Monday, October 01, 2018

When Did This Happen?

My kid is in a relationship, and I've been giving advice, sort of. Like, here's how relationships work, here's what you should do, here's what to expect.

This has made me think about how relationships work. Here's my list of the stages of relationships.

(1) You meet your prospective sweetie. At this stage, there is chatting and observation. We are feeling each other out. We are looking for information -- is this person decent? Do they have a bad temper? Do they like the sorts of things I like?

(2) You start doing things together -- eating meals together, going to movies and bookstores, taking hikes or whatever else you like to do. These are still "date-like" activities. They have definite boundaries, is what I'm saying.

(3) You begin hanging out for indefinite periods -- like all afternoon, or all day Saturday. You meet for lunch and then just keep hanging out together.

(4) You go grocery shopping together. You do laundry together. (These are BIG STEPS.)

(5) You spend entire weekends together -- either you stay at their place, or they stay at yours. Sex might start happening at this point, or maybe it was earlier, or maybe it's later. (Sex is important, but I don't think it's a major stage.)

(6) You move in together.

(7) You have a major fight, and figure out that your relationship can survive major fights. (This might happen before you move in together.)

(8) You meet one another's families. You figure out that you can stand their family, and they can stand yours. (It's better if you actively like one another's families, but meh, let's not count on this one.)

(9) You learn that you can put up with your sweetie's terrible habits. Like maybe they always leave their socks on the floor, instead of putting them in the laundry basket. Or maybe they never put away the milk. Or maybe they expect you to make all the medical appointments for both of you. Or maybe they expect you to kill the bugs that show up in the bathroom at midnight. In a perfect partner, you admit, these things could be changed. But in a real relationship, we cut each other slack.

Optional steps:

(10) You start talking about marriage, if you're the marrying sort.

(11) You start talking about kids, if you're the sort who wants kids.

(12) You have fights about money, if you're not wealthy.

(13) You buy each other personal items, like underwear or sanitary products.

(14) You realize you've been in a relationship with this person for over a decade

(15) Or two decades

(16) or LONGER

(17) You're an adult in a relationship. What the hell.


LizardBreath said...

I realize that you didn't mean the order to be fixed, but I do like that in your offhanded listing of milestones, sex comes after doing laundry together.

Bardiac said...

This is GREAT! Except, I think maybe a little re-ordering.

Buying each other sanitary products and all should happen earlier, I think. Certainly by the time you're having sex.

And, assuming familial relationships are reasonably healthy, meeting families should happen earlier, especially if there's going to be blending of families from previous relationships.

But otherwise, so very yes!

nicoleandmaggie said...

People's relationships are all so different. The only advice I ever give is that people aren't mind-readers, even if sometimes it seems like they are.

delagar said...

Lizardbreath: Hella yes!

Bardiac: Yes, having healthy family relationships probably changes things. :D

N&M: Good advice!