Relationships are challenging. We have to go through several required steps, stages, or layers to get to the best part. I hear some of you thinking love at first sight, and a variety of scenarios that allow the skipping of layers. As a professional, I can't say this, but as me, I must say you are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Now that that has been established, let's move on to required layers. Note that many relationship tragedies could be avoided if people would just adhere to the layers. I like layers or stages best because they don't always have to be in this order, but like an onion, love is best for you when peeled correctly. You can always skip the preliminaries and cut right to the center, but you'll end up in tears.
Each layer is necessary at some point to some degree. I'll list them here and talk about each one later. For the sake of this article and my sanity, I'll call our two people Adam and Eve. Creative, huh?. Something identifiable from the outside attracts (either initially or later on) Adam to Eve or Eve to Adam, hopefully both, but it doesn't require both until later. Often physical, but certainly not always. For me it's usually compassion and intelligence (really!).
2. Situations occur (naturally or not) allowing Adam and Eve to communicate (physical proximity is not always necessary for a time). For instance, Adam could end up working on a campaign with Eve (natural), or Eve could keep showing up in front of or behind Adam's house in lingerie (probably not).
3. Attraction grows (from Adam's, Eve's, or both individuals' perspectives). Best if mutual, but still not necessary yet. This is the turning point, though. Whichever party, Adam or Eve, is still holding out or acting as if he or she is disinterested, must be notified in no uncertain terms that the two of you are indeed in a relationship!
4. Adam and Eve's relationship grows through mutual respect and admiration (this doesn't stop them from making smart-ass comments to or about one another). The relationship thrives on creativity and the desire to do things for one another. Notice the word mutual here. If the attraction is not mutual by this point, either cut your losses and move on, or repeat step two with the understanding that you have become a stalker.
5 & 6. Adam & Eve consummate their mutual affection sexually, notify each other that they want to, or notice they want to be with one another more than anyone else. Doesn't matter much which order (obviously, notifying one another verbally is not necessary in every scenario).
7. Adam and Eve decide they want to stay together and commit to only have sex with each other. To clear up any possible confusion, this also disallows Adam's perusal of porn sites and staring at or drooling over other women, but Eve retains the right to peruse porn sites and stare at or drool over other men as long as Adam is not in the same vicinity. Why this double standard, you ask? Review #4, highlighted for your convenience. Even this, she does for Adam (such a selfless girl). Porn sites keep her abreast of new positions and trends, and staring and drooling perpetuate her sexual creativity.
So, there you have it. Of course, love develops and grows over time, as the couple meets and overcomes challenges together. What do you think?