We’d all like to think that our relationships will always be bliss, but they won’t. They never are. I look at relationships in stages; greeting, courting, infatuation, shake out, comfort zone, stop saving that seat, and finally doors closing. Many of us never really break our relationships down into those stages, but they truly do exist. They are different for men and women too. Most women don’t come into a relationship thinking that he’s the one; they are skeptical, but optimistic. As a man, I go into a relationship thinking that I will not accept failure as an option. The inability of a man to fail is one thing that is his best ally and enemy.
Women are typically the last to experience the infatuation stage and they stay in it the longest. As a man, we have to be forward thinking at all times. Plus, our courting is often times structured incorrectly in which we place our relationship goals on things that are probably not the best to ensure success. We meet a girl and then we say, “I want that to be my girl” or we say, “I want to sleep with that girl.” A man is infatuated with this girl, he’s enamored beyond belief. He spends most of his time thinking about her and even when he’s talking to his boys he takes one of two approaches. Either he speaks about her non-stop, almost as if he’s planned out the entire relationship before she’s even called him back. I’ve been guilty of this. Or he says nothing at all about her, because he doesn’t want to jinx it. I’m guilty of this too. If he stays on his p’s and q’s sooner or later he’ll achieve his goal. And shortly thereafter, he’ll say to himself, “I’m no longer infatuated with this girl, it’s time for the next stage.” But the next stage could be a long-term relationship, or the next step could be the next girl.
Women on the other hand have a peaceful reserve when approaching relationships. They may fantasize about a guy, but they are not truly infatuated until they’ve cleared him off their background investigations. The background investigation is always about one thing, “What does he really want?” There are some women who don’t do this, and they are hopeless romantics. We all have friends like them and we shake our heads at them because they are likely to assume they are in a relationship with a guy when he won’t even show up to a happy hour that she invites him to, or at least text to say he can’t make it. But for the most part most women don’t get in the infatuation stage until they let their guard down. I always tell people that women have thicker skin than we’d like to believe they are more experienced at disappointment and heartbreak than most men. Therefore, they are better trained to deal with it than us; one of the ways that they deal with disappointment is by keeping their guard up. But once that guard comes down, they quickly enter the infatuation stage.
Now for a few weeks, both are in the infatuation stage. They do all the things that new couples do, they love spending time together, they love touching each other, they don’t argue (most men concede arguments here, it’s called taking a dive, I’ve talked about this before), but you get the point, things are great, others refer to this as bliss. I’m going to be honest with you, I can tell you how you can tell if a man is infatuated with a girl; he does shit he does not like to do without complaining about it.
1) He cuddles – I don’t even recommend men use this word.
2) He uses pet names, or accepts them – He has no clue how far this rabbit hole goes.
3) He compromises his previous habits for hers – I’m talking about when she spends the night on a Saturday and you wake up on Sunday and don’t watch football. A few people know what I mean.
4) He does not bitch – Tell me how men can spend all their time bitching about what women do and then when they’re in a relationship, all of sudden it’s all love. Because he’s full of shit.
Then this happens…
In order for things to go smoothly, the man must go to the next stage and prepare a bed for them both to lay in. The shake out will come, it’s inevitable, but they cannot meet there at the same time. When the shake out comes, arguments of Lord of the Rings III status will come out. If you’ve ever been with a girl for longer than a year you know that around months 6-12, you get in some arguments that will shake the very foundation of which you thought you built. Most couple tend to step into this at the same time and they fail miserably. So the man while sitting on the couch one day snuggled up with his snookems in his mind parts ways with the infatuation stage. He may not say anything aloud, but to himself, all of his thoughts go to, “Why does she have to…”
Why does she have to… always tuck her feet under my legs when sitting on the couch?
Why does she have to… always take ten minutes to come downstairs when I get to her house?
Why does she have to… always force me to meet people in her circle, and then get upset when I don’t like them?
And the list goes on and on and on… but he never says anything, his demeanor just changes. What he’s doing is he’s exiting the infatuation stage and preparing himself to reach a calm about the answers to those questions before she starts asking, “Why doesn’t he…” #seewhatIdidthere.
Meanwhile, the woman is still in the infatuation stage, she’s totally into this guy and now that her guard is down, those hormones kick in and start whipping her ass. She’s thinking about what it would be like to be featured in the paper as a the couple getting ready to be wed. She’s thinking about moving in together. She’s making life plans and they always involve him. She still likes to cuddle, and watch romance movies, and go on cute dates. She has no idea that her boyfriend is thinking to himself, “Why does she have to act like I don’t have anything else to do in the world except hang out with her?”
What happens next is probably the quintessential most important part of the relationship? It separates the wives from the girlfriends. Does that girl ask herself, “why does it seem like my man is pulling away from me?” And then do some internal thinking and figure out ways to fix the issue? Or does she flip out and start saying things like, “How come we don’t do nothing anymore?” Or, “How come you don’t tell me you love me anymore?” I don’t know. I do know one thing, the infatuation stage will pass. And those who choose to stay in it live pointless lives. You can’t build a future in the infatuation stage, you have to build it after the shake out phase. The shake out is just the point of the relationship where you say, “If we gon’ be here, then we gon’ be here” it’s when people stop being fake and start being real. After that phase is where you start to build a future together. I can’t tell you what to do, because only you can make the right decision for yourself and your relationship. All I can do is present you with the facts. The infatuation stage has an expiration date on it, it’s up to you whether you are going to drink old milk or get some new milk.