What’s the timeline to do relationship stuff?
Does the timeline bend and curve by age or status?
How is this all supposed to work?
I’m speaking with a friend of mine. Crash and burn relationship. And, she’s beating herself up over 1. when they slept together, 2. when she introduced him to her family, and 3. when she said I love you. She’s all but called herself an idiot, and sounds like the moment right before tears. Classic sharp inhales and sniffles.
1. I recall this episode of Girlfriends. Joan is explaining that you shouldn’t sleep with a man before the third date, or on the third date. Something like that. Ummm…okay? Maybe.
Date? Like pick me up or meet me at a venue. We dress the part. Chat over appetizers. Laugh over cocktails. We offer each other bites of our food. Ooh and ahh. Then kiss once on the first date. More passionately on the second. And, then our clothes will fall off at the end of the third? That doesn’t sound totally reasonable. What if we hike? Or, paint? Or, do coffee and I nibble on a cheese danish or muffin, all cute?
What if we aren’t traditional, Joan?
What are the new rules supposed to be? Why are there rules? Why aren’t we comfortable doing grown folks shit when we feel grown enough to do it. Disclaimer: When you are a legal and responsible grown folk with another legal and responsible grown folk.
2. Meeting my family always feels like such an undertaking. I’d welcome rules.
How about the time my boyfriend surprised me? Showed up at my house unannounced. Then my mom came over. I had to make an introduction. It was sooner than expected, but I wasn’t gonna hide either of them in a closet.
You strike in the moment then. Play it by ear otherwise?
And, my kids. I don’t like introducing men to my kids. It’s such a slippery slope. Even when you think they could be a good one, they can totally disappoint you. Too soon could be always.
3. And, in my youth I followed the girlfriend love rules. Never say it first. Never accept it during sex. And, depending on how you’re feeling you can say it back or say thanks with a sly smile.
Not anymore. Life is too short. If I love you, I’ll tell you. When I love you, I’ll probably assess my feelings for a week or two. Then I’ll happily tell you. It’s not a secret. It’s not a weakness. And, I won’t say it because you did. If I’m not there, I’ll be honest. No sly smiles.
All of this to say, there’s no real timeline. You have to move based off your relationship and your feelings.
My major advice: Don’t act in honeymoon bliss. Don’t make any decisions while you’re still in that window of perfection. Your reputation and credibility are pending. Make quality decisions. Give everyone time to have dropped the fake shit. Once you’ve seen them angry or frustrated, with a few drinks in them, or having to make a major decision you’ve seen the real them. That’s when you should be most comfortable moving forward.
Carry on, and good luck out there.