Wondering whether your partner is the right one for you? Figure out which stage you’re on, and you’re one step closer to your answer.
Stage 1: Courtship
You meet, sparks fly. Your talks revolve around things you like, as in compatibility in passions and interests. This is when you say “he’s a bookworm like me”, “he loves travelling”, “we might go on a trip together”, and “he’s into having kids”. Some people give up when they realize that they have nothing in common, while others don’t let these things get in the way of their chemistry.
Your conversations are skimming the surface of “relationship talk”, because you’re both wondering if this will last or not. The courtship stage will give you an idea what the other person is about. Most of the time, you see the positives and not the negatives during this stage.
Stage 2: Dating
Dating each other is the stage when you let “rules” into your relationship. Social and/or emotional rules that you’ve imposed on yourself and have been instilled in you since birth dictate which role you’re taking in the relationship. You may be the one calling the shots, or you may be the one waiting for the other to make the decisions. Sometimes, these roles reverse. Things become awkward when your personal rules clash with those of your partner.
When these rules are “broken” and the concept of “compromise” is introduced for the first time in your relationship, your decision to continue or stop will decide whether you’re meant to be together or not. You’ll have to make exceptions to your rules, and your partner has to, as well. You both should understand these exceptions that you’re creating for the sake of “adjusting” to each other.
It takes the first BIG fight to really make you think about whether or not you want to be with this person. Some couples survive this stage, some don’t.
Stage 3: Commitment
Your partner is now aware of your imperfections and your quirks. You hope he/she still loves you despite all those, but the fact that you’re still together means there’s something there. Now, you’re thinking in terms of years instead of months. You’re counting off the Christmas times and planning your future with each other in mind.
This is the stage when you’re at your most vulnerable. Ending the relationship at this point would hurt you more. However, the fact that the relationship progressed to the “commitment” level is telling of how much you’ve endured just to stay together.
Should you pursue marriage when you reach the committed level of your relationship? Some people would say yes. There’s a chance that your relationship may cycle back to the first stage as time goes by, and some older couples say, that’s something to look forward to.
After a breakup, you may feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself. It may take a while before you recover. But while you’re wallowing in self-pity, people that care for you are tormented with worry. Snap out of it and start living your life again!
Here are some tips on how to get over a broken heart.
Be Good to Yourself
You know you’ve lost sleep and have not been eating a lot while you were worrying about your break up and your ex’s feelings towards you. So, the first step to being emotionally independent is to be physically fit to tackle all the challenges that will come your way, whether these are related to your job or to your personal life. After a few months, you should be eating better, exercising and taking your vitamins to make up for what you’ve lost in the past.
Doing all these will help you improve your stamina, give you more confidence boost, make you more attractive to the opposite sex, and keep you motivated to go to work. You must have heard of people who got seriously sick after a break up. This isn’t entirely impossible. You could fall into depression and seriously hurt yourself if you do not take steps to prevent your body from breaking down.
The worst thing about dealing with heartbreak is pretending you don’t care. You DO care and you know it. Do not make the mistake of convincing yourself that you’re OK if you’re really not. Allow yourself to grieve and accept the way things are by crying and confiding on someone you trust. You can show the world that you’re already over your ex, but you don’t have to hide the truth from yourself when you’re alone or when you’re with a trusted friend.
If you follow the tips above, you will be one step closer to moving on. But there is one more thing you have to remember when you’re trying to get over your ex…. It’s this: avoid contacting with your ex. Being friends with your ex is ok, but only when all your emotional wounds have healed. Meeting him or her will just re-open the old issues and will make you do things that are completely senseless (like having sex with him or her again). If you’re tempted to call your ex, stop yourself or let your friends hold your cell phone. If you realize that you’re finding excuses to drop by (like when you have to pick up old clothes and other stuff you left behind), make sure a friend is with you to keep you from lingering around your ex lover.
Meet New People
If playing the field is not your style, you can still mingle with other people to feed your need to socialize. The more people you meet, the more likely you will find someone you can date in the future. For now, however, concentrate on making friends and don’t try to get into a rebound relationship. You may feel like another relationship is crucial for you to feel alive again, but be warned… a rebound relationship will only mess up your efforts to forget all about your ex.
Why? Loving someone else when you’re not fully healed can make you feel desperate and needy. Your neediness will stem from your memory of being left alone and thrown aside. Your self esteem isn’t strong at the moment and you’ll end up suffocating your new lover.
Being judgmental is one of the things that may be keeping you from really connecting with your partner. I know because I’ve been judged and have also done my own share of judging in the past. Being judgmental can keep you from seeing the big picture, which includes spending the rest of your life with your love, and accepting him or her completely.
