Relationships: Taking the Next Step


The next step. Those are the three words so often said in relationships when they have progressed to another level of intimacy or seriousness. If you had asked me two years ago if I would be experiencing a next step in my previous relationship, I would’ve said it was not likely to happen. I had hopes and dreams of buying a house, being a family, and living together simply and comfortably. Nothing extreme for I didn’t need huge, fancy, or big. Modest and sound was all I really cared about.

My next step with my previous relationship was actually divorce. I had to look at the people we had become and reevaluate my place in life with myself and with him. For years my dreams of a home and being together as a family had been pushed to the recesses of my mind. I was not encouraged to think of the future. I was actually told to stop thinking of a house; told to stop dreaming in general. A person so unhappy with his life at that time couldn’t stand to hear my hopeful wishes. I should’ve also realized it was also due to my being in those hopeful wishes, with him, as a couple. Subconsciously that wasn’t what he wanted.

The next step is always full of emotions, for you may or may not have an idea as to what will happen if you initiate the next step. Or, you may have a full concept. Either way, there is always the feeling of some sort of unknown, hiding in the foreground. The next step after divorce became starting a new relationship. Come what may, it wasn’t on my to-do-list, but happened regardless. I went head first into the unknown, hoping for the best and hoping to not have a broken heart so soon after. New relationships are exciting, thrilling, and at the same time, frightening. I had to re-learn how to behave with someone, for he was around more than my ex-husband. I also had to learn how to respond appropriately to things that upset me. I had spent so many years feeling unheard and shut out, that I had a tendency to either wall up, or overreact. It took me several months to realize that I wasn’t in a relationship with my ex-husband. This was a new person who had to remind me of that very fact. “I’m not him.”

Then when honeymoon stages dwindle and the courting phase ends, you see what you have left in terms of a concrete relationship. I can say I feel like I’ve been with Travis for years when we’ve really been together just over a year. We went back and forth between our respective places for over a year, a few days here and there. It’s time for the next step. It makes sense. We can save money and accomplish togetherness without so much traveling to and fro. At first I wasn’t nervous at all. I was ready to experience what it would be like to have someone home with me at night on a regular basis. This was a new and exciting thing that I had longed to have for years.

Once things fell into place and we found that it wasn’t impossible to achieve such a goal, the mixture of emotions cropped up. The realization that this is truly a next step moment in my life, and that this is different than the first time I moved in with my ex-husband. When I moved in with my ex, he was solidified in a place all his own. I just moved some of my clothes and personal items. Everything else was at my parents’ home.

This time I am getting rid of some items, to downsize, to make room for some items I’ve long missed. To make room for Travis’ items, so we can have a fresh start and have the best of both worlds. This is what one could consider a leap of faith. This is taking a chance. I know what I’m getting myself into, but at the same time I have no idea the impact of what it will have on my heart. I’m told that I will likely feel much better when we are moved in together, that our relationship will really start to grow and flourish. I can also have the stability of someone with me and experience that first hand.

I do know that I can spend time with him and am not annoyed by his whisker hairs in the sink. I know that we work cohesively in the kitchen together, not making four-course meals from scratch, but we do not get annoyed with each other. I know that my cats adore Travis and they enjoy a second lap to cuddle up on. I know that when I wake up in the morning and I look like a hot mess, Travis tells me I’m beautiful. The little things that we already do regularly, combined with my gut feeling, indicate that this is not a bad move on our end. Challenges and stressful moments will come, but so will all of the other positive moments yet to be had.

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