According to relationship research, there are two big types of turning points for relationships:
Reflective turning points – meeting partner’s family for the first time à sparks the discussion “Hey, what’s going on with us?”
Causal turning points – partner cheats on you and it sparks a different kind of discussion “Hey, we need to talk”
These are what I like to call a TSN Turning Point
According to relationship researchers, there are a number of stages to relationship development. Here is a hybrid version of the models:
Initiation (first impressions, light convo to see if person good fit for you)
Experimentation (partners try to find common interests/hobbies, most people never move beyond this stage because you might think “This person is boring, yo”)
Intensification (people ramp up disclosure to see what kind of impression they’re making once ‘dating’ has started happening, if the person introduces the other as their partner/boyfriend/girlfriend, does the other person lose their bananas? What happens when one of the partners goes away for the weekend? Do they stay in contact?)
“What’s going on between us?” (Often coincides with the condom conversation…hopefully!! If people were using them in the first place!!. So someone might say ““I’d really like to stop using condoms. Buuuuuut, that might mean we need to discuss where we are both at with things…are you seeing anyone else?”
And btw – the condo to go sans condom SHOULD be followed up with 2 other key questions: “When is the last time you were tested” and “How many sexual partners have you had since you were last tested?” = these are really really important questions!!!
Now, according to some relationship models, the sexual relationship would develop after the conversation about what is going on with us – but I think we all know that for many young adults that has changed and sex happens WAY before this convo. But back to the ‘model’….
Integration (two individuals start being known as a couple, do things together, only show up as a couple to social functions)
Bonding (people make a public commitment to other person – such as marriage or nowadays, a much more popular way to show you are legit in a relationship – being “in a relationship” with the person on Facebook). For more info on ‘becoming Facebook official, see this post by my colleague and BFF, Amy Muise
So we’re all good right?
But then the bottom falls out…
(see the Break-Up post for the rest of the story)