There Is No “Neutral” In Relationships….
A New Journey Begins....
Start Your Engines...
In the beginning there is an exchange of contact information that leads to additional conversations, which may lead to dating, love, and sex.
During those first few encounters most people are on their “best behavior”.
They strive to look their best, listen intently to what the other person is saying, laughter comes easily, and they avoid saying or doing anything, which might cause a budding relationship to come to a sudden halt.
Calls are returned fairly promptly, emails and texts are responded to in a timely manner as well. Sex is off the charts! (Just about anything and everything goes) especially if it is “spontaneous” The word “NO” is rarely used if ever during this period.
The Open Highway
All cylinders are firing and every moment together is precious.The rest of the world fades into the background whenever you are together.When you are apart there is a dull ache until you hear their voice or see their face again.As was written in a song Billy Ocean once sang, “Suddenly you’re in love…”
There is talk of a lifetime commitment, long-term future plans are made, and at last your hearts have found a home. You’re not only driving you are flying!
Potholes & New Boundaries
One day someone is not in a great mood.
Maybe they had an issue pop up at work, a close friend did something to tick them off, or possibly you said or did something that was considered crossing the line.
The air becomes slightly heavier and now you must create a mental list of what not to say or do. You learn to walk the tightrope of honesty without offending their sensibilities.
Gradually you discover more and more things that tick them off or annoy them in some way. Each person learns where the other person’s “potholes” are located as well as where their shoulder of the road/boundaries begin and end.
One would imagine this new knowledge would be used to “avoid the trouble spots” at all times. Ironically however people sometimes choose to intentionally head into the direction of the potholes. The reasons may vary from trying to get even for a pain they felt was dealt to simply being too tired to care how their words or deeds are taken.
The “emotional commitment” is in place and now there’s no need to be on their “best behavior” anymore.
Shifting the relationship gear into “neutral” is what many people look forward to doing.
Neutral represents to them a “comfort zone”.
Men may begin to belch and fart more openly, use the bathroom with the door open, become less thoughtful/considerate and pay less attention to their significant other.
Women become less concerned about their appearance when it’s just the two of them.
Being around her family and friends takes precedence over spending time with him.
Couples become less considerate of each other's feelings.
“Communication” becomes the code word for (complaints/bitch sessions).
Compliments are rarely paid to one another and insults are sometimes used as a “humorous way” of keeping each other “in line” unless there is angry tone beneath them.
People strive to place their own individual identity above the relationship identity.
Gradually there is less of a mindset of “US & WE” and more “I & ME”.
Sexual frequency and quality takes a dive.
Many call the neutral gear “natural” or “reality”. (We choose our own reality)
Their belief is they are cruising. Their alert level drops.
The main problem with being on “cruise control” is it increases the chances for someone to fall asleep behind the wheel. Often times they don’t see the break-up or the affair coming from around the bend.
Drive & Reverse
In reality there is no such thing as being in a neutral gear in relationships.
There is no cruise control.
You’re either growing together/moving forward or you’re growing apart/moving backwards. You’re either nurturing or neglecting your relationship.
The only two (in motion gears) are drive and reverse.
Relationship progress doesn’t end with the words “I do” or having children.
The joy within a journey comes with moving forward and making new discoveries.
Grant it there are times when you may be too tired to drive but it is in those times when you should ask your partner to take the wheel.
Brake for the view
Although the goal is to move forward it is important to make stops along the way.
It would be a travesty to drive by a magnificent waterfall, the Grand Canyon, or any scenic stop that offered you an opportunity to appreciate how wonderful life is.
No sunset is more beautiful than the one where you are holding your lover’s hand.
Hopefully we’ll all be able to one day have the kind of relationship where we can say,
“My love for you is a journey; Starting at forever, And ending at never.”