Building a Better Bloke

On the rise

Posted in Relationships by Sam de Brito on October 25, 2009

By El Guapo

There are obvious signs things are going well in a relationship: you get butterflies when you see each other, you can’t keep your hands to yourself, you lose track of time when you’re together, and you think every love song on the radio was written about you.

There’s equally obvious signs things are going poorly in your relationship, most notably, you argue all the bloody time. And usually over the smallest crap.

But there are also subtle signs that can be just as meaningful. After all, they say it’s the little things that count and they are right …

Five signs your relationship is on the rise

ONE: There’s a great scene in Pulp Fiction where a reluctant John Travolta has to entertain his boss’s wife (Uma Thurman) for the evening.

They’re sitting at the dinner table and there’s an awkward pause in conversation, which prompts Uma to comment: “Don’t you hate that?”

“What?” asks JT.

“Uncomfortable silence,” replies Uma.

She’s right, most of us do hate that but the sooner you realise – whether you’re driving together in a car, or sitting around at home, or out for a meal – that it’s not absolutely necessary to fill every waking moment you’re together with conversation, then you’ll be better for it.

If you can manage to have quiet times without asking that most frustrating of questions: “What’s up?” then you know you’re doing well.

(On the flipside, you know you’re on the slide when comfortable silence becomes total non-communication. When you go out to dinner and your conversation is stilted and littered with “how’s the chicken?” and “can you pass me the salt?” and you’re staring out the window all night, and you DON’T feel to uncomfortable, then I’m afraid troubles are afoot.)

Early on in a relationship you go on lots of dates, visit places you otherwise wouldn’t, wear your best clothes and do exciting stuff.

In fact, you seem to spend half your life planning a weekly itinerary with your new love.

But that’s a tough pace to sustain, so if you can make a smooth transition to a more mundane and routine life, without losing the spark, then you’re probably onto something good.

THREE: By definition, a couple means “two”, but too often we assume it means “one”, because we fall into a trap of thinking we have to do everything together. And we don’t.

If you’re at the point where she can go out on her own once in a while, and so can you, and you don’t spend all night checking up on each other via SMS, and you both arrive home happy and swap stories about the night, and it doesn’t lead to a drama afterwards, then you should feel well pleased.

FOUR: That definition of “couple” also extends to events and gatherings you attend together – you don’t have to be glued to each other.

If you’re sitting at a wedding table or invited to a party you are permitted to go your separate ways and talk to other people. Even people of the opposite sex!

If you don’t end up nagging each other about being neglected at the end of the party then things are moving along nicely.

There’s a really reassuring feeling about being out with a big bunch of people, and only passing by your partner occasionally, but a little kiss or cuddle as you cross paths can make all the difference.

FIVE: She accepts you have a life and a past (after all SHE’S got one too), and conversations about it don’t end in blazing rows.

To be continued with “five signs your relationship is on the slide”.

El Guapo punts, drinks a little, and says no to cigarettes, drugs, talkback radio and fiction novels. He lives in the same Sydney suburb he was born in 40 years ago. He’s worked in the internet for 12 years, but has also written an advice column for teenage girls, been a bookie’s clerk, fishmonger and altar boy. He loves sport, TV, his wife and son, daughter and dog.

If you like his stuff, see his post on Bandwagon jumpers.


5 Responses

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  1. SexyNinjaMonkey said, on October 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

    I’ve had the most trouble with women who cannot stand just relaxing being silent for a while, instead they think i’m ignoring them and start getting annoyed. Even worse is when they think couple means 1, I like just going out by myself and have no problem with a woman who does too… I’m just still waiting to meet a girl who doesn’t hold at least one of those 2 attributes.

  2. Andy said, on October 27, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Wow! This post is amazingly accurate by my watch.

    I love it when I come across a post which sums up my general experiences in a concise manner; and it always seems to be related to de Brito.

    Keep it up! Loving this blog.

  3. Andy said, on October 27, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Wait that made no sense.

    I mean I love it when i find a blog post on the internet which sums up my general experiences in a concise manner; and the majority are published by Sam de Brito.


  4. pre- when things are on the slide said, on October 27, 2009 at 8:05 am

    There is no way around it, relationships are hard work, POST-butterflies. And yes the butterflies always fly away. That’s a given. I heard somewhere that relationships are never static. At any one point the relationship is in a progressive state or in decline.

    During pre-marital counseling, an analogy of a sandcastle was presented. The sandcastle is hardened and strengthened by the heat of the sun, it is also weakened and destroyed by the wash of the waves. Every interaction physical/emotional/spiritual etc. towards our partner is either like the sun or the waves, and we were to take consideration that our future actions and daily interactions were ones that strengthened the relationship, and strengthened your partner. I was completely sold on this analogy, and presented my fiance with the wedding gift of a small ornamental sand castle, with my pledge to try to be a sunny contribution in his life. He of course didn’t “get it”. He couldn’t even remember hearing that analogy in pre-marital. Yeah – mars and venus and all that. Years later, our “sandcastle” was indeed destroyed by the relentless waves. I was cleaning our room one day, picked up that sandcastle. Turned it over in my hands, and instead of dusting it, simply pitched it in the bin. It didn’t mean anything to me any more.

    I think the decline in the state of a relationship has to be salvaged in the early stages (while the sandcastle is still recognisable, and can be rebuilt). If it’s not caught in time, the damage is greater, and so is the work to rebuild. I don’t know what I am saying exactly, except to take care to strengthen your relationships with lots of sunshine – love, consideration, kindness and communication. I think that when it’s too exhausting to continue communicating that the relationship is in the extremely vulnerable state of crumbling like 1000’s of relationships on any given day. Shore up before it gets to that point.

  5. Sam de Brito said, on October 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Great comment

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