Relationship goes through different stages before it results into an intimate one. Intimacy, as the name implies, has to do with deep connection. At this point, you can say the two people involved are in love.
For intimacy to be established, you must take your relationship through three stages.
The first stage is introduction. At the introductory stage, the both parties get to know each other for the first time, they get to know their names if they are formally meeting for the very first time, who they are and where they reside. They exchange contacts, as well as get to know what each other does for a living.
I happened to interview six guys randomly on the streets of Port Harcourt on what their experiences were in starting up a relationship with their partners, their response was, “first you ‘Chyke the girl”. This means you first introduce yourself to the girl. This depicts the fact that most relationships start with introduction. Rather than jumping the gun, first things should go first.
The next stage involves mingling and tingling. At this stage, both parties thrive to get fond of each other, sometimes the guy goes out of his way to impress the girl by taking her to movies, eateries, amusement parks etc. Most bad girls do take advantage of such times, feeling it’s the best time to eat anything they like at the expense of the guy.
Meanwhile, the supposed essence of this stage is to get to know each other better; his likes and dislikes, her likes and dislikes. Sometimes they get to tell each other about their families, parents and siblings.
This is a critical stage in building a relationship into intimacy. Most guys use this stage to study and judge a girl’s appetite for food, lust for flashy things and taste for excessive spending.
A typical example is the case of Jude who was in search of a serious relationship. He had to end his relationship at this stage because the girl he was about to go into a relationship with didn’t know how to control her appetite, she ate everything she saw. Jude said whenever they went out, she always ordered for the most expensive items on the menu. He really wasn’t that type of an excessive spender but a meticulous budgeting type of guy. He had no choice but to terminate the relationship at this stage.
Bonding happens to be the final. At the stage of bonding, the partners are already used to each other, there is less trying to impress each other, rather they are now fond of each other. They both desire each other’s company, this mostly involves less outing and more home visit and privacies. They both take turns on inviting each other home. In a typical African relationship, the girl is often given the responsibility of preparing the meals at either of the both parties’ house. This props up some emotional and sexual feelings, a strong connection between each other, the term ‘just friends’ now gives way and an intimate relationship begins.
If any relationship goes through these three stages and survives, then you know the both parties involved are meant for each other.
Some relationships crash at the first stage, some at the second, while others manage to get to the third stage and the fear syndrome steps in, they start feeling scared, start asking questions like: should I do this?, is this real?, won’t he/she dump me later for someone else?, is he or she the right person? etc.
Chisom, who is a banker said when her guy started to invite her over to his house, she became scared, she kept asking herself, “what is really happening between I and Kola?” Kola was her date, she kept feeling Kola’s proclamation of love to her wasn’t genuine, even when Kola went all the way to introduce her to his friends and family, she was still skeptical of advancing to the bonding stage. This took her a couple of months to trust and fully give herself into the relationship but thanks to Kola who remained steadfast, patient and committed to the relationship. She overcame this fear gradually with frequent visit and Kola’s patience in not rushing her into anything intimate paid off. Today, they are married with two lovely kids.
It is always good to indentify the stage your relationship is and know what to expect at every stage. Don’t take advantage of your partner, always have an open heart, past relationships only teach lessons but should not cloud your judgement on your present relationship.
I believe with time, we would handle the different challenges of all three stages and how to overcome them, for the mean time keep living, keep loving and keep having fun.
Azodoh, a freelance journalist, resides in Port Harcourt.