How to get over the awkward relationship hump

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Our relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr tells us when it's time to have "the chat".

We’ve all been there, wondering where things are going after you’ve dated for a couple months. I’ve written about the main stages of dating many times and I want to flag up the ‘Attachment Stage’ that usually arrives at about five-six months into dating. 

In this stage, you certainly don’t consider yourselves single any more, you’re coupled-up.

You’re also still feeling loved up and excited about things – oxytocin levels are high and you have lots to discover about each other. One thing, though, that you both discover at this stage is, both of you aren’t perfect. This is a potential breakup zone and you might both wonder, can this relationship last the distance?

Friends feature big time in this stage:

You find yourself talking to friends about their good qualities and their faults. This is a time for big discussions about what you really want and whether you want to get more serious with them. Friends are an excellent sounding board.

These aren’t necessarily negative conversations but they allow you to sift through doubts you might have.

As well as now having to face differences about things like what you two do at the weekend, how much time to spend with friends, whether you plan a holiday. If either of you have doubts, these can plant seeds for arguments. 

Also, many couples at this stage of your dating timeline, face some crucial deal-breakers (like if you’re both on the same page about trying for children down the line). Although sometimes these arise later on.

It’s not all bad news, because apart from these dilemmas and maybe some doubts arising, there’s also the wonderful feeling of starting to share your life with someone in a deeper way. 

When you’re feeling really loved-up, expect some full-blown ‘scenario-rising’ as I call it - for instance, you daydream about every detail of your wedding (if marriage is on your agenda!), your potential babies, what sort of home you might create together, etc. 

But on the days when you’re facing dilemmas, and you’re wondering whether to raise it with them, always remember there’s nothing wrong – and everything right – with raising things that worry with you or that you’ve had differences over.

When you want to raise a particular issue try these:

*Begin with a positive – something good about what’s happening between you before you raise anything that seems negative.

*Always sound confident about the ‘thing’ you want to discuss. Your confidence spreads to them that it’s ‘just’ something to discuss together and not something to be frightened of.

*Choose your time wisely – when you know you’ve enough time to discuss it and neither of you are stressed. You may be bursting to raise it but if they’ve had a horrible day and it’s a bad idea to raise it then.

*Ask if they’ve been thinking about this - then listen to them. Don’t interrupt - interrupting is never a good communication technique! 

*Be ready with a suggestion or solution before you even start the conversation. Check what they think about it and if they have an alternative or compromise solution.

This Attachment Stage can lead to a strong lasting relationship but only if you’re prepared to handle things as they arise. Be brave, you can do it!

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