Stages of a relationship: What are they and how to identify them

Stages of a relationship: What are they and how to identify them

Relationships usually evolve through varied phases. Whereas there are usually variations from one relationship to the other, most have a tendency to follow the overall stages of a relationship. Every stage has its lows and highs, and as trust evolves within the relationship with time, certain aspects tend to vary. Understanding the various relationship phases will facilitate a rock-solid foundation for a flourishing permanent relationship.

stages of relationship development
Source: UGC

As the love between two individuals grows, the various stages of relationship development create distinctive challenges and victories. The romance and sheer excitement that brings lovers together is completely different from the kind of affection that the couple shares thirty years later. Understanding these relationship phases is crucial to one’s growth and for a much deeper understanding of their partner.

What are the distinctive stages of a relationship?

Here are the most distinctive stages in a relationship, their main traits, challenges, and things to watch out for.

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First stage: Romance and attraction

The very first among the phases of a relationship usually feels like a fairytale. Everything looks excellent, from the dates to the communication. At this time, it is like nothing will fail. Each party within the relationship is optimistic about the future. One noteworthy facet of the primary stage is the fact that the lovers do not see any flaws, and if they do, they find it more valuable to ignore it.

Stage one will last between some weeks and one year and sometimes, longer than a year. This stage feels like being high; only that one is high on love. The scientific rationalization behind all this is often the discharge of dopamine. Once someone feels infatuated, their brain releases huge amounts of dopamine that causes the feel-good factor in a brand new relationship.

The release of the hormones causes one’s brain to focus on the positive traits of the other person and gloss over the not-so-good characteristics. However, in future relationship phases, the brain goes back to a more rational analysis that helps one figure out if their new lover will be their permanent partner.

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At this phase, love is always in the air. Partners can be easily duped into believing that they have found their life partner. It is also quite easy to rush into formal commitment without getting past this phase. This often leads to a disastrous ending.

What is nice in phase one? Finding somebody new and falling head over heels in love with them could be a fantastic feeling. Physical intimacy usually tends to be an excellent element of the connection at this stage and is one of the aspects that keep the connection flame burning.

steps in a relationship
Source: UGC

What must you bear in mind at this phase? Do not be to fast to reveal everything concerning yourself. However, this does not mean that you should lie about who you are. On the contrary, try and be as authentic as you can. Most people tend to overdo the pursuit of perfection at this stage. Also, go slow on conveying your feelings for the other person until the high-on-love feeling fades.

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How to ensure phase one lasts longer

Since this phase is among the most pleasurable, here are some tips to make sure it lasts longer.

  • Be yourself: Do not be the person you think your partner desires you to be. It is essential to be true to yourself and let the other person accept you for who you are. Generally, someone might feel duped after they figure out that their partner is merely acting in a particular way just to please them.
  • Organize a random getaway: Intimacy is one of the foremost essential aspects of phase one. Make arrangments for an unscheduled romantic getaway and spend the weekend cuddled up and ordering room service for the two of you.
  • Show appreciation: Send your new partner random messages, collect their dry-cleaning, something to indicate you are pondering over them. These little thoughtful acts send a message that you are the one partner that the other person wishes to keep forever.

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Second phase: Struggle

The second phase in relationship stages is one of the trickiest phase within the entire relationship. This is often the stage where it all gets real. Each of the lovers within the relationship has gotten, to some extent, quite comfortable with one another. Whereas that sounds all good, most relationships that fail do so at this exact stage. Typically, the struggle stage sets in from four to six months. However, it might take longer in some relationships.

The phase is also known as the disturbance stage. Instead of focusing on each other, the partners now focus on their daily routine. It is easy to mistake this for falling out of love. Some differences will also start to emerge in the lovers' intimacy drives, emotional triggers, and other aspects of the relationship.

The second phase is when the lovers get into their first argument. The surreal fairytale glow that was present within the first stage fades, and one starts seeing their partner’s true self. The hormones that caused the feel-good factor have subsided. At this time, one or both partners begin to doubt the sustainability of their love.

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People who began the connection as passive versions of themselves might change within the second stage. This is why it is essential to be authentic in phase one so that your partner does not feel duped in the struggle phase. This is often the phase where lovers begin to test their power.

What to look out for: Flexibility is vital in navigating the second phase. Train your mind to appreciate the fact that that you and your partner are independent people with immensely different interests. Keep in mind that it is quite okay for each of you to get involved in your stuff and later create time to connect. Communication plays a major role during this stage as you are trying to iron out your differences.

relationship stages
Source: UGC

What is great within the struggle phase? Whereas it is the most troublesome, the second stage gauges one’s resilience. If a relationship makes it past this stage, then it is almost certain to survive the next phases. The struggle stage is additionally an excellent time to get comfortable and relax around your newly-found partner. Additionally, intimacy takes an emotional flip as compared to the physical nature of the first phase.

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Additionally, remember that if you encounter insurmountable differences, this is the time when it is best to call it quits.

What to recollect within the struggle stage

The second (struggle) stage is a conventional part of the healthy steps to a great relationship. It takes time to fully understand your partner’s ways. However, when you do, the remaining steps become significantly simple. The rationale behind most failing relationships at this stage is that the masks finally come off, and every person comes to terms with the realities of their partner.

