The In-Between: The Best Part Of A Relationship Is Right Before It Begins

by Zara Barrie

You know that tiny, ever-so-blissful space that resides delicately in between the first few dates with a new partner and being knee-deep in an actual, real-life relationship with him or her?

I refer to this precious, fleeting, point of time as the "in-between phase."

We're past the pesky, distressing thoughts of impending doom that inevitably scar the few first dates but haven't quite ventured into the repressive shackles of coupledom yet.

The in-between phase is that glorious state of being where the possibilities are endless. It's before cynicism creeps in. Before negativity and sarcasm rear their ugly little heads and f*ck everything up.

It's the space in which we lose ourselves in the vibrant sparkle and are immersed in the glittering daydream of what this new, exciting flame could develop into.

We wonder if the future will attain the twinkling, sweet sounds of wedding bells OR if it will be a hot and fiery, short-lived affair.

The in-between phase is what turns us into a fluttering mess every time we hear the "ding" of a new text message.

It's what consumes our brains with thoughts about WHEN we will see our romantic possibility next and what we should wear in order to impress him or her to the fullest capacity.

It's sad, but true: The best part of a relationship often occurs before it even begins. Before sh*t gets real. Because, truth be told, the cold stone face of reality is hard. Fantasies are f*cking sublime.

So what exactly is it about the in-between phase that makes us so deliriously happy?

Why is our generation so deeply addicted to this fleeting honeymoon period -- so much so that we mindlessly shift from person to person, cutting loose and moving on the second the glory days dissipate and the sting of reality sets in?

We project our fantasy onto our partners.

When we're in the in-between phase, we don't really know who our new romantic prospects truly are yet.

And when we don't really know a person, it's easier for us to project our illustrious fantasies onto him or her.

When we're in the newfound bliss of the in-between phase, we aren't looking at a whole, fully realized human being but an "idea" of a person.

And it's oh so much easier to fall for an idea of a person than an actual person.

Think of it like a blank undecorated room with stark white walls:

When something is blank, we have full reign to decorate that space in our imaginations any way we like, as opposed to a lived-in room, a pre-decorated space that's already adorned with its very own personal style.

Even if we don't like the art that fills the walls, it's already there, and that cream-colored shag rug we love just might not be cohesive with the current aesthetic.

We are forced to feel.

Oh, we girls love to feel, regardless of how much we attempt to deny it.

And there are few feelings more powerful than the feeling of being nervous. Nerves cut so deep that they can penetrate the surface of the coldest heart.

Even the girl who is devoid of emotions, the girl who lives her life medicated and NUMB isn't safe from the slew of welcomed nerves that accompany the in-between phase.

It just feels good to f*cking feel for a change, you know?

We get to explore a new body.

Bodies are fantastically mysterious, and it takes a lot of time tending to them in order to truly understand what gets a body heated with sexual excitement.

It's wildly thrilling when we don't know how to turn a new partner on. The challenge of figuring a new partner's sexual triggers is HOT.

The world is kinder to basic girls.

In our everyday, normal lives, we vehemently loathe sh*tty pop music, however, when we're in the throes of the "in-between phase," we just can't help but sing along to that extremely catchy Taylor Swift song.

The in-between phase strips us of our protective shield of cynicism and sarcasm, and we re-emerge in the world naked and basic.

We can suddenly relate to the banalities of pop culture, are more inclined to giggle with the gaggle of girly-girls who incessantly yap about fashion and dating in the office, and we find ourselves dreaming of what f*cking manicure color we will bedazzle our nails with next.

Suddenly, we "fit in" because the truth is, we live in a basic world, and the world is kinder to basic girls.

The in-between phase hasn't been tainted yet.

Life is not as pretty as our perfectly curated, well-filtered Instagram pictures would suggest.

Real life is raw and hard. When we're in long-term relationships, it's impossible to have nothing but lovely, blissful days with our significant other.

When we're knee-deep in the in-between phase, we inevitably experience sh*tty days when we can't help but ruthlessly take out on our partners.

Mean words fly out of our mouths with ferocity, and we uncontrollably say regretful, piercingly painful things to them that aren't even true.

We carelessly throw back one too many glasses of red wine and fire up brutal arguments that leave spiteful, mascara-laden tear stains on the pillow of our shared bed.

We can't help but reveal our embarrassing laundry lists of insecurities. We shamelessly pry for their incessant validation and humiliate ourselves by unabashedly needing them.

We experience such dark clouds of negativity with our partners that it taints our relationship with them.

After all, it's hard to recover from all the toxic fights and vicious words that have been exchanged.

But when we're cozily immersed in the short-lived nest of the in-between phase, we haven't had time to f*ck up the purity of our dynamic yet. We are still able to look at them with innocent, Bambi eyes.

Our feelings are champagne bubbles and butterflies.

Oh, there is nothing in the world more blissful than experiencing the whimsical sensation of fluttering butterflies flapping their delicate wings within the confines of our bodies.

When we are in the in-between phase, we are giddy and teeming with champagne-bubble excitement.

Even the most darkly cynical vixen can't help but turn soft and excitable.

It's been happening to us since we were little girls with mega crushes in elementary school.

The giddiness of the in-between phase brings us back to the free-spirited, enthusiastic creatures we were as kids. It's a well-needed break from our attempts at emulating the cool, detached chick.

It brings us back to who we used to be, before life made us cut-off and caustic.

We get to experience the fun of "trying."

It's no secret that we have a tendency to get a little too comfortable in our relationships. We stop trying.

We trade in beautiful romantic dinners for nights nestled into the couch wearing sweatpants.

We stop having explorative sex, and when we do make the effort for SEX, we know one another's triggers a little too well (And it gets a little fast.).

When we're in the in-between phase, we're still actively trying to impress our partners.

We are fueled with desire to dress up for them, to be on our best behavior, to take them on lovely dates with nice glasses of wine and sophisticated food.

We have yet to be destroyed.

The in-between phase is so intoxicating because it hasn't destroyed us yet. One of the beautiful parts of being in a long-term, committed relationship is we expose our vulnerabilities to our partners.

One of the painful parts of being in such a relationship is we expose our vulnerabilities to our partners.

This gives them the ability to twist the knife in our hearts.

While the in-between phase lacks the depth, honesty and vulnerability of a long-term relationship -- the beauty of it is we haven't let them in enough to destroy us.

We are safe here -- if only we could stay here.