All of this talk about online dating got me thinking about important transitions during the lifetime of a relationship.
What do I mean?
If you don’t already know, Pam and I met on match.com. We were living half of a country away – I was in Texas and she was in New Jersey. Neither of us was particularly movable at the moment (which is a good thing), so our relationship was formed with 1000+ miles of distance between us.
Our long distance relationship meant several things.
Obviously, it meant that we didn’t get to see each other as often as we would have liked. Life and careers dictated that we maybe saw each other every couple of months and loaded up during the summers.
But it also meant that, except for the time we set aside for each other, our lives progressed as they would, independent of each other.
We didn’t have to think about whether we should come straight home from work.
Dinner time? Choose whatever you want.
Clean your house whenever you felt like it.
Run around butt-naked, dripping wine all over? Go for it.
So while we were present in each other’s daily lives, there were plenty of spaces where we just weren’t physically present.
We existed like that for two years. That’s a long time. That’s long enough to solidify a pattern in a relationship.
When it came time for me to move to New Jersey, we knew one thing: we didn’t want to move in with each other.
Sounds crazy, right? After all, we’d been living apart for 2 years!
But that was exactly it: we had been living apart for 2 years. Our relationship had formed around a significant amount of distance between us.
Now that we would be much closer, our relationship was at a transitional point.
We needed time to learn how to be physically present in each other’s daily lives.
I moved to the same town but in my own apartment and lived there for a year. No, I didn’t just pay rent there either. I lived in my own space. Sure, we spent our weekends together, testing the waters, learning how to live with each other without pressure.
There are other transitional points that happen over the lifetime of a relationship.
Perhaps you’re with someone and you both decide you want to have a child. Children, as wonderful as they can be, can put a strain on a relationship, especially if the relationship or marriage is new.
Maybe one of you quits her job for any number of reasons, leaving the other to be the primary breadwinner. That’s not just a potential financial strain, but this new “thing,” this new way of being can stress your relationship too. Think about ways you can ease into this new phase.
Identifying those transitional points in your relationship and adjusting to them is so critical. Give yourself time to learn to be a new “you” in your relationship.
What are some transitional points you have encountered in your relationships and how did you handle them? Contact us to let us know or leave a comment.