You know the story….It’s another Saturday night. Another New Year’s Eve. Another birthday. Here you are again: home alone with Netflix and cold pizza. Pretending it’s your choice. Pretending it doesn’t matter. But it does. You hate being alone. So, you check out the dating apps: Okcupid, Tinder, Match. You sign up, agonize over your profile, and finally download some smiley summer photos. Done.
You said you’d never do this. What if no one notices? Your chest tightens and dread creeps down your back.
You check and recheck your profile. Some nibbles. Days pass. And, then finally someone is there. You respond. You email. It seems OK. You talk on the phone. It seems OK. Anticipation replaces dread. You meet. Coffee at Starbucks. Days later, a walk by the lake. Dinner. A movie. You talk. It’s easy. You laugh. You exhale. Weeks pass, then a month, then three. You’re full blown dating.
OMG! Now what?
Days and nights fill with shared life stories: growing up, past relationships, old disappointments, plans for the future. It’s exciting to discover each other. You put your best self forward. So many things in common. The connection takes hold and takes you by surprise. You step in with cautious openness. How do I know this is real?
And, then, of course, it happens.
You have an argument. You can’t really remember what caused it. You want to believe it’s just a minor difference between the two of you. It doesn’t matter. Or, does it? What does this mean? Is it over? You’re scared and hurt. You don’t know what to do. You talk to your friends. They reassure. But, it doesn’t help.
Your head spins. You can’t focus. You can’t sleep. Worry takes over. You have to do something. Finally, you decide to take the biggest risk ever. You gather your courage and make that phone call: “I want to talk.”
You talk with each other. You listen to each other. You acknowledge and you’re acknowledged. Your feelings matter. Gradually, the knotted confusion between you begins to unravel making room for new understandings. And, a deeper connection.
Months pass. Saturdays together. New Year’s Eve together. Birthdays together. Anniversaries together. You share. You trust. You learn. Separately and together.
You talk. You listen. Conflicts happen. You know resolving them helps you be your best self. Together.