Relationship Stage 2: Rediscovering the Differences That Make the Difference

Differences That Make The Difference

You wake up one morning only to find out that you are lying in your own bed with a complete stranger next to you. And then you ask yourself how to find the differences in this picture – from yesterday and today. Is it some kind of joke? You might be able to guess that I’m describing the “waking up” after the blissful sleep that was the honeymoon.

And even if the first stage lasted for a whole calendar year, waking up is simply an inevitable end to a time of precious sleep. Alas, even the strongest coffee cannot sober you up after you’ve made that jump into the new reality.

Let me share with you – the same happens with all couples all around the world, always and without a miss. Accept this new step as the time when we need to accept the statement:

Differences deserve to be recognized and celebrated

The second relationship stage that normal, healthy couples pass through is one of rediscovering their differences and managing the uneasiness that comes with it. Despite what you believed in Stage 1, there really are differences between you if for no other reason than you grew up in very different cultures from each other. These are the differences that deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

D x 3 is the formula of Stage 2

The three D’s — Disenchantment, Disillusionment, and Disappointment, arise as you now become more aware of each other’s imperfections—maybe even for the first time. Your real self now comes to the fore again.

The Courting Character and the Real Self

A really important point to remember here is that the more out of character the courting behaviours are from the real self the greater the negative impact will be on your relationship. If the courting character is not too different then the impact will be minimal and the couple will likely find their way to a more realistic future together. However if the courting character is totally removed from the real person, that is who they represented in their courting character was nothing like who they really are, then it is likely that the relationship will struggle to find a satisfactory way through this stage.

Remember – the differences between us are what define us as individuals, and hence one’s natural desire is to show the best of himself/herself in order for his/her partner to like him/her.

The Changes in Relationship Stage 2

To return to the healthy aspect of this stage, the desire to spend more time separate from each other, or with friends so long ignored or neglected, involving yourself once again in long-abandoned interests, can potentially raise questions about whether you really are still in love for you and your partner.

Sometimes your partner comes to this stage first, beginning to question his or her closeness to you, maybe even feeling claustrophobic or stifled by it. A need to step back from the relationship, at least to some degree, can become very compelling. Sometimes the person feeling this describes it as a need for “space” or “time.”

Such a moment can be very stressful, particularly because members of a couple don’t come to the need to re-establish independence at the same time. It can leave the other member thinking that this is the end of the relationship. They may even try to do whatever they can to return the relationship to the way it was when it began, which sadly can’t work.

Just as we can’t turn back time on our aging nor can we turn back time on our relationships.

I will be more than happy to hear about your own experience. Write to me and tell me how your partner and you have passed through Stage 2, when faced with your differences and about how you overcame these differences. I am expecting your letters and I thank you for your trust.

To the wonder of you,

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