So it’s the third date and you’re wondering, “What’s the next step?” I mean after all, you two lovebirds know each other so well. You both love sushi, foreign films, and Trader Joe’s! And let’s not forget about those hormones. He’s hot, she’s gorgeous and the tension is just building. But taking that next step would feel a little premature if you weren’t at least in a relationship first. So somewhere between Date 3 and Date 4, you two become an official item. You might sound it from the rooftops. You might celebrate in secret. But you are a couple, nonetheless, committed to each other, whatever that means.
Sure, a guy and a girl can split up any time they want to, but one doesn’t suffer too many heartbreaks before they promise to be finished with relationships forever. There’s a reason that parties of a newly failed relationship reject the idea of love ever again, even if the sentiment is temporary. Relationships are more than a title. With relationships come expectations that perhaps we aren’t ready for. Even though the commitment between bf/gf isn’t exactly a sealed covenant, it certainly mirrors one.
It’s learning to love selflessly, accepting those things about one another that we can’t stand, and bonding on deeper common grounds than a list of favorites. It’s about being compatible enough that when life brings changes, and when we ourselves change, our foundations for why we have respect for each other don’t crack. It’s knowing how to argue. Don’t we chase love with the hope of ultimately finding “the one,” settling down with him or her, and being content for life? Obviously this isn’t everyone’s objective but most of us look to have a wedding and a successful life-long partnership.
Well if this is what we’re after then it only makes sense that we should not be hasty to commit in relationships so flippantly. Ultimately, every experience, every relationship is either preparing us for “the one,” or unbeknownst to us is “the one.” So shouldn’t people spend more time getting to know the people they’re dating before being so quick to commit to them? The people we decide to commit to should be those with whom we’ve built something truly meaningful – people who have proven worthy of sharing our time, our families, our values, our bodies.
It takes more than 3 or 4 dates to realize this. While I personally believe that we should see lots of people, test the waters, and date around in order to gain knowledge about the things we like and dislike in others, I don’t think that means that people should become girlfriend and boyfriend immediately. Those giddy euphoric feelings wear off after a while and when they do, we often realize that we’ve shared our entire lives with someone who was never meant for us and we do it over and over again with every new relationship. It’s because we rarely take the time out to create friendships, witness each other’s responses in tough circumstances, etc. We just rush into “falling in love.”
We use these titles as if they grant us privileged access into the married life but we do it without sifting. When everything pretty is gone, what are we left with? A person that we can’t actually see ourselves with. And we have to break up with each other and dismantle everything we built together. It’s so official. Just as we’ve staked our claims in each other’s lives and pitched our tents, we’re now forced to disassemble.
No more cohabitation; return those keys. No more visiting with the family. No more of the special little things you used to do for each other. No more of the quirks that only the two of you shared, those intimate moments that you promised to keep between you forever, not just physical but emotional. You’re usually left with memories, a lesson, and baggage to carry into the next relationship. I know most people won’t agree with me and that’s okay. I just have a different outlook on how people do things.
I believe that true love can happen on sight. I don’t think every couple needs to have begun as best friends prior to dating in order to be successful. No, two people don’t have to know every last detail about each other prior to commitment and yes an ex-couple can move on as friends after the relationship fails. Personally, I’ve experienced the downfalls of moving too quickly into relationships and the complications that follow a break-up. I now say to give things time to become something truly fragrant, beautiful and rich.
Everyone has a different recipe. But I just think that chicken is always better when it marinates.