Of all the advice I try my hardest to avoid Yes even I hide away from things it is romantic relationship advice. The reason being, a partnership between two people always has two sides to the story, two perspectives, two sets of emotions, two sets of results, two types of behavior, and two people to consider. As such the advice should only be given if you have had a chance to hear from each side.
I personally will listen and reply in a general format as I always do, pull out the root scenario and explain what I would do in a similar situation.
It’s not a therapy thing or any fancy style of active listening. It’s allowing yourself the room to not get caught in the middle, the worst place to be in a relationship that is not your own.
So if you follow me you understand my writing style is a form that I try to make relatable. I create a common place for us to meet so the exchange is easily received, understood, and molded to fit you. More often than not I go back to the place that taught me to make life decisions, my turning point moment plus a pinch of my upbringing. The idea is the reader will go back to that same place, not necessarily how one was raised but to the point in life where you were influenced on how to make a decision. The most common problem that causes anxiety in romantic relationships is our inability to make a decision. This is a behavior flaw that is an easy fix. Lately, where my opinion has been solicited the most is on the area of leveling up. It is some nerve-wracking stuff to decide if the person you are with is really the person you want to spend forever with. It’s scary and we all know that what it shouldn’t be is terrifying or the other person making your life extremely difficult because of it. What it should be is you weighing the pros and cons of the idea and actually progressing to a decision, not the complete avoidance of the issue and hoping it will slowly fade away. It will fade away alright when your person walks out the door.
So how can we make the whole leveling up in the lovebug territory a bit easier? Here’s my how-to, what I have determined the best form of action for me and the way to know when and for whom to push my limits. You will see my ideas are unorthodox and far from mainstream. I like a little old school in my way of life, like men and women who respect themselves, their potential partners, and still believe in integrity. The method to my madness since I’ve learned to make decisions like an adult is to act like one. Tweak this plan to fit you. Methods are flexible.
Months 1–6- Introductory Period
Level 1- Effort and Consistency
So you have met someone interesting or have decided to bloom a friendship into something more. Well, what is that more? You might have an inkling of what more is for you, yet it is not likely you know what more for them is just yet. The first 6 months of a relationship is the time when you are putting all the bits and pieces together. I personally take this time as a very casual one. It’s not a time to be full force out of the gate changing social media statuses, telling your entire family you’re on the road to marriage, or already starting your 1st-year-anniversary album. This is the period in which you determine if this person meets your more criteria and in return if you can accommodate theirs. It is testing your willingness to add each other into your current lives while still maintaining your own. It’s observing their behavior, and monitoring yours. You’re figuring out this person and they are doing the same to you. There might be hesitancy to completely open up and that’s ok. However, this is your time to be honest and outspoken about what you wish to achieve here and you should encourage them to do the same.
An instant relationship killer is the expectation that your romantic prospect should cut off friends, especially of the opposite sex, or spend all their time with you. It is a warning sign that the other person has a control issue, and is needy if they show these expectations. There were people in this persons and in your life before you showed up and should be allowed to remain as long as they add positivity to the possible relationship. Any negativity or compromising of integrity shouldn’t be allowed from your circle or theirs.
Now, how dating works at least in my mind is I am trying to find my more in this person. See if we share similar values and baseline ideas. I am honing in on how well they take care of themselves. Do they have a stable form of income? This means examining their work ethic, not their title, or how many zeros are at the end of the paycheck. Not your business boo. Do they do basic adult things, like pay bills on time, know how to cook easy things, how clean do they keep themselves and their living quarters, I’m fancy and how well they complete tasks before depending on someone else. I am looking for consistency and that is how to find it.
Being this is still new to the both of us at the beginning of the relationship I don’t have the expectation for them to stop seeing other people at this point.
NO that does not mean if you are married or have been in a committed relationship for years you should be dating. It means if the other person is completely single but is still making dates with others it’s ok.
This is a new phase and more so by still dating others, it helps develop the “I miss this person” dynamic. At this point, it is time to make a decision. If you both have determined there is effort and consistency or simply you really miss the person when they are not around then you can move forward to Level 2. If you do not miss this person, you really haven’t clicked, or there was no real effort it’s time to say goodbye and wish them well. If either end is still up in the air, or still dating other people by the end of six months it shows there is a problem in making decisions, and we don’t have a solid grip of what we want out of life, or we are just not on the same journey at this time. As adults, we really shouldn’t entertain wasting time. We have so little of it to spare.