It is crucial to always remember what attracted you to your partner within the initial phase since this can give you a reason to keep working hard in the relationship. The stage is merely a short-lived phase in the journey towards a long-lasting relationship. If you both make it through this stage, then the reward comes in the third phase of the relationship.

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Phase three: Partnership/working stage

You have survived past the struggle phase! However, do not let your guard down just yet. The partnership phase sees each lover become excessively comfortable with the other to the point where they may take them for granted. It is simple to see any effort towards making your partner happy as undue.

This third phase is also known as the understanding phase. Partners continually try to change each other to suit different needs. Both lovers must make a conscious effort towards making the relationship work. Disagreements are greatly reduced at this stage as compared to the struggle stage.

Each partner during this stage must always try to come up with thoughtful acts and gifts for the other partner. This is often one amongst the stages that never quite come to an end. From here, the relationship takes more effort from both parties to survive. In addition to this, every partner has to work on themselves regularly.

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What must you look out for within the third phase? Variations in partners’ love languages tend to be a major issue within the operating phase. You might assume that your husband loves romantic messages as a show of affection, whereas he could be way happier with another expression of love. Sticking your expectations onto the other person will possibly cause some conflicts.

What is great concerning the working phase? When the fights, conflicts, and struggles of the second stage end, it feels nice to simply glide on with the relationship. If each partner works towards the happiness of the other, then the partnership relationship phase turns out great.

stages of a relationship
Source: UGC

It is essential to discover what your partner sees as appreciation and work on it. The one thing that makes your partner glow and respond with a positive vibe is their love language.

Should the partnership stage feel like work?

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Once two lovers get past the second phase, things get easier, but not simple. Each partner has to be motivated to keep making an effort towards maintaining the union. However, there are instances where such an attempt becomes work and therefore, insensible. If one finds themselves at a point where the relationship feels more like work, then it is undoubtedly time to leave.

The relationship ought to feel balanced and proactive at this phase. Whereas arguments are quite normal, if one partner becomes emotionally-abusive, then that is a sign that things may take a turn for the worse. Lovers at this stage ought to have common relationship objectives, and communication is crucial in expressing one's feelings.

Phase four: Commitment

Once a relationship reaches here, things between the partners can be defined as being pretty solid. This is often the stage where the majority of couples move in together as a show of formal commitment. Most of the struggles are now behind you, and you will be able to rest assured that you are meant for one another.

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Every partner has learned how to balance their personal wants with those of the relationship. You have also figured out a way to communicate effectively together with your partner. At the commitment stage, you are not together with your partner as a result of need, but rather because you consciously want them in your life.

What must you look out for? Do not be fooled into thinking that the hard work is over just yet. The transition that comes with formal commitment poses a brand new set of challenges to couples at this stage. As an example, moving in with somebody forces you to acclimatize to their living habits, which you may find being worlds different from yours. At this stage, partners usually fight concerning the silliest things.

What is terrific about the commitment stage? The choice of commitment is arguably the foremost important facet of this stage. It can be moving in, deciding to get a child, or starting to think of the two of you as a genuine couple. Partners during this stage of a relationship are a lot more assured of their long-term love than those in other phases.

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While it is simple to find yourself stressed concerning this stage, patience is crucial in letting things settle. The fights that come up could appear like big deals initially, however, they fade off bit-by-bit with time.

Why is the commitment stage important?

Stage four is a crucial part of any relationship. The primary step in navigating this section is to outline what you term as a commitment. Some individuals like weddings, whereas others do not. Some might contemplate moving in as a show of commitment, whereas others will not. It is vital for every partner during this stage to be honest with themselves concerning the standards of commitment.

If each one of you agrees that monogamy could be an acceptable show of commitment, then you will be able to proceed with the relationship. If you get here and your partner is not able to commit, you most likely missed some red flags in earlier phases.

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Phase five: Real love

If you and your partner have navigated the four prior stages of dating, then you are currently in for a treat. You have now reached the stage of real love. Through the years and ups and downs, you are still head over heels in love with your partner. Despite all the time that has passed, you still feel happy once you remember the very first time you kissed.

phases of a relationship
Source: UGC

Arguments and conflicts are still part of the relationship at the real love phase. However, they seem easier to handle since each partner is assured about the strength of the relationship. Keep in mind that only a few relationships get it to the real love stage.

What is nice concerning the real love phase? Knowing that you have a life partner who can support you is, beyond question, an excellent feeling. Progressing in the relationship opens new chapters within the relationship. You may assume you have discovered everything concerning your partner only for them to keep surprising you with new concepts.

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What must you look out for? The initial relationships phases have the two lovers as the primary focus. However, within the fifth stage, the partners might venture out of the relationship to focus on alternative life objectives like retirement, pet adoption, or property development. It is vital to always remember that your partner is present each step of the way.

Is there more past the final relationship phase?

If your relationship has made it to the fifth phase, the sensation you feel is like getting to the top of a mountain. You get there; however you notice there is the never-ending possibility of going back to some of the first steps in a relationship. As an example, a retired couple might spend a whole day cuddling up, an attribute that is synonymous with the romance and attraction stage.

Knowing the various stages of a relationship will facilitate one's anticipation of whatever each phase brings. However, the particulars of every stage might not be the same across all relationships. Knowing what other couples go through is crucial in gauging the direction of one's own relationship. Information regarding the stages of relationships additionally helps with peace of mind in knowing that one's struggles are not unique to them.

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