Here are some of the things we can do to stop this negative attitude.
Stop Putting Your Partner in a Labelled Box
Your partner has revealed everything that happened to him or her in the past, which makes it easy to put him or her in a neat little box with a label. These labels may include “jerk”, “playboy/playgirl”, “gambling problem”, “immoral” and other labels that change how you see your partner. Not everything is in black and white, and what applies to other people may not apply to your partner. The people you knew belonged to a certain category may also have been unrightfully judged, but you cannot do anything about that because that’s just the way you think.
However, make an exception for your partner and truly understand that he or she may have made some mistakes in the past to warrant that judgment, but past mistakes don’t define who he or she is.
After all, each of use has a unique way of dealing with our problems and have done many things that may seem rash and immoral to others.
Give your partner a chance to change.
Giving your partner the opportunity to change for the better is the “action” part of your goal to become less judgmental and more accepting of your partner’s personality. This is extremely difficult if you’ve already decided that you know what your partner is and what he or she is capable of doing. But your partner may prove you wrong, and you should open your mind to the possibility that he or she may act in a manner that is different from what you expect.
Everyone is capable of change, especially when the incentive is good. A new relationship should be enough incentive for a person to mend his or her ways and start thinking about settling down. Even if a guy or a girl is “great” as is, there are always things that he or she can change, hopefully for the better.
Change is Not a Priority, Initially
We don’t usually enter relationships thinking of change. After all, the first few months or years are still a part of the honeymoon phase, where you show your best side and vice versa. But a long term relationship will expose you to the bad side of your partner. Soon enough, you find yourself whining about this or that habit, and bickering starts. No matter how compatible you are, there are small things that will irk you, and even make you question your feelings for your partner. Whether or not you accept that side doesn’t stop you from expecting an upgrade, whether in the other person’s perspective in your new life or personality traits.
Is Love Strong Enough to Change a Person?
Wanting to please you may be enough motivation for a person to want to change. A person’s traits and viewpoints are products of experiences, habits and environment. To expect a person to change as soon as possible is asking too much. The most you can expect is for your partner to humor you this one time, do what you want, and then gradually revert back to his or her old habits when you’re not looking. Change is only permanent when the person decides that changing is the best thing he or she can do for himself or herself. He or she must want to change for the better. The motivation to change should come from the person not from you.
Is Your Partner Self-Aware Enough?
Although nothing can stop you from voicing your opinions, expecting drastic change is impossible. A person usually knows his or her limitations, the depth of which depends on how self-aware the person is. But you can bet that the person has received feedback in the past from other people, and from you, and he or she knows which points he or she is weak at. Self-awareness is key to change. Unless the person understands what “change” means, and what it would entail, expect the upgrade in perspective or attitude to come after a long time.
Maybe You’re Not Compatible?
A relationship starts to fall apart when incompatibilities crop up. The initial compatibility wasn’t simply a delusion on your part, but true compatibility means compromising and adjusting to your partner’s quirks.
It is difficult to admit that whether your partner changes or not is not up to you. It’s one of the things you can’t control at all.
Most people think searching for the most compatible partner is the key to having a successful relationship. I had this mindset for a long time, which probably contributed a lot to my “player” attitude. I would base what you would call compatibility on a lot of factors like common interests, status, level of maturity etc.
While embracing this frame of mind isn’t bad at all (everyone has to have a baseline, a standard that they refer to when searching for “the one”)… I realize now that REAL, long-term compatibility needs more than a few similarities and great rapport initially. In fact, if we’re going to be technical about it, we can say that real, long-term compatibility might not even exit. At all.
The reason I think so is this… people grow.
We evolve and we develop, whether we’re inside the relationship or not. And the couples who can’t deal with these CHANGES in each other end up thinking they’re “incompatible”, or that they made the wrong choice. How many times have you thought “this isn’t the guy I fell in love with” or “you’re like a stranger to me” when thinking of your partner (during a fight, or while you’re feeling emotional)?
It’s easy to say that your partner might have kept his true self hidden all the while, which will result to your feeling betrayed whenever you see traits or characteristics that he hasn’t shown in the past. But, it could also be that those traits were developed, or may have even resulted from the kind of environment he has been exposed to during the time you were together and elsewhere (in his workplace etc.). Regardless of where these “strange” behavior came from, you have to adjust to whatever changes… and embrace your OWN changes.
So who’s going to compromise more? Should it ALWAYS be you? Nope. It should be a joint effort. As long as you both understand that real compatibility is all about dealing with changes in personality and lifestyle, you should be ok.