Months 6–12- I’m Your Person
Level 2: Effort, Consistency, Trust, and Communication
You have cleared the six month period and now have laid your common ground. Which means you both have decided on each other. You leveled up! This means you both have stopped dating other people, and have established your baseline. You decided to trust risk and to trust them. To build a solid foundation in a relationship, trust is the first stone. We are a species who has little faith in each other for the simple fact of we have terrible behavior. We hide things, refuse to be honest, and lack listening skills. Yet you have determined this person is worthy of your trust so you must do just that. Invest trust in them and open up.
This doesn’t mean you or they have to divulge every piece of information on their lives before you were together. You don’t need to know the names of every person they have been with, they shouldn’t be asking you why you still hang out with Mike because he is a guy, and most of all……you do not need the password to their phone, social media accounts, or their email, and they do not need yours either. You’re not CIA you’re the bae!
Here is how we learn to characterize a person by their BEHAVIOR. Our actions say when we are hiding things, like emotions, other people, and dishonesty. If they refuse to reciprocate the trust to you, or there has been no real depth added to the relationship it’s a tell-tale sign this person is not ready for this aspect of a relationship and you will be caught in a loop or maybe your own behavior has them wary of you. Communication is key in Level 2. This is how we learn the needs of the other and ourselves. You come into Level 2 with effort and consistency. To keep progressing we need to build understanding. If there is no trust or communication you do not move on to Level 3. You say goodbye, good luck, and farewell. Months 6–12 is the time you’re getting to know your person’s ins and outs, ups and downs, how well they progress, you progress and both progress together. If no one has laid the first stone there is no progression or means to move up to the next level. We have met an existential end we either start a new chapter or end the book.
Months 12–24- It’s Solid
Level 3: Effort, Consistency, Trust, Communication, Determination, and Integrity
Well look at you, you have made it all the way up here and well past the expectancy of society’s current relationship success rate. Congratulations to the both of you. Now that you have made it this far the real work begins. Misery is a lonely soul and he hasn’t had luck in this area like you have. Misery is obsessed with jealousy but she is to busy trying to take away love from everyone. So misery takes it upon himself to gain as much company as he can to fill his emptiness. Misery and jealousy will manifest wildly during the first 2 years of a romantic relationship. These demons will appear within you, your partner and especially in others. Your determination and integrity stones will take a major beating. The upside is when you reach Level 3 you have brought Effort, Consistency, Trust, and Communication with you. Your determination and integrity are the areas that will always be tested. This is why way back on Level 1 I use consistency so much as my tool. Consistency tells us how much we can withstand while determination always enables us to move forward without breaking our integrity. If these fools manifest within you and your partner, trust and communication has your back. If you notice those demons manifesting in others and they come knocking on your door let Integrity answer she plays no games and has no time for the nonsense.
Growing up in the ’90s conditioned my generation Gen Y to be afraid to fail. It is because of this conditioning reality is so hard for us to accept, grasp and be thankful for. This is prevalent in how well we maintain all of our relationships, not just the romantic kind. We desire. Simply that we desire too much. Remember desire? Desire rolls with temptation, deception, and anxiety. Complete mean girls, you can’t sit with our team, and personally not anyone you want on your team and much less in your relationship.
Although it seems like a short period of time, 2 years is really enough time to decide if this person is who you want to spend the rest of your days with. We never get to fully know someone 100%. Humans and their behavior change every day as we grow, learn, experience, and encounter. For a relationship to survive the other simply has to encourage change. The only expectation in a relationship should be reciprocating and investing in the effort you are given.
After risk leaves you in Level 1 he makes his way up to Level 3 to wait for you. Most of the time relationships stagnate in the, it’s solid period, for decades because anxiety doesn’t allow us to trust risk. More often than not it is because we have the expectation of marriage before we move in with someone and become fully committed, we are doing ourselves an injustice by harboring anxiety in our relationships, especially once you meet that divide in the road of now or never. You have reached an end and at every end, risk will be there. Ending doesn’t always mean it stops, it says to continue you have to stop here first. This end means you will not need any other non-platonic relationship other than the one you have. If you take hands with risk and your partner you will reach the top. If you decide on never you have to let go. It is not fair for you to prevent someone who is ready to reach the top from doing so and the same for you.
You both have had enough time to put together the most important pieces, lay your common ground, and build your foundation. Once you reach the top means the rest of your lives will be spent preventing that foundation from crumbling, a new journey. That includes patch-ups, repairing the areas that have broken, avoiding reckless things and people that will damage what you have built, carrying all the weight sometimes, and a willingness to rebuild if it all comes crashing down. If you both can do this you have successfully mastered the relationship game. For ourselves and them it attests to how much faith and capability we have in our own decisions. This level of sorcery is rare today, embrace it, move forward and never look back.
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