How does one know when a relationship is really a relationship? Very good question for all of us to ponder don't you think? Generally, when you meet someone and decide to persue some type of relationship, you most often think if the other person agrees to go out with you multiple times, one begins to think that you "click" and that maybe, just maybe this time it might work out. Do we all live in a dream world? I must make it clear that I am not "profiling" either sex as both genders are guilty of this practice. Sometimes when you meet and things click along beautifully you just automatically assume that they are just as interested in you as you are them, not always the case and we need to be aware of the signs that tell us this.
When you are beginning a relationship, regardless of the type of relationship be it romantic, friendship or purely physical we tend to be altruistic about the future of that relationship, women especially, we start thinking about the future, making a family etc, would he be a good husband, father, etc. The men think about what is under your clothes, how far can they get with you and it all goes right back to "Men are Hunters / Women are Nurturers". We want to take care of them and they want to capture us. OK, time to be realistic here and face the cold hard facts of life, relationships are not made or created in 3 dates, sometimes not in 8 or 10. The best course of action in beginning any relationship is to take it one day at a time, and expect nothing and you won't be disappointed. Not totally true, since we as women tend to get attached much quicker than men do, but if you keep it on a "friendly" level and keep the physical aspects of a relationship at bay, you remove any complications as a result. I know, I know, am I crazy telling you not to have a physical relationship? Not really, men are hunters, they want to hunt you, capture you and if you are an "easy catch", 9 times out of ten, the thrill of the hunt is gone and they move on to another safari.
Relationships that are worth being involved in take time and effort on both parts. Take the time to get to know this person, their likes, dislikes, little quirks, bad habits, meet their friends and family. Have you ever met someone and thought they were everything, wonderful, etc., etc., and then met their friends and saw a completely different person and wondered "who is that?", well, it happens, learn to be observant of their mannerisms, the personality change (if any) and how they react around other people. A lifetime is a very long time to commit to someone and how horrendous to find out that the person you fell in love with is not who you thought they were and realized you fell for Dr Jekyl and Mr/Ms Hyde. Then what do you do, run as fast as you can, suffer the agony of your blindness or deal with it and try to change them? Hmmmmmm, my guess is that most would run the opposite direction, stop answering the phone or block the person. All of that can be avoided if you keep your eyes wide open to what is happening and more importantly what is not happening in a budding realtionship. Take the blinders off and be aware of changes, be open, ask questions and answer them honestly. Understand and remember when any relationship ends, someone ALWAYS gets hurt and there is no way to avoid that fact of nature.
Relationships can be everything you want them to be with time and effort on both parts and we all do not progress at the same speed. Take your time, when you have reached a level of comfort with this person where you can talk about anything, they include you in every aspect of their lives and want nothing more than to share every moment of life with you and you feel the same then you have the beginnings of a relationship that must be nurtured forever. I feel compelled to ask you please, please, please, never ever, live your life, change your life, and live day to day based on what the other person wants or expects of you. You, are an individual and never should you lose sight of your individuality in a relationhip, do not put your family and friends on the back burner, find time for them in your new life. Focus on the fact that you are bringing someone new into your world just as they are bringing you into theirs and when it is right, everything works in unison. Relationships are part of what builds our character and makes us better stronger people. We are who we are because of past relationships, learn from them and use that knowledge to make this one or the next one the best one or the last one and never stop working at it, the rewards could last a lifetime.
Linda Reeves is a 47 year old columnist for Cupids Blackbook, she lives in the American Midwest.