Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

February 27, 2008

Relationship Growth Spurts

Some relationships move shockingly fast. You meet somewhere random (and rarely through any service you actually paid for), go out on a casual afternoon date that turns into love, then cohabitation, followed by engagement - all within a two month time period.

Other relationships seem to go in ultra slow motion. You date for 8 years, live together for 2 more, and then endure a yearlong engagement.

And then there's somewhere in between, which is what I seem to strive for. So what is that magical factor that determines the "right" amount of time to move to that next level in a relationship? And just because it feels "right" for you, doesn't mean your partner is in line. You could be thinking, "I'm ready to spend the rest of my life with this person," while he/she is thinking "Shit, have we already been dating that long? Yikes."

The chance of two random people on this planet actually meeting and being on the same timeline (whether conscious or subconscious) seems like a total and complete fairy tale. Except that it isn't a fairy tale. I see it happen all the time. To people I actually know.

Lately I'm noticing other couples around me that have managed to hit the invisible trigger that puts their relationships on super time warp.

One of these couples includes my friend Gouda and her boyfriend (of 7 months I think?) Babyface. When they first got off the ground, it was a bit of a bumpy start. Around three months in, I started worrying that we might see the all too familiar 3-month relationship meltdown. But, thankfully, I was wrong and they seemed to finally hit their stride. But a normal stride. Normal, that is, until Olivia came along.

Who's Olivia? She's a 2 1/2 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that just breaks your heart with her preciousness. Gouda's parents received the puppy as a gift and just couldn't take on the responsibility at their age. That's when Gouda stepped up and said, "I'll take her!" She knew it was a huge decision and one that would change her life, especially after living alone for years with the freedom to take off on spur of the moment trips. However, before she said yes to the dog, she and Babyface talked it over and what came out of the conversation was not just the decision to get a new puppy, but a glimpse into their future - as co-parents.

All of a sudden this normally paced couple (normal according to me - a total oxymoron I realize) became the doting (if slightly overprotective) new parents of a bouncing baby puppy. The feeding, care, training of this little creature became their first "couple project," and one that let them subconsciously show off their parenting styles to each other. They went from "dating" to "raising a family together" in a matter of two days.

I also just found out about another couple that went hyperspeed, but for an entirely different reason. When I last saw them in December (a few weeks before my surgery), they were just pretty good friends within a larger group of "tennis people," who socialized frequently both on and off the tennis court. By the time I emerged from my two month recovery cocoon, I found out they not only were romantically involved but that they had moved in together.

With one year of mutual friendship under their belts, it doesn't seem all that crazy that they might move so fast. I mean, the main reason the whole dating to marriage process takes so damn long in the first place is because it takes a few months just to figure out if the person is who they say they are! (I don't know about you, but I've had a few real lyin' sons of bitches in my dating past. ) If you've already got the basic trust part figured out as friends, then you are easily months ahead of any other new couple when you start messing around romantically. I like this method of hyperspeed. And trust me, if I could have stomached it with any of my guy friends over the years, I would have (no offense guy friends!).

Nonetheless, I can't really decide how I feel about their decision to move so fast into cohabitation. But what the f*ck does it matter what I think about it anyway!? They are both incredibly nice people who want the same thing at the same time - a serious relationship quickly leading to marriage, family etc. I say, praise a miracle when you see one. Hallelujah!

And then there's me and Wine Guy. We were chugging along at a pretty acceptable medium speed for the first 8 months of our relationship (I should know since I marked just about every relationship milestone along the way in this blog). And then, around month 9, something happened that sped up our timeline just enough to take notice. It wasn't a new pet or a preexisting relationship, which explains why it didn't feel quite so shocking.

No, this trigger was more enduring and painful - surgery. The scariness of the event itself, combined with a painful recovery that required from him a great deal of compassion, generosity of his time and spirit, and plenty of quality time with my mother. If that didn't kick a relationship into high gear, I don't know what would.

I won't bore you with the sappy stuff again (mostly because you can read it all by reviewing my January/February 2008 entries), but I will summarize by saying that I went in to the hospital convinced that Wine Guy would get tired of dealing with my pain and dump me, and came out of the experience 8 weeks later even more in love with him and an agreement that we would move in together sometime in the next few months. I just hope that our next relationship growth spurt will be caused by something that doesn't hurt as much. Like a puppy.



kristin said...

wow, congratulations! This is good news. Is available? (hee hee! ;)

mimi of sexagenarian and the city said...

dt, i'm so happy for you. you sound so wise. even though i'm probably old enough to be yr mother -- actually probably older than yr mother -- i think of you as a role model in relationships. i'm very, very glad you guys are going to move in together.

and about time-paradigms: my own relationship w. plan c seems to be on super fast-forward. but it's working. and, to use one of the worst cliches of internet dating,
we 'laugh a lot.'

Samantha said...

WOW! Congratulations!

lizriz said...

Congratulations! :)

Loverville said...

Awwww.... mazel tov! Keep us posted.

And I already know that he doesn't have a brother in NY... what about a cousin? ;-)

Nicole said...

You can never underestimate a man in love. I remember being at the mall while dating DH and saying that I wanted to look at rings. I wasn't hinting, honest, I just wanted to look at any ring. He got mad and said "I'll buy a ring when I'm ready."

He went the next day and bought one. I was totally surprised because I thought it would be another year or so!

Nicole said...

OH - I hit "publish" before I said Congrats! You're on the next step!

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