Today we’re going to do a bit of discussion on the six month to two year relationship. When I evaluate my relationships, my friend’s relationships, and my sister’s relationships I notice a pretty common trend: 6 month bump, 1 year hump (and no I’m not making a sexual reference, perverts :p), 2 year done (roughly, not exact). Okay, before I hear the protest of people who say “that didn’t happen to me!”, I want to really emphasize that of course there are exceptions to the rule. And, I also want to state that I didn’t personally do an extensive study on this. So with that being said…
Here are the natural cycles of a two year relationship. The exact “dates” are not a science, so 6 months doesn’t literally mean 6 months, but rather the “general early stages of a relationship”. Likewise, a year is referring to the general “point in the relationship where you really have to decide if you’re going to be serious or not”, and the final 2 year stage is highly variable. Basically, you may not agree with the exact years, but the “concepts” are pretty (imo) universal to normal relationships. This post will be a general overview, and at some point in the future I’ll probably take a closer look at these issues:
0-5/6 Month: Honeymoon Stage
The infamous honeymoon stage. During this time, life is great. You question how anyone could ever fight in relationships! You wonder why there are so many relationships that fail! You keep thinking 24/7 nonstop everyday about how you’re so lucky, and how you ended up with the perfect guy/girl. Every time you get together is a magical moment. Every date is a new adventure. Did I mention life is great?
Oh man, and the hours you spend on the phone/gchat/text messaging…it’s like a second job, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it! You’re constantly talking and constantly doing all those super cheesy “no you hang up first” activities that make the rest of the world want to vomit. But who cares. Cause you’re so damn happy!
During this period, you just don’t know enough about the person, and the experience is sooo new that it’s hard for you to focus on anything besides the positives. I liken this to my relationship with my Palm Pre. When I first bought that cursed phone, I thought it was the most amazing piece of machinery. It was so pretty to look at, so awesome to hold, and so easy to admire. I was championing that phone like you would not believe, telling everyone that they should buy it. I was in love. Oh…how wrong I was. That phone is a piece of crap. Just like some girls that I’ve dated…(okay that’s a bit harsh and untrue, most of my relationships have been with amazing girls, but sometimes it just doesn’t work and that’s okay) But you get what I’m saying!
During this time, there are no real problems in the relationship, and if there are lots of problems that’s probably a very bad sign for the relationship. Most of the times, this time is filled with chocolates, roses and happiness. And holding hands. And lots of PDA (Public Display of Affection). I hate you.
6 Month Bump
UH OH. The first sign of trouble. Most relationships begin to have their first “issue” at the 6 month period. Unless the relationship is superficial, the issue is normally not a deal breaker (a relationship ender). Usually, it’s a minor bump that you have to get over to continue on in this relationship. Maybe the girl said “I love you” to the guy, and the guy hesitated before he muttered out some “oh yea, me too” one liner that was obviously unenthusiastic. Maybe the guy has been wanting to go on less and less dates, and has been spending less and less time on the phone. Maybe the girl keeps going out clubbing with her friends, and the jealous and insecure guy has a problem with that (especially because as a guy he knows there are lots of dogs out there). For whatever reason, most relationships around the 5-6 month period encounter their first minor/half serious argument. The excitement is wearing off, the novelty of the relationship is mostly gone, and both of you are beginning to feel that absence of those initial emotions. You guys are now officially farting in front of each other, taking dumps at each others homes/apartments, and a lot of the initial “always must look nice, dress nice, smell nice” has started to wear off.
Most relationships that are superficial/flings, or are consisted of one member of the duo that is not as committed to the relationship as the other, end at this point. The 6 month bump is usually the litmus test to gauge whether a relationship has any real foundations. Usually, at this point, you don’t feel too much pain if you break up. Sure, it sucks. But you’re able to move on relatively easily from the relationship, and after the initial sting, you move on with your life and go clubbing with your friends. CHYEA.
Those, however, that make it past this small bump in the road, enter into the next phase of their relationship with each other.
6 Month – 1 Year: The Reality Stage
Congratulations on making it past the first six months! However, now comes the most precarious time of any relationship: The Reality Stage. Just as the name suggests, this stage is pretty self explanatory. Reality kicks in. You find out, to your horror, that the person you thought was perfect is actually, *gasp*, Not perfect! Certain things about them start to “concern” you about whether this relationship will really work for the long term haul. You don’t want to waste your time and emotions on a relationship that’s bound to fail, so you really start to ask yourself deep questions about whether you see this as viable or not. Here is one common question girls ask during this period, and one common question guys ask during this period.
Girl’s Question: What is he doing with his life?
