|The green is a stand-in colour, since we're not sure what that relationship will look like.|
Within our family unit there are four relationships. There's a relationship between each pair of people, and then one for the whole group. Each of these must be happy, loving, supportive, communicative, and fulfilling for all involved parties. If any one of these relationships is faltering, the whole system is sad.
Right now, we have something that looks kind of like this:
Clearly there's some work to do. In particular, Flower Lady and I need to build a more-than-surface relationship together. We all have some ideas about what that relationship should be, but there's also a large element of natural and unpredictable growth which has to happen. My analogy here is a love garden.
You can make a box for a love garden, and water it (spend time getting to know each other), and weed it (talk a whole bunch to nudge things in useful directions, or at least away from bad directions), but in the end you just have to wait and see what grows in it.
Relationships can bloom without such attentions - that's what happened with me and Hat Guy. We just had this box of random plants that happened because we knew each other, and one day we turned around and went "Hey, look, flower buds! We should probably water those." What Flower Lady and I are doing is intentionally constructing a box, sitting down with our watering cans and our gardening gloves, and going "Okay, I want a plant with flowers. Go." And hopefully something suitable will appear.
It's important to note that there aren't any seed stores in this metaphor. We can have great ideas about what we want to be to each other, but in reality a relationship cannot be forced, and just as we can't plant seeds in the garden, we can't make ourselves have feelings. And that's scary, because what if nothing grows? But it's also okay. Because a love garden is a lot more exciting and interesting and, ultimately, fulfilling than a love lego sculpture. That's because a lego sculpture doesn't have room for pleasant surprises, but a garden does.