Friday, January 2, 2009
I come across articles like this one frequently on the Internet, articles which purport to explain how relationships work and when you should be hitting "milestones", as if every couple develops according to some as-yet-unknown Piaget. If not even kids follow the rules all the time, why the hell do we expect adults to do the same thing?
I think a lot of discontent comes from the fact that we don't take relationships slow enough. When you're "supposed" to make out on the third date or it's a bust--when you're "supposed" to start thinking of moving in together after a year--waiting for months for your first kiss can certainly make you feel like either a freak, or that you're dating one (I am almost certain Peter did, as I freaked out every time he tried--for months).
But like the Supremes sang, "You can't hurry love". Lust and infatuation are easy, but being in love and Loving someone are, in my opinion, very different. And sometimes, your Nerve Growth Factor just takes a while to come up to that level associated with Love. Mixing neuroscience and pop psychology is, admittedly, a leap of logic, but no more so than subscribing to the popular opinion that dinner and a movie, guy-pays-for-all, is the "right" way to date.
I'm thinking about this because 2009 will be the eighth year that my boyfriend and I have known each other; the second year that we will have lived together. We didn't share a kiss until almost three years had passed, though I suspect that things might have moved a little faster if we'd been on the same side of the Atlantic. A little, but not by much, I think. In terms of Relationship Development, this would put us at "cretin".
But I don't think that's a bad thing. Certainty and stability are hard enough to come by in this life, and if you're going to get through life together, then you've both got to be certain, and stable.