Here is the bottom line. Girls want security. They want to feel like they are taken care of. (And some of the super independent, I don’t need any guy to take care of me types here are going to be absolutely outraged that I’m saying this). But I’m talking about the norm here. Therefore, it’s only natural for a girl to really question whether or not she feels secure with the guy she’s dating. The guy may be spending enormous amounts of time playing video games (not me of course), and she notices it a lot more now. She calls him 2 times a day, and each time her boyfriend’s response is “baby, I’m killing a dragon right now. You know this is my World of Warcraft time. How am I supposed to concentrate on leveling up my character if you keep calling me at this hour? I’ll call you later, after I hit level 59…I promise”. Meanwhile, he’s unemployed, apparently unambitious, and obviously doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. (Okay not all the unambitious types play video games).
Girls try to convince themselves that this is “just a phase” and it’ll wear off soon. Girls talk to all their other girlfriends who convince them, “oh boys will just be boys…they ALL play video games!” Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Some girls are willing to just trust the process and believe that eventually the guy will get his crap together. Others, however, feel like this is a deal-breaker, and they call it quits. To this, the guy usually ends up dating one of the female elves that he met on his video game. Nothing like Video Game romance…
Guy’s Question: Do I REALLY love her?
Guys, generally speaking, have a wandering eye. It’s just so damn hard not to have a wandering eye to a certain extent. What is the wandering eye? It’s not necessarily that the guy isn’t committed to the relationship. It’s more that one of the biggest questions that plague the guy all the time is, “could I get someone better?” I know that’s so jacked up to say, but I want to say right here that girls do it too!! But I think guys do it more.
And so the 6 month – 1 Year question for most guys is, am I really into this girl? Is there someone that I think is better than her, that I could probably date? Will I be happy to settle down with this one girl for the rest of my life? The question plagues them, and they begin to notice little nuances of the relationship that they never noticed before. “Damn, she’s not as nice as I remember her being…”, or “damn, she’s not as pretty without make up as I thought she would be”, or “damn she’s so spoiled”. It’s a jacked up world we live in my friends. But this is reality.
1 Year Hump
This is the culmination of all the questions, doubts, and insecurities you’ve been stockpiling during the 6 month – 1 year period of the relationship. This is when you have your first major fight. A lot of couples at this point decide to take some sort of “break” to think about things again. You guys have been arguing about things for a while now, and you’re really starting to feel the strain and irritation that all this arguing has caused. This is really the point in the relationship where you have to ask yourself this question: Can I marry this person? And that “life defining” decision is a lot more difficult to reconcile than you imagine. Sure, some times when you’re with your lover are absolutely great. But having the same argument over and over again can become quite tasking.
This is the first “make or break” point in your relationship (if it’s really a serious relationship). This is the point where, if you break up, it starts to hurt an awful lot.
1 Year to 2 Year: The Serious Stage
After you get past the 1 year hump, the relationship takes on a much more serious tone. Generally, during this time, you begin talking about marriage a lot more, you start to talk about your future and how it’s going to work out together, and if you’re going to grad school, you talk about how you guys should both move to the same city together. You plan out your lives with the intent and knowledge that you are going to factor the other person into your decision making process. This is the point in the relationship where you feel that, at the very least, you’re going to give the prospect of marriage a legitimate shot. Some people go through a second honeymoon stage here where they feel a new sense of excitement for the relationship. Others decide that even though everything isn’t perfect, they’re going to commit to this relationship and take it as far as it will go.
However, if you didn’t take care of it properly, the 1 year hump can also enter into this period as well. Even after getting over the hump, if you are still uncertain and tentative, then the lingering affects from that stage can haunt you during this time as well, and ultimately end up with the relationship being dragged on needlessly, or being ended abruptly and painfully. Breaking up at this stage is very painful, and can cause a lot of bitterness, anger, disillusionment…etc. It can hurt a damn lot.
2 – 3 Year Done
This last particular stage is very variable. I’ve seen it happen a lot of different ways. At the 2 year point, you have a pretty good grasp if you can marry the person or not. Most girls don’t want to waste any more time with a guy than this alotted 2 years for him to decide whether he’s going to propose or not. This is because girls feel that ever ticking “biological clock” pressuring them to hurry up and get married. Relationships take a lot of work, and no girl wants to waste time with a guy if he’s still undecided. As a result, if the guy hasn’t proposed (or at the very least has been very seriously considering it) at the 2 year point, the girl will usually decide “it’s done”. Sometimes, couples can drag on the inevitable forever (they both know the relationship is doomed but both of them are too afraid of change to admit it so they hold on desperately to the sand that is slipping through their fingers)…but that’s really a dangerous game to play. Cause you could really screw yourself here, and waste your youth on some loafer who’s never planning on taking it to the next stage. I know some people who dated someone for 6 years and dragged it on (even though both of them knew it was probably over at the 2 year point), because they were too afraid of change. That’s a long time to waste, man.
At the 2-3 year point in the relationship, most relationships will either #1. End in painful misery or #2. End in engagement and ultimately marriage.