby that I am psychotic, not psychic… so he has to SAY what is on his mind lol. We have been together almost 14 years, so I guess we are doing something right…?

  4. haha, nice one! And why stop there? 😉

    I’ve found that most of the times I felt slighted, neglected, etc., it wasn’t because I wasn’t important to the other person. They just had something else going on at the moment. I was very important, just not all-important (as I finally realized is what my need for validation and attention actually implied.) I also found that some of it was actually an avoidance reaction on their parts prompted by my own clingy need for attention. People feel it when we need them to be our attention vending machines. No one likes that role. It sours everything, even the attention they do try to give us. And when you think about it, it’s pretty hypocritical to expect them to show me attention by objectifying them as my personal cache devoted solely to vending appreciation for moi. We so vain. 😉

  5. You are right, ” If you want it from the back, you must be up front”. Though I believe most people can relate to your stages. I prefer to speak about faith first. If we don’t share the same faith, hell will follow. So, that narrows it down for me. Early in thr process, I will ask the person how they are with finances, what habits they won’t compromise and which they will; I want to discuss deep topics from the gate. Like what’s Love, how would you want to raise children, where you planning on living, are you clean or dirty, what’s your take on communication. Then the stage of passion ensues….but I am still narrowing down my prospects with this method. So far, it has brought me great women. We just wasn’t always growing in the same directions.

    I will leave you with this….not communicating is a form of cheating. So, yes, start opening your mouth….

    • Amazing advice! But, it also depends on what stage of life you’re in. If you’re over 50 and twice divorced, you’re going to want to get right to those hard hitting questions…typically. 🙂

      • At 20, i got to those hard hitting questions right away. I am a romantic and that means monogamy, honest commitment, and honoring my Love….so that mean finding a serious partner. So I will go hard, hard questions it is….

  6. Great observation on relationships. They do evolve and they do change. I’ve been married for 40 years and the maturity of that kind of relationship really gets sweeter over the years. Sure we still fight over the same things and she has habits that totally annoy me and I’m sure my bad ones are even worse, but we learn to look past that and look at the prize. We’ve nurtured a relationship that has raised 3 kids, survived terrible things and celebrated amazing ones. All though it we’ve cultivated a life together that is something to cherish. Thanks for getting me thinking about this. Great post!

  7. Ohhhh yes, I know that last stage all too well. I’ve found also that if there is an age discrepancy, the older party goes through the stages a lot faster. They’ve been through it all and know what’s coming. There are no surprises really. Whereas the younger party languishes and enjoyed it all, blissfully unaware of how tricky things are likely to become.

    Can you tell I’m figuring this out and haven’t always done the best job? Is it obvious? It feels obvious. 😀

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