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Pace of a relationship(6 Posts)
Hi everyone, I am a long time lurker first time poster. I have seen many people get great advice on this forum and I'd be interested in what you think of my situation.
My boyfriend and I are in our early 30s and our relationship has moved very slowly, which we have both been happy with. We have been together for one year and 7 months and it was only 15 months in that either of us was able to really allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other and properly express our needs. It was at this time that we obtained a deeper understanding of the relationship and it has really helped us to move forward.
We spend extended periods of time together when we go away on holiday but as it stands we see each other one night during the week and spend the weekends together. Occasionally we see each other more or less but this is usually how it works - seeing each other more during the week isn't really possible as we live an hour apart and our work locations are far away.
We have spoken about the future and are of the understanding that we are working towards building something, but that it will probably be pretty slow for reasons I will highlight below. I have been happy with this until recently when I have been comparing our relationship to others' eg many people by this stage in a relationship are married with children, or at least living together.
So the reason we are doing things slowly is because we both have 'issues'. We are both independent and enjoy our own space and for both of us this is our first long term relationship.
In my case, I spent my twenties in casual relationships, not wanting anything more for fear of being hurt. This is due to events in my childhood. From the outside looking in, we had the perfect family life. My dad was a well known solicitor in the town and highly regarded as a professional and a family man. We lived in the most exclusive street in the town and my brother and I went to good schools. However, my world came crashing down at the age of 12 when it was revealed that my dad - the man who I trusted and looked up to - had been having an affair. My brother and I were told one evening and the next day it was back to normal - we were not allowed to speak of it. I couldn't believe what had happened, this is something that happens on Eastenders, not in my family! I remember at the time making a conscious decision to never trust anyone else ever again because if my dad could do something like this, anyone could. He told my mum he'd never do it again, low and behold when I was 14 it turned out he'd still been seeing the OW, further confirming my decision to rely only on myself.
In my boyfriend's case, his parents were emotionally and practically absent so he learned to rely on himself at a young age. He moved out at the age of 18 and they didn't even help him with it. They take very little interest in his life and never visit. He has lived alone for 10+ years, is very independent, needs his own space and does not like relying on anybody else.
Our backgrounds are the reason why our relationship has moved slowly - it has taken us time to heal from our childhood wounds and learn that we are safe with each other and that we can be vulnerable. This is still a work in progress though - I would not feel ready to move in with him yet, for example, but I don't think this is a reflection of the relationship, it just means I have more healing to do.
The relationship is great in so many ways - we get on with each others' friends, he makes me laugh, he's very affectionate, he calls/texts when we're not spending time together etc and we have made progress in terms of opening up to each other and understanding each other.
Does the pace of a relationship really matter? Should I be worried or should I stop comparing?
They say comparison is the thief of joy! You seem to have good reason for not wanting to rush things, which is sensible. Far better that you take your time so you are sure of your feelings. It doesn't matter what timescale other people operate to, just do what feels right for your relationship. It's not relevant what other people do or think, just be true to yourselves. You should lovely, and I wish you all the best!
It's only a problem if you want to go at different paces but it seems you are? and worried about what you should be doing? Well a year and a half isn't reallly that long and I would say more sensible not to rush into living with someone too soon.
There is no universally accepted and mandated timeline on relationships. What matters is that you're BOTH on the same page and comfortable with the pace (which is seems you are). And are able to communicate and work towards a joint future, whatever and whenever that may be.
You seem very self aware and astute, so I think you're doing just fine, and have good reasons for being cautious. The day you feel like you need/want more, discuss it with your bf.
Stop comparing - since no couple is the same, it's futile.
There is no set time frames for relationship progression. Some people move fast others prefer to take more time. I think it’s great that you are not rushing things.
If both of you are ok with how things are moving along then there is not a problem. Stop comparing yourself to others as it will only result in your unhappiness and possibly issues within your relationship .
Thanks everyone. I am happy with how things are progressing although I think I would like the next 18 months to move a bit quicker than the last. Having said that, I would prefer to build something strong slowly rather than rush into something without good foundations. I suppose I am a bit concerned that both our pasts may mean that we are never able to fully leap into full commitment? But then again I never thought I'd have a long-term, meaningful relationship so I suppose anything is possible.
You are all right that comparison is unhelpful. We have spoken and seem to be on the same page and I need to trust his word that he wants what I do - this is very difficult for me as I am distrustful of anything anyone says thanks to my dad's behaviour in saying that he wouldn't have another affair yet doing it anyway. My boyfriend has not misled me in the past so I have no reason to believe he would do it now.
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