The Five Stages Of Relationships Falling in love is something that just everybody goes through in their lifetime, even if it’s only once. When you fall in love with somebody, you begin to realize that being in love isn’t the hard part – the hard part is working to maintain the relationship. Every relationship is different, which is why it’s difficult to navigate your way through them. You can’t always use techniques that have worked for you and your other partners in the past. From what we can tell, relationships typically go through five stages. The way you handle these bumps in the road will predict how the relationship itself will turn out. It’s difficult for a lot of people to recognize these stages in relationships. However, the inability to recognize what is happening in your relationship can easily cause it to fall apart. Learning to identify these stages and how they affect your relationship will come in handy when you and your partner are going through them.
1.The Romance Stage
When we fall in love with somebody, it’s hard for us to recognize their bad qualities. We get so caught up in the pure fascination we have for them – that we fail to see anything wrong with them. While we are seeing our partners through a screen of perfection, they are also seeing us the same way. But this seemingly endless dream doesn’t last forever. Typically this stage doesn’t last more than two years. Let’s dive a little deeper, and look at the Romance Stage through the lens of evolution… When the human race developed, nature wanted to create something to ensure that our species wouldn’t become extinct. Thus, human beings were born with reproductive organs and thought processes to communicate our feelings toward one another. As nature continued to adapt, humans eventually developed the feeling we now call love. This allowed us to bond with one another and form intimate relationships. However, when we fall in love, we tend to fall in love with somebody who wouldn’t normally be considered compatible with us. Although we may see them as someone who makes all of our dreams come true, they also have the capability to do the opposite. But why would nature intend for us to fall in love with someone so incompatible? Typically, we fall in love with people because they’re personality traits are opposite to ours. This allows us to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. This person’s good traits compensate for our bad ones – and vice versa. And when you fit these two puzzle pieces together, it creates a new piece. A piece that the puzzle could never be complete without. A piece of nature more resilient and more likely to survive and ensure the continuation of the human species. When we look back on it, we often wonder how we could have fallen in love with somebody who was so different from ourselves. But nature intended for us to fall in love, and it made sure we would – by having our brains release what we call “feel-good” hormones – including oxytocin, phenylethylamine, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones give aid to a biochemical process that rids us of stressors and fill us with infatuation. This is why it’s so hard for us to recognize our partner’s flaws. These hormones hide our flaws and encourage us to do whatever we can to keep the romance alive. While we aren’t actually lying to our partners, we’re wearing a mask of adoration. Taking off this mask and revealing who we really are may influence our partner to leave, so we keep it on. Knowing this, in order to avoid any major confrontations or confusion with your partner, you can work on bringing up somewhat difficult topics with them. Such as whether or not you both want children or wish to be married. Although this infatuation stage makes it seem like everything is fine and peachy, it inevitably wears off. At this point in time, you may look at your partner and realize out of nowhere that they’re the most incompatible person to yourself that you could ever think of. This tends to happen when either of you begins to worry about a sort of permanence in the bond. This could include dating exclusively, moving in together, getting engaged, or whatever else may worry you when it comes to permanency. This is where the next stage kicks in…
2. The Power Struggle Stage
When we think of relationships, we tend to think of the picture-perfect ones that we see in movies or read about in novels. This makes it easy for us to assume that our relationships can never be perfect unless they’re identical to the ones we’ve seen portrayed. This stage causes a lot of tension and pain between partners, due to the fact that the peachy keen love you once had has disintegrated before your eyes. We sometimes replace these missing emotions with anger, which leads to more problems in itself. We stop focusing on what used to make our partners seem so perfect, and we begin to recognize only what makes them seem almost repulsive to us. When couples go through this stage in their relationship, one of them will usually become withdrawn. They feel betrayed because their partner has turned into a completely different person from the one they originally fell in love with. When one partner does this, the other will pursue them by demanding attention (all the while feeling afraid of being emotionally abandoned). While this stage is usually very difficult for most couples, it also presents the chance to look into yourself and re-establish your independence in the relationship. Sometimes this stage takes a toll on people, and they begin thinking that all of their efforts were just a waste and it would take too much work to rebuild what they once had. This is when couples tend to split apart – in order to search for somebody who they think would be more suitable for them. This is also why most divorces happen during this stage.
3. The Stability Stage
If you and your partner learn to confront each other respectively about your issues and recognize your own issues as well, you move on to this stage. After getting through the bumps in the road, you and your partner fall into a deeper and more thrilling love than ever before. Although you may have wanted to at first, you now realize that you cannot change your partner, and you have no wish to try anymore. You see them for everything that they are, the good and the bad, and you’re willing to accept it. Although most individuals would want to plant themselves into this stage of a relationship, doing so can make it easy for them to become bored. After a while, you may begin to realize that the thrill of being in love is wandering away, and you need something special to keep it alive. Partners typically resolve these issues by creating shared experiences and maintaining the feeling of adventure in their relationship.
4. The Commitment Stage
When it comes to relationships or partnerships, people often associate commitment with marriage – even though that’s not typically what this stage is supposed to represent. However… while many couples make the mistake of marrying while still in the romance stage of their relationship, this is the stage in which you and your partner are actually ready for marriage. When you and your partner reach this stage, you have both realized that you don’t need each other, you both want each other. You’ve recognized that you both have faults and neither of you is perfect. But even though you recognize these shortcomings, you still desire to be with each other, and you both fall into an endless wave of balanced, adventurous freedom. With that said, many people trick themselves into believing that since they’ve gotten this far, and it feels so good, that their work as a team must be done. Often they also tend to sacrifice their own goals in life to spend more time with their significant other instead. Or, they become lazy in maintaining their emotional connection. The truth is, both of you are growing and evolving, so your work as a couple is never done – you will always have to rediscover each other.
5. The Bliss Stage
Once you’ve reached this stage, you and your partner become consciously aware of your love for each other and you decide to move out into the world to show it. And, as nature gave you life and the ability to create such a blissful experience together, it now calls on you to give back. Lots of couples decide to give back to society by donating to charities, raising children, volunteering in their community, or starting a family business. But remember… if you and your partner have been together for a long time, you must be sure to continue nurturing your relationship so problems don’t arise. Although relationships can be tough sometimes, it’s important to learn how to handle things effectively. Falling in love isn’t something that occurs all the time. And when you begin to recognize the stages in your relationship, it becomes easier to deal with them properly. Remember that it’s natural to lose certain feelings for people at times, and not everything lasts forever. But that doesn’t mean you have to regret it. All in all, putting in the time and effort to nurture your relationship will pay off in unimaginable ways.