19 February 2009

What happened to the courtship stage?

As I mentioned in my "Hola!" post, I am in love with love. Who woulnd't be??! According to many, I'm the victim of falling fast and hard for the "not so good" guys, which always seems to end in heartbreak and a substantial loss of self-confidence. About 8 months ago, my almost 4-year relationship ended, and I was devastated. Now, I realize that it was the best thing for me. I've grown, realized my own strengths and weaknesses, and have started to become my own woman again (although I do admit, I still have much room for personal growth—but don’t we all?).

Recently I started "dating" an incredible guy. After coming out of what many would call (actually, what everyone would call) "a very unhealthy 4-year relationship,” this scares me. Trust, communication, patience, honesty, opening up and letting someone new into your life. And then comes the “what are we” issue.

Many of my close friends are jumping into extremely serious relationships and drowning themselves in them. Now, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a serious relationship, but a connection takes time to build. I’m hearing from a few, the what I like to call “relationship timeline.” The “you’ve been talking/seeing each other for 3 weeks now, so your totally bf/gf.” I’m not going to lie to you, I did ask this new interest what he thought would be appropriate to tell people we were, if the question ever arises. And we had a deep conversation about it.

I’m learning that there is no timeline for personal relationships—it’s all person dependent. Relationships come naturally, if you let them. Rushing into a commitment can work for some people, but in most cases it does not work out in the long run. It can be very detrimental. I think when couples rush into a relationship, they stay in the infatuation stage for a while, and when that is over, what else do they have? Yes, there’s still the sexual attraction (but there always is anyway). But what about the little things? What about the deep, undying connection that we as humans seek to form?

As women, we tend to overanalyze situations. And sometimes I can be the queen of overanalyzing. The “he doesn’t want to see me tonight, therefore he must not be interested.” I’m learning that if he wants to spend most of his time with you….he’s interested. If he shoots you a random text or call just to say hi….he’s interested. Maybe our overanalyzing tendencies are why we want to rush into the “bf/gf” status? Why though? If he tells you he’s into you and doesn’t want to talk to other girls or see other girls….please try to trust him, b/c he’s most likely interested ladies.

The words "boyfriend" and “girlfriend” hold a lot of weight to them. It implies exclusivity, dedication, commitment, patience, honesty, and trust (as well as an incredible amount of everything else that comes along with it!). All of which are scary things to everyone, especially to someone who has not had many relationships or has spent most of their relationship history in damaging relationships.

With all that said, as I mentioned, I did just have the “what are we” talk. And we decided to say “we’re dating.” But we are both a tad bit old fashioned, and would like to call it “in the midst of courtship.” Right now we are enjoying spending a lot of time together, getting to know eachother, learning eachothers quirks and personalities. Why put stress on that? This has been an amazing 3 weeks or month or whatever it's been (remember, there’s no timeline to relationships!). And when we hit the next “what are we” roadblock, we’ll address it. But for now, I’m completely ok with our “courtship process.”

So my advice to anyone in the same boat as me: Breathe. Don’t fall for the “not so good guys.” Don’t drown yourself. Be a little old fashioned. Enjoy the “courtship process.” I’m learning it can be quite enjoyable, spectacular, fun, and everything amazing (oh, and that you can find a rather phenomenal dude in the process).

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