Think of it as “tandem swimming” (or swimming with your hands linked together)… you either keep each other afloat or moving forward by working together to be really COMPATIBLE, or you pull each other down with your REFUSAL to be compatible. That is, your refusal to accept that your partner (and you) can “change” at any point in your relationship.
Before we discuss what a fade out is and why this ‘tactic’ is more common than we realize, let’s discuss what an ‘almost-relationship’ is. We all know that a love relationship can only begin when both parties are on the same page. Both the guy and the girl understand that there’s something between them that’s worth pursuing.
If only one partner thinks the connection is real and could last longer, it’s an ‘almost-relationship’. If both parties are in it for the ride, while knowing that it would end soon enough, the couple is in an ‘almost-relationship’. In simple terms, it’s a fling.
Now, on to the fade out….
Here are some situations that can be called a fade out…
- He goes on vacation (to a place where there is no way to contact him or he’d be too busy to contact anyone), but says he will call as soon as he gets back. He never calls back even when his facebook wall is filled with chatter about his return to the city.
- She tells the guy she enjoyed the date, but after a week of no communication, she’s suddenly up to her neck in paperwork or school work, and is too busy to even return a text message.
A person would sooner fade into the background and hope the other person does not notice, than own up to his or her actions. People who take the coward’s way out of a relationship are normally iffy about hurting others, not that they care about the other person’s feelings. They just are not ready for all the emotional outburts and the feeling of guilt.
Why is a fade out the easiest way to break up a relationship that never really started?
Simply put, there’s less drama. She doesn’t need to tell the guy that she was bored with him, or that she isn’t interested. He does not need to explain why he cannot have a serious girlfriend at the moment, or why he is still flirting with other women even after they had a “connection”.
The worst thing about a fade out is…
A rejection, especially one that is not explained in any way, can mess with someone’s head. Why was he so warm that night but so cold afterward? Why did she say she likes me but never picks up the phone when I call? Was he lying when he said the sex was good for him too? The questions are endless.
If you have never attempted a fade out in the past, good for you. You’re obviously a straightforward person, regardless of the consequences.
Growing up inside a relationship with a partner could mean a lot of things. But if you hear this phrase again, and you decide to take it constructively this time, what would you do to really “grow up” as a person and as a lover?
I’ve been told “grow up” more than a few times in the past, and if you’ve heard these words before, you probably felt what I felt. First, you feel humiliated at being treated like a kid (just because you have been acting like one). Then, you think it was said out of spite. Whatever made the other person irritated enough to say that phrase, here are some tips on how to “grow up” inside a relationship…
Avoid Excessive Jealousy
Your partner’s time, attention and affection are not yours alone. If you really think about it, you liked your partner because of the things he or she does to make a difference in the world. At least, if you entered a committed relationship for the right reasons. Growing up together means being willing to share your partner’s time with others and revel in the fact that your partner will always make time for you, no matter how busy his or her day is.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions
Saying “it was the booze talking” is truly juvenile. Trust me, there are still some forty-something people who dare say ‘I only talk like this when I’m drunk’. Even losing your head and getting too angry to control your actions should never be used as excuses. You did what you did because you wanted it. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. And, it’s certainly not the fault of some bubbly liquid that gives you buzz.
Your Perspective, Not the World, is What’s Wrong
You’re not a psychologically powerless animal that thrives on instinct alone. Have you ever dreamed of changing the world? You can do that easily right now by changing your perspective. If things are not going well, your convictions and your ability to adapt your perspective to the situation will be your strength. The same goes in relationships. You may not be able to change your partner’s mind or control your partner’s actions, but you can do a lot to manipulate how YOU react to the situation.
If being too mature or too “old” inside your relationship is too tedious, there are more than a dozen of ways to let loose and be a kid again without embarrassing yourself with your immaturity. No one will truly be mature because we’re all learning something new each day, especially inside a relationship, but making the right decisions when the situation calls for it is a good way to mature bit by bit.
Most couples bicker all the time. Sometimes, not a day goes by that bickering does not happen. Does this mean bickering is healthy? Or could frequently engaging in this activity lead to a fight, which in turn could lead to a break up?
Is Bickering Healthy?
Whether bickering is healthy or not is up for debate, but from experience, I can say that bickering is normal.
Let’s face it, if you have been with a person for a long time and you’ve started to find romantic moments cheesy and scarcer than a blue moon, the rhythm of your conversations change.
Change in the way you talk to each other isn’t exactly a bad thing, though. It indicates that you’ve gone past the mushy, lovey-dovey stage and settled down to a “real relationship”. Now, you can talk about anything and everything, and snoring in your sleep isn’t supposed to turn the other person off anymore.
