Have you ever wondered where you are in your relationship and what stage you’re in? I’ve often wondered that with my other half and I. Are we going through normal stages of a relationship? I mean, he is a divorcee, so do the relationship stages work in the same way?
Even though all relationships are unique and one experience of love is never the same as another, I’ve found over the years that there are a few traits that binds all relationships along a similar path.
Relationships, just like life, have their own stages. It starts with infatuation and goes through several stages along the way. And these stages are like tests that check your compatibility with each other.
Have you ever met a couple who you thought were the ideal couple and seemed like they were going to stay together forever, but ended up breaking up a few years later? One of my closest friends went through exactly this. I’d known her and her partner for years, they got married and a couple of months later, bam, they split. I couldn’t quite believe it! Perhaps, in all probability, they went wrong in one of these stages of the relationship.
1. The infatuation stage
Infatuation stage is the first stage in every relationship. It almost always starts with an intense attraction and an uncontrollable urge to be with each other. Both of you may be intensely sexually attracted to each other, or both of you may just love the cuddles and each other’s company. In this stage, both of you overlook any flaws of each other and only focus on the good sides.
I remember meeting my other half for the first time and fancying the pants off him! We met at work and ended up working on a couple of projects together, I remember being so excited for our next meeting or conference call together.
2. The understanding stage
In the understanding stage both of you start getting to know each other better. You have long conversations with your partner that stretches late into the night, and everything about your partner interests and fascinates you. You talk about each other’s families, exes, likes and dislikes and other innocent secrets, and life seems so beautiful and romantic.
For me this stage is very important, it is important to know all these details about your partner. I remember a past relationship where I didn’t do this. I thought everything was fine and dandy and then we moved in with each other. He was a completely different person and to be quite honest, I couldn’t stand him! It’s safe to say, it didn’t last long after that.
3. The stage of disturbances
The stage of disturbances usually forces its way into a happy romance after a few months of blissful dating. Do you remember the first fight or angry disagreement you and your partner had? For the first time ever in the relationship, both of you confront each other over a conflict, even though it’s sorted out quickly. In my experience if you can’t work through something together, like adults, then it’s not going to work. Relationships are all about working as a team and getting through these conflicts together.
4. The opinion maker stage
In the opinion making stage both of you create opinions about each other. As the months pass by, both of you know what to expect from each other, and you make an assumption about your partner’s commitment towards the relationship. When these opinions and expectations about your partner differ now and then in real life, it can leave you either ecstatic or depressed.
You don’t expect your man to buy you flowers, but he does. You feel ecstatic. At the same time, you expect him to pick you up from the airport on time. But he arrives an hour later because he forgot all about picking you up. It depresses you.
5. The moulding stage
You have your own expectations from an ideal partner. In the moulding stage both of you try hard to mould each other to fit your own wants in a perfect partner. This stage is a lot about give and take, and both partners constantly try to subtly convince each other to change their behaviour towards the relationship. This is a power struggle, and one that can end the relationship if both partners are domineering.
6. The happy stage
If the relationship survives past the moulding stage, both of you may have changed equally for each other and understood each other’s expectations. In the happy stage the relationship cruises along perfectly and both of you may be blissfully happy with each other.
Almost always, this is the stage when both of you feel like a perfect match. You may even decide to get engaged or get married. This happy stage is also the stage of attachment when both of you truly feel connected to each other and love each other intensely.
7. The stage of doubts
It’s been several years since both of you have been in a relationship with each other. And somewhere along the way, doubts start to creep in. The intensity of the doubts depend on how happy both of you are in the relationship.
You start to think of your past relationships, your exes, and other prospective partners. You tie your happiness in life with your relationship. If you’re unhappy, you blame it on the relationship.
In the stage of doubts you start comparing your relationship with other couples and other relationships. Would your relationship survive this stage? It definitely could, as long as your relationship isn’t monotonous and repetitive.
8. The stage of complete trust
This is the happy stage when both of you love each other and trust each other completely. But at the same time, the unbreakable trust in each other could also turn into taking each other for granted.
In this stage, both of you know the direction of the relationship and both of you are completely happy with each other and find it easy to predict each other’s behaviour and decisions. But with stability in love comes the urge to take each other for granted.
As pleasant as this final stage of love may be, it’s still no excuse to take each other lightly or stop appreciating each other, because love is an intense emotion that can be rekindled by anyone else at any time if you fail to express your romance to your lover.
If you are with your partner for a while, you may have experienced all or most of these stages of a relationship. And if you’re still in a young love, don’t let the dark side of these stages scare you. Instead, look at these stages of a relationship as stepping stones into a better future, one that’s filled with a lot of love and happiness, just as long as both of you remember to keep love alive all the time!