People always talk about the honeymoon stage of a relationship, that moment when you first meet and neither of you can do anything wrong. In these times you find it cute that your boyfriend got really drunk and expresses his love to you, or you love it when your girlfriend chills in her Pjs. Just thinking of them gives you butterflies and you want to spend as much time as possible together. But, people rarely ever talk about phases of a relationship.
Like everything, relationships have cycles. Sometimes you have the most amazing time, where you feel so in sync with your significant other and other times you are repulsed by their drunken states and a bit weirded out by the fact that your girlfriend hasn’t changed her bra in a week.
These stages change based on who you are as people and there is nothing wrong with being four years into a relationship and sometimes feeling utterly heartbroken. The sooner you can accept that relationships have ups and downs the happier you will be.
1. Honeymoon stage
Anyone that has ever experienced the honeymoon stage will know what I mean when I say this is the best and worst feeling in the world. I love the excitement you get before you go on a date and how nice it is to get all dressed up, and how special you feel when he looks at you in the way that no one else ever has.
Then there is the side where you’re constantly checking your phone to see if he has messaged and stressing about whether you will look too keen if you’re the first person to text. This where you try to play it cool and hide your bad habits because being attractive and keeping his interest is more important to you than anything.
2. Annoyance stage
Once you’re over that initial attraction you start to notice all those things that someone does that annoys you. Some can be the most unreasonable things ever. Why would someone put the soap next to the soap dish after washing their hands rather than putting in it?
This again, comes and goes no matter how long your relationship is and this can be one of the hardest stages to get through. You have no idea how much the soap dish drama bothers me or how he goes to the pub and forgets to bring me dinner home when he promised. But, you have to take the rough with the smooth!
3. Heartbreak stage
At one point or another, you will feel heartbreak in your relationship. No matter how loved up you are, there is no avoiding it. Maybe you have an argument about something and at the time it feels like you have such opposing views that you can’t carry on. You might have even been together for 6 years and then start having doubts and you’re not sure if it will work out.
Feeling heartbroken doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship. It’s just another stage that you have to work through. Sure enough, this bit is the hardest and sometimes your relationship won’t survive but if you get through it, you will be stronger than ever.
4. Conscious effort stage
This is what many long term relationships forget. No matter how long you’ve been together you have to make time do things out of the oridiany. That could be a trip to the pub on a ‘school night’ where you get unreasonably drunk and make fools of yourself, a last minute trip to Paris or even just a random text to let your other half know you’re thinking of them.
Keeping the magic alive no matter how long you have been together makes the good times better and the bad times shorter. Take some time apart and make the effort to get all dressed up and meet somewhere to go on a date. It doesn’t matter if you live with each other – make the effort to do something special.
5. Personal space stage
We all like our personal space and I am the first to admit that I love it when my boyfriend is out and I have the house to myself to watch Gossip Girl reruns and eat so many crispy M&Ms that I am nearly sick. However, sometimes you need a bigger space from each other, something that goes far beyond just a night out.
Life is tough and sometimes you just want to hang out with your mates and you can’t be bothered to talk about what happened in your day. Your relationship might feel a bit distant but you have to listen and give or take the space needed. If it becomes persistent it probably spells bigger problems but from time to time you may just need a bit of a break from each other and you can’t take that as an insult. If anything, it will make your relationship stronger!
6. Settling down stage
This is my favorite part of a relationship and exactly the stage I am at right now. Feeling comfortable and secure with someone is one of the best feelings in the world. Knowing that they have your back and they are all yours is something special.
Sure, being spontaneous is fun but going home after work and sitting down to eat dinner together and chatting about your days give you a special warm feeling like no other. Knowing that the person sat right in front of you is yours and you are both happy is what relationships are all about.
While these relationship stages may come and go and you might feel like you hate your partner sometimes (I am guilty of this), for me, I always know that there is something worth fighting for at the end of the day. Sometimes, I can feel totally heartbroken but I know it won’t be long until we are right back in that honeymoon period.
The sooner you can accept that your relationship will always have ups and downs and that it would probably be quite boring if it didn’t, the stronger your relationship will be.