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Archive for August, 2010

So I just got home from a girls weekend in Tofino celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of my absolute best friends, Lola.

It went as expected – tonnes of stories reminisced, and even more stories created!  We had dance-offs, leg wrestling competitions (yeah, just get 12 athletes together in a room!!) and tribe like pow wows where we caught up on each others lives, in some cases revealing a decade of life for friends we haven’t connected to since university.  It was powerful, energizing, exhausting and magical… and our cellphone-less existence made way for an opportunity to see how even through miles apart, and experiences around the world, we are still, at the end of the day, the same.

Of course, bringing 12 women together for 2 days brought a lot of talk about love and relationships.  We talked current relationships, past relationships, love lost and love longed for.  We sifted through our beliefs and our learnings and came up, in my mind, with one final conclusion.  It is complicated 🙂  And there’s an evolution to a relationship…

Stage 1: The Game

Okay, this is where I shine 😉  This is the stage where you are feeling each other out.  There’s flirting, there’s texting, there’s trying to figure out what someone means with the exclamation mark at the end!  Yeah, the crazy part.  And the fun part!  This is the point of decision – will we or won’t we?  At this point you tell people “we are just friends” and they roll their eyes because you definitely don’t text your friends that often with that stupid smile on your face… For me, I spend a lot of time in this phase – maybe because it’s interesting and fun, or maybe because the next step requires a decision (and I’m not that great at decisions…)

Stage 2: The Label

Okay, so here you are, and it’s official.  You are dating.  Or are you??  Now it’s time to figure out the difference between “seeing” and “dating”. I mean, you spend almost every night together but you haven’t had the talk.  And do you even want to have the talk?  I mean, things are going SO well!  He’s so cute, and funny, and cool, and he doesn’t so far seem to have any of your dealbreakers….

This is where my friend Jill is at.  In my mind, she’s committed.  I mean, they have pictures up on facebook, every weekend it’s assumed they’ll spend together.  And honestly, she wouldn’t date anyone else.  BUT  it’s not official yet.  And I’m not sure how it becomes official or if it even needs to be, but it’s really the honeymoon phase – they can do no wrong.  This is so awesome when you are in it, and, to be really frank, annoying to watch.  I mean, gazing?  Really?  😉

Stage 2.b:  The Stall

There is always a phase that happens within stage 2 where you question it all.  Right before stage 3 happens.  It’s the stall.  The time when one or both parties pulls away or tests their independence.  This, to me, is the most stressful part of a relationship.  When one person pulls away (usually to assess where they are at), the other person tries to bring them back thinking they are losing them.  THIS IS A MISTAKE and why most relationship end!!!  I believe that this stage needs to be honoured and appreciated for what it is – the step before committment.

Catie is a great example of this.  She was dating a guy who was really unsure about commitment.  And it wasn’t even about her, though she could have taken it like it was.  She was so smart about how she handled his stall.  Where she would have normally gotten upset (I mean,it’s well known that nobody F’s with Catie!!!), she just let him do his thing, let him know what she would and would not put up with, and didn’t make it personal.  And what happened?  Well, he figured it out and they are now moving into stage 3….

Stage 3: Commitment

Okay, so this is the mecca right?  The place everyone is trying to get to supposedly?  Well, here’s the irony.  We get here, exactly where we are trying to get to and then what do we do?  Well half of us try to get out of it…  I mean, wasn’t single life so awesome??!  Ha, okay, but for the other half, this is where things get good.  Toilet seat issues come up, he finally brings up that you snore, you meet his crazy family and he meets yours.  Romantic huh?  And actually, it totally is.  I mean, this is REAL!  And real is so awesome.  This is when they start to feel a little like family.

Take Lola – she and her fiancee Harminder finish each others sentences, are funnier together than they are apart, and they just make sense.  And they can get massively annoyed at each other.  And it’s all good.   And I really think they will live happily ever after.

Stage 4:  It’s over

Or it’s just beginning 🙂  It’s over means life only thinking about yourself is over.  You are now officially a team.  You have a mortgage, you have kids (maybe).  You no longer obsess with where the relationship is at – you just build together.

Jackie and Penny are at this place for us.  They are SO in!  They now focus on all of these other bigger things in life and they always have someone in their corner, which gives them endless possibilities.  I always have believed that I know who I should be with based on one question:  Am I better with them than without them?

Lastly, there are two other relationships that came up worth mentioning but that do not fit into any of my categories:

1.  May-December

We have the hottest friend, Mae, who has ventured into this one.  They are years apart in age, they date, they talk, they laugh, they have unbelievable sex.  It’s the perfect relationship!  And yet, it stays at the same place because they both know that it’s not what they want in the long run.  I kind of think she’s onto something here.  I mean, they live for the moment and are in bliss with each other.  And they make all of us a little jealous 🙂  But it’s not what I want, as ironic as that sounds… because there is something about the end point that matters to me…

2.  It’s Complicated

Liz has completely redefined relationships for me.  In this one, there are girls, there are boys, there is love, there is friendship, there is commitment, there are 3 people involved.  And it works too!  I personally don’t know how they manage this relationship, but there is something to be said for the fact that it’s crazy to think that one person can have everything another person wants and needs and this sort of takes the pressure off one person, no?  And the ultimate goal is happiness right?  So if it makes you happy, who cares what society says (with it’s 50% divorce rate we might want to stop listening to that source…)

So what is my point with all of this?  With dissecting all of my friends relationships and stages?  It’s for The Conclusion!

The Conclusion:

Of course it’s really about figuring it out for myself.  And to recognize that there are stages and it all ebbs and flows.  There is no holy grail.  There is no place to get to because each stage fulfills something all on it’s own.  I think that as soon as we try to not be where we are, we disrupt what is natural with how we think it should go.  And as long as we are willing to go into whatever place our relationship brings us, we can move forward.  I think for me that The Game is losing it’s lustre a bit.  And perhaps I can move into another realm and see what that is about – I mean, worse comes to worse and I get played we can hold another women’s tribal meeting and sacrifice him 😉

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