Relationship Phases


By: Rosie 

Phase 1: You meet your new guy and the attraction between the two of you sets up the beginnings of your relationship.

Phase 2: You are spending *enough* time with your new BF and he feels comfortable with you, which includes his being comfortable to tell you some LW stories. You respond with kindness, compassion, understanding, and listen, because LW stories are felt as just another way to get to know this man.

Phase 3: Your feelings for each other deepen and there is the suspicion that this relationship could possibly result in sharing the rest of your life with each other. This is the time when the woman begins to feel bothered by those things that previous to this phase she listened to with objective interest (LW-stories) and is beginning to notice other LW-attachments that are residual in her BF's world, i.e., LW-stuff.

Phase 4: You know you are in love with this man; and he says that he feels the same for you. This is the phase when the LW-tape, as we know it to be, becomes a source of Real pain and frustration. Typically, this is also the phase where the woman begins to search out WLW! Commonly, the woman has not found the courage within herself to fully bring to her SO's (the term BF is now insufficient to describe the relationship) attention that which weighs so heavily on her mind and heart. At this point the woman questions whether this relationship will work out, if the relationship is worth it, weighs out the merit of her SO as a life partner and as a result, confusion mounts in her because her feelings do not work themselves out in the Love that she feels for her man or hears from her man as his feelings pertain to her. The woman is acutely aware that this relationship is like no other.

Phase 5: With support and encouragement from others, plus her own growing feelings of frustration and pain over feeling "second best" or "invisible" or "less than" the woman begins to question the possibility that her man is still grieving, or if he is still in love with a dead woman. What were once stories to get to know him are now in her mind felt as his "testimonies" of forevermore love for *another* woman. The LW-things that she has seen and contended with become increasingly intolerable for her. The woman, quite simply, wants her man all to herself, and is continually nagged by thoughts and questions as to how she can make that happen - for the both of them (her SO and herself). She has become well-seasoned in this relationship and quite easily can begin to list all of the things that are bothersome to her,,,,an itemization of her own particular LW-tape can be accomplished. She begins to feel her sense of Entitlement to a relationship that is free of all others, as well as any other intrusion into her relationship, while at the same time questions WHY "it all had to be like this" for her. She begins to compare her relationship to not only her past, and she's listened *enough* to his past, so attention is turned to others' relationships.

Phase 6: The woman begins to find her voice in the relationship. She has gathered the courage necessary to realize that only her SO can satisfy her questions, can quell her fears, can solve the issues that have been created between the two of them. She is also well aware of the fact that it is her SO who has created the issues, and there is the sense of mounting resentment that needs to be addressed because of this realization. This is also the phase where the woman begins to question HOW she can convey her thoughts and feelings to her SO and at the same time worries that if she does address her concerns with him, he may not want her, or their relationship, any longer. The woman is still more concerned with her SO's feelings than her own.

Phase 7: With more time that has elapsed in this relationship, the woman knows that none of her issues have been solved. She knows that direct communication is vital. She obsesses over her courage, or lack thereof, in "suddenly" engaging him in a style of communication that would be unfamiliar to him, not to mention the fact that this style of communication is, typically, foreign for her as well. This is a phase that is concerned with building up Good Communication muscles. There is a tentativeness that results for both of the people in the relationship at this time; both are concerned with how they can be Careful to protect themselves, the relationship, and still get their issues resolved. This phase is like a choreographed dance of words, and is often the turning point in the relationship bringing the couple closer together; albeit this is the time when some of these relationships fall apart. Assuming that the relationship survives it's initial stage, it is during this phase that the woman enjoys feeling her success as HIS SO. Please re-read that last statement, it bears repeating. It is during this phase that he no longer engages in telling his LW-stories, and will be reactive should anyone else begin to tell stories of his LW - all with the purpose of protecting HIS SO.

Phase 8: This phase is one in which the couple's communication skills become more finely honed. It is during this time that the woman's SO engages in assuring her and re-assuring her that his love for her is real and true. It is also during this phase that her SO takes her words more to heart, and the result of that is that more and more LW-things are removed, or some other such act on his part. The woman becomes more comfortable and secure within her environment, within herself, and subsequently, with her SO. The man reaps the rewards of his efforts, and one-by-one, they, as a couple, feel more intact within themselves and the relationship as a whole. This is, typically, the time when plans for their future are made.

Phase 9: The woman heals from her LW-tape, the pain that is her history with this man. The man is now acutely aware that he has played THE role in causing her anguish and will continue to do his best to set any of her *residual* fears aside. This is a bittersweet phase; and being such, unbidden pain from the past can haunt the woman. It is during this phase when LW-related dates of previous importance can be an issue for her, while for her SO they are just days like any others.

Phase 10: Enough time has elapsed so that the woman feels settled with the fact, as they have been proven to her, that there will be no issue (i.e., LW-related dates) that can not be addressed and put to rest. The act of laying an issue down is done more swiftly and easily than ever before. The couple now knows each other well enough that they can both anticipate one another's responses to things as previous "triggers" *could* present themselves again. There is a pre-emptive strike, so to speak, to ward off possible angst; and they both contribute to this being the case. At this point both people wish for their past to not have been the way it was, and have their sights set on a brighter future; and there is no doubt that both want their future life spent together. This is often the time in the relationship when the woman gets to hear Reality - how LW really was, what that marriage was really like. If LW was portrayed in his previous stories in glowing, saintly, terms, more and more truth about LW as being as fallible and human as anyone else who walked the earth comes out. These types of LW stories are felt like finding a crystal clear lake of drinking water to the dehydrated woman's spirit.

Phase 11: With much work the woman's LW-tape is destroyed. There may be momentary, fleeting, thoughts of how something used to be painful for her but there is no doubt that the healing of the "tape" has been done. Life, finally, and felt as a relief, seems Ordinary ---in the best possible sense of the word.

Phase 12: Living in the proverbial light at the end of that long and difficult tunnel! The woman begins to easily, naturally, say things like: LW who? Oh, who cares about LW? And she means it!!! Her SO/DF/DH lives his side of the partnership like he "forgets" he ever had an LW. Life is ALL about them; continuing to strengthen their bond with one another. (This is also the time when the woman shouts her battle cry: I HATE WIDOWERS,,,you see, she can do this now, because to her, her man is no longer a widower! and she knows that she's no longer a woman loving a widower!)

Copyright 2005 - WLW



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