Steps to dating
Here is where partners begin to see patterns – that that crazy drunken night and intense argument wasn't a one-time event after all, or that your partner’s wanting to spend 6 days with her family at Christmas is part of a bigger pattern of pulling in relatives anytime she has more than 2 days off from work.With all this can come the triggering of each’s emotional wounds.Here Kara loses her job or Sam's grandmother dies and he is devastated, or Chris has a medical crisis.The couple is challenged to respond as a unit – to be supportive about the job, to come or not to the funeral, to face the medical issues together -- all a testing of the strength of the relationship and each partner's ability to deal with crises and anxiety.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.What this all translates into for couples is the natural experience that things are settling or a winding down.Routines set in, the hot chemistry is okay, but less hot.
Here is where couples can begin to argue about who is more hurt, who is too sensitive, arguments that can seem endless or destructive. Often by this time in the relationship real-life experiences become part of the mix and challenge.
The emotional side is finding that you have a lot in common, that your views of the world are the same, that you share a sense of humor or like the same music.
Running along this is finding in each other what you most need – someone who listens or someone who seems decisive; someone who is gentle or someone who is strong and confident. One obvious danger or downside is that you never get beyond one or two dates.
And the physical chemistry is about…well, literally chemistry, in this case oxytocin that fuels the sexual attraction and attractiveness, the obsessing about the other, the feelings of falling in love. You find you have a lot in common but her personality reminds you too much of your ex.
Or you have a lot in common but there is no sexual attraction; you try to shift the relationship to friend status.
The challenge is being honest with yourself, taking the time to reflect and sort through your true feelings, not compromising or watering down your life.