Transition from dating to serious relationship
Can you support me in the way I need to be supported while I struggle with the loss of my grandmother or the loss of my job?Can you understand how sensitive I am to being micromanaged and back off, rather than arguing with me that I’m being too sensitive?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.This is where commit-a-phobia sets in: One partner wants to move forward, the other may say slow down, give me more time.The pink clouds of the first stage are fading; reality is rearing its head.But with this is also a relaxing of that walking-on-eggshells behavior.Chris and Kara are more open about what bothers them, especially if they are living together and can’t use distance to water down their irritations.
Physical distance keeps the potential emotional conflict at bay: You bite your tongue and by the time the next weekend rolls around your irritation has receded.
This is big stuff, the real test of the relationship.
Are we on the same page about our visions and priorities?
And if you have been biting your tongue and fearful of rocking the boat, your challenge is to resist the temptation.
No, you don’t want to emotionally slap someone up the side of the head on the second date because he talked with his mouth full, but if this is truly one of your pet peeves, don’t hold off till three years after the wedding to bring it up.
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What this all translates to for couples is the natural experience that things are settling or a winding down.