Bickering is good when it takes on a fun form… BANTER.
The dictionary meaning of banter is “lighthearted teasing or amusing remarks that are exchanged between people”. When you exchange banter with your partner, you’re confident that he or she won’t take offense because you really don’t mean any. It also demonstrates that you know your partner’s strong and weak points, and that you’re not touching any of the seriously sore spots.
But banter could turn bad (and evolve into a full-fledged BICKER) if…
… stress has been building all day for one or both partners (meaning, neither is in the mood for playful swordplay).
… your remarks are “loaded” (you try, unsuccessfully, to coat your serious complaints and verbal attacks in jokes thinking you can soften the blow).
The thing is, no exchange of playful banter will sound right if there’s something deeply wrong with the way you communicate with your partner. In this case, every exchange becomes a fight, and every remark is taken seriously. That’s when bickering turns bad, and becomes the wick to the bomb that could blow up your relationship.
One of the things that make a woman toss and turn at night is infidelity. Several what-if scenarios come to mind, but the mother of all infidelity nightmares is this… your man having a gay lover, whether in the past or in the future.
But is it really that bad? It’s not so bad. The concept of homosexuality is not uncommon, but few people understand how a heterosexual man could go for another of his kind when there are women around. Some people shrug it off as being bisexual, a slave to passion (and pleasure), or “having no other choice”. I think it goes deeper than that.
As girls, we have best gal pals we can run to for advice or for company whenever we want. Men have those, too. In fact, it’s safe to say that men understand each other and know how to deal with hang ups together just like girls. They have their “bestfriend moments” and sometimes things go deeper.
Don’t Force the Regret on Him
What I’m saying is that your boyfriend may not be living with regret at having been in love with a guy in the past, and your role is not to force the regret on him. In fact, be open-minded enough to treat his past relationship with a man (I’m not saying “gay guy”… a “man”) as something that’s special to him.
The whole homophobic world may have judged him over it already, so don’t add to it by saying “are you the gay one or was he the gay one” like it’s a bad thing. If the experience was special to him, it shouldn’t be something that he has to be ashamed of.
Will He Ever Do it Again (with a Man)?
This is the same as asking “is he gay because he had a gay lover”? The correct answer to that is up for debate, but my position on that has something to do with my definition of what ‘universal love’ is. Let me explain…
Out of curiosity, I asked an open-minded guy once about falling in love with another man. He said, “if a person makes me feel special and I can be myself around that person, I won’t take his being a man against him”. What we can get from that is we can fall in love with someone for various reasons, and the matter of gender only becomes an issue if we take what society (and religion) mandates seriously.
In conclusion, people fall in love with people. It’s not all about sexual preference. Most of the time, it’s about emotional compatibility. Love, the universal, all-encompassing type, is a beautiful thing that can happen between two individuals. It shouldn’t be boxed up into categories like “homo” and “hetero”.
How many times have you seen one of your friends break up with a long-term partner only to find, the very next week, someone is absolutely wrong for them? It’s a break up phenomenon we call rebound dating.
The idea of rebound relationships is an instinct we develop because of the usual way we deal with getting hurt. We need comfort ASAP. It’s too painful so we need something that soothes us. It’s like we’re looking for a way to comfort ourselves after we’ve been hurt.
Three Reasons Why Rebound Dating Doesn’t work
It just seems natural to look for another romance right after a breakup. That’s emotional comfort food for you, but there are so many reasons why doing this is WRONG.
1. You’re in a Daze
Choosing a partner when your judgment is still cloudy usually does more harm than good. You can’t get over you ex fast enough so you want to find someone who reminds you of him, or who is nothing like him, so you can do this quickly and move on with your life. Obviously, your standards for choosing a new romance are questionable. They’re mostly centered around your ex, whether you admit it or not.
2. You End Up Using Someone
Because you’re in pain, you’d rather go for some other more “comfortable” emotion. Anything that lifts that burden from you will do, even if it’s someone who might be completely wrong for you. It’s not the other person who matters anymore, but what he or she can do to help you deal with the pain. Using someone as an analgesic seems fine, until you’re done using that person and guilt sets in.
A rebound relationship is not going to help much if you’re still a mess, or if you still have not dealt with your pain on your own.
What I’d do after a break up, or after I finally accept that there’s no hope for the relationship anymore, is to go to the parlor and get a makeover.
Or, I would simply cry it out.
I know it sounds pathetic but I still think it’s a lot better than using someone to ease the pain (even if that person is more than willing to provide the “service”). Be fair to yourself and the other person.