In those months, we've gone from getting to know each other to my breaking it off to his confused feelings to let's see what happens to declaring ourselves lovers to both of us reacting to our fears to finally falling in love.
Whew. What a ride!
I can tell that we are moving into another phase of our relationship. The first phase was filled with fear and resisting the "falling in love" thing, while at the same time, both of us trying to fit into each others' lives. The sex was phenomenal in that fun, lusty way and our only focus was pleasing each other. Though we were being honest and keeping it real, there is a natural tendency, in the beginning to be as perfect as possible.
Now, we're not fearful anymore, we've fallen for each other and the sex is... well, the sex is fuckin' awesome and getting better all the time.
But we are now redirecting our focus back to our lives and our families. When we've been together lately, one of us will usually have our kids. We don't do PDA with the kids around. We're spending time doing family-oriented things now. We talk at more depth about ongoing issues with being a single parent, employee, somebody's ex, etc. We're noticing more things that we don't want to compromise on - little things like my wanting the toilet paper a certain way or his wanting to watch college football or golf on Saturdays.
We're getting back to a "new" normal: A normal life, as we each had before, but with another person added in.
I've found these relationship phases fascinating, mostly because I don't remember these during the courting/dating phase with my ex-husband. That was 20 years ago! I have a much different awareness now than I did then.
Even after my separation/divorce, it has been a while since I've experienced the normal phases of a relationship. (I can't say that anything about my last relationship was normal.)
I found a few articles - some quite funny - about relationship phases. This article in particular mentions 3 phases:
- The "There's Only You" Phase.
- The Me/Us Phase.
- The Companionship Phase.
We are exactly in the "Me/Us" phase.
I've noticed my analyzing how we're opposites and how I react to his life struggles. We've experienced an imperfect weekend together where neither of us were feeling well. We're both figuring out that the other person isn't perfect and both of us are, in effect, saying, "This is the real me."
It is during this phase that one or both of us could look at the other person and wonder, "Am I with the right person?"
Recently, I was worrying on whether or not I could actually "call it" if I felt my Gentleman wasn't the right person. What if I was just settling?
Our relationship is wonderful but that legitimate fear was there. According to my friends, I should have called off my last relationship WAY earlier than I did. Could I trust myself to know when I should end it?
That's when I finally realized that yes, I certainly could. I called the end of my marriage and I called the end of my last relationship. Only I know my breaking point and when it hits, I am able to pull from a deep inner strength to end things. Facing that fear gave me comfort. Now I can trust myself again. Now I can give my heart and know that I will be OK.
I am happy to be tuned into these phases. I am glad to know that each little struggle or change is perfectly healthy in creating a long term relationship. I am thankful that each time one of us has a fear or hurt, we're able to talk about it. That trust and honesty keeps us close.
For now, we'll keep loving and growing.
Maxim Magazine did their own hilarious version of the 5 Stages of Most Relationships. As someone who was married for 13 years and now divorced, I had to laugh at these. Too funny not to share: