Monday, May 19, 2014

Relationship Timelines

I should probably just change the name of my blog to "I'm not good at talking about my feelings" considering how often I start posts that way. 

During college, my friends decided that any man in my life would have to deal with a different set of milestones--instead of I love you, they would have to learn the equivalent You're the only boy I frame pictures of. (They still ask about my love life in those terms. "Do you think you might want to frame his picture one day?") That's my milestone. For me, that is a very significant step and is not to be undertaken lightly. As in...I don't. 

A conversation with a friend got me thinking about how different milestones are for everyone. There's no set timeline for relationships. With online dating, you don't even have to meet someone to start a relationship. So you decide what marks progress. Some milestones are obvious and fairly universal. Most couples have some anniversary--whether it's when they first went out or the date they decided they were officially in a relationship, or the closest date they can figure out because whoops we didn't write it down or anything.. After that first big milestone of agreeing on an anniversary, though, there doesn't seem to be much we agree on. 

Maybe she thinks it's a huge deal that you met her parents because she never introduces them to her dates. Maybe him spending the night is a milestone because to him that makes it serious. Maybe a milestone was the day your friends met him and told you how great he is. Maybe it's strictly a certain length of time. And maybe all those things slid by your partner without a second glance...because the weight we put on different aspects of a relationship changes for everyone. It's funny how that works, that something you look forward to and wait for can be just another day for the person you're dating. 

I remember being sort of irritated in those situations, when boyfriends didn't mention or notice things that I considered pretty significant for our relationship. This has taken me a really long time to figure embarrassingly long time, one might say...but in retrospect those things probably didn't matter to my boyfriends. (At least I figured it out eventually, right?) I probably missed some things that those guys cared about. And once I figured that out, I came to the conclusion that I could have avoided several dramatic journal entries and rants to my girls if I'd, you know, talked to my boyfriend about that crap. (Yeah, I don't really see that happening in the future either. You'll probably read about it here.) 

So you talk about it. That's the advice I would give, and have given on multiple occasions. You talk about it and when your boyfriend says meeting his parents is a big deal to him, you take it seriously because you're gross about your boyfriend. You hope they like you because he cares that they like you. 

And if you tell them getting along with your friends is a big deal to you and they don't care? Well...I guess you'll write to me and I'll tell you something you don't want to hear. 

I don't have any conclusions to this...I'm still considering the importance of milestones and marking progress. What do you think? 

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