Best friends and lover’s stage of relationship
The second stage of relationship is the best friends and lovers stage. This boyfriend/girlfriend period is the middle game of relationship and each partner is usually considering the other as a potential lifelong partner. We have far fewer partners who reach ‘best friends and lovers’ compared to partners that we date in the ‘new and exciting’ stage. The ‘best friends and lovers’ stage of relationship is the healthy thriving version of the boyfriend/girlfriend stage, just as the ‘new and exciting’ stage is the healthy and thriving version of dating.
Success with the skills in the first stage of relationship elevates a relationship to the second stage. If someone lacks skills in the first stage or avoids it and jumps straight to stage 2, which is common, the relationship will tend to be dry, lacking excitement and turn on. It is also much less likely to last.
This stage is characterized by a deepening connection and involvement. The transition skill which moves you from ‘new and exciting’ to ‘best friends and lovers’ is the skill of ‘being vulnerable’.
Approval and honesty are the first skills necessary for this greater depth of relationship. We combine honesty and approval as one skill because real honesty (well delivered) is the ultimate form of approval and vice versa. At the start of a potential relationship people will tend to approve automatically, putting their best foot forth. For the relationship to thrive it must be a skill that each person is reliable to perform under pressure. Honesty or real communication is the basis of a lasting romantic relationship or friendship.
When dating someone, although honesty is important, the relationship is more about fun. Partners generally don’t want to hear your deepest secrets or marriage plans. It simply isn’t appropriate in the ‘new and exciting’ stage. Whereas, as ‘best friends and lovers’ opening up is necessary for the partners to bond.
The second skill of ‘Lifestyle design’ facilitates the logistics of the relationship. Time and space must be created for the blossoming relationship. In the first stage, one is so enthralled that time is made and you don’t see the person that much anyway. As ‘best friends and lovers’ you want to see them much more often. Life must be reconfigured for this. Nowadays, there are so many pulls on people’s time that sometimes relationships don’t stand a chance amidst all the other things there are to do and handle. This is the skill of structuring one’s life to support the relationship and will ultimately end in the partners living together. Even, and sometimes especially, when living together time must be made for being together in a purely enjoyable and pleasurable way.
Some people avoid this redesign of their lives out of avoidance or fear and other’s rush into it way to early out of need and fear of losing there partner. If the relationship progresses stage by stage in a healthy manner there will be a natural timing to these stages that will feel right.
‘Sex education’ is the last crucial skill required at this stage. The free turn on and attraction of the early stage begins to dissipate. The novelty is gone. You are really getting to know the other person, good and bad. If each develops sexual skills around giving and receiving pleasure, creating turn on in themselves and their partner, and the skills involved in orgasm (especially extended orgasm), then the sexual and romantic connection will reach new heights far beyond the original honeymoon period. The alternative is that the romantic and sexual connection dies down, usually causing the end of the relationship as partners look for “someone they have better chemistry with”.