Why is the question “What are we” so important at the beginning of a relationship?


Why is the question “What are we” so important at the beginning of a relationship?

It’s hard to imagine in today’s dating world, but there was a time when the fact that you were spending a lot of time together, seeing each other, kissing and sleeping together was a clear sign that you wanted to be together or that you really wanted to be together. is. Maybe even want to get married. There was a time when the saying “Who cuddles is fix zam” was not just a joke. A time before Situationships and the question: “What are we? Where are we actually going?”.

While the three words “I love you” used to clearly define the status of a relationship, “What are we?” superseded. Because you can’t just assume that both want the same thing and give the relationship the same value and potential. And yes, many people who date are tired of this trend. But it also brings freedom and opportunity.

Couple psychologist Esther Perel devotes an entire blog post to this question and situationships on her website, stating, “Situationships are difficult to define and even more difficult to grieve. Many of us worry that asking ‘What are we?’ destroys the playful, light-hearted nature of budding love and the arrangement could quickly lead to an awkward ending. But it doesn’t have to be, whether we’re content with the status quo (separate lives bound by mutual affection) or not we wish for a closer connection, the conversation about the question ‘What are we?’ an important part of creating a shared reality with healthy boundaries and expectations.”

Absolute freedom
Because by clarifying the situation and the limits and rules, you can avoid being hurt unnecessarily or hurting the other. And yes, at the beginning of this undefined relationship, not knowing where this is all going can have its own magic. As long as there is no definition, there are no expectations. And that means that every moment you spend together is only because you want it to. Every joint experience does not happen because of expectations, but because of deep affection. And that freedom can feel incredible.

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No rules
At the same time, with freedom comes insecurity. And while one person might want classic life goals like kids, a home, and marriage, that’s not what the second person has in mind. Dating was easier back in the days when that question was redundant. You looked for a spouse, got married, stayed together until the end of days. There were clear social norms and a checklist.

Today, many singles are alone for longer, get divorced and throw themselves back into the dating market later or don’t want to stake out the classic goals. Many want to keep their independence or their own life in a relationship and are not ready to connect their life 100% with the second person. And that’s not necessarily a problem.

Esther Perel explains, “We can love someone and not want to tie our lives together. We can love someone and want to keep things casual. We can love – and have relationships with – multiple people at the same time if we’re all on the same page. It helps to consider the needs and desires of both sides… and that requires honest conversations. Modern love comes in many forms. And if we don’t talk about which form we want, we have to assume that we have the same thing want.”

talk it out
Everyone needs freedom and security. Only how much of these two components is necessary for someone to feel comfortable differs. There are no wrong answers here. Esther Perel warns against not honestly saying what you want when asked what you want from this relationship, but saying what your partner wants to hear. And even if the answers are different at first glance, it makes sense to ask: Does the word or the definition of partner bother you? What rules are you uncomfortable with? what can you imagine Or is it me?

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Perhaps the problem is less the feelings you have for each other and more the definitions or norms that society has. You may not come together in this negotiation. And that can hurt. That’s perfectly fine too. You don’t have to downplay the pain and say, “But we weren’t even together.”

Esther Perel suggests remembering that people we love are not necessarily the same people we can build a life with. Life stories are not the same as love stories. We can have a wonderful short love, detached from the reality of our lives, and it can be a perfect love story. But that doesn’t mean that this story has much to do with our lives and the ideas we have of them.

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