Read what characterizes each phase of the relationship and discover where you are and what your relationship needs to move forward
Enthusiasm, passion, confusion, tenderness, intimacy, mutual support, love… This is how a typical path of a relationship looks like that begins and with time evolves into something deeper and more meaningful. And if you experience many relationships, then this path may seem like a repeating cycle.
Indeed, relationships go through cycles and can be divided into “phases” and stages, regardless of the personality traits of the people who make them up. Of course, every relationship is unique, just like people, but relationship patterns can help you understand what stage of relationship you are in, where your relationship is headed, and what it needs to move forward.
So what are the 4 stages of a relationship?
The “honeymoon” stage
It is the first stage of a relationship, where eroticism dominates and everything seems perfect. “The happy hormone is flowing freely, which is why you turn a blind eye to certain things. There’s a lot more leniency and flexibility in this phase,” Courtney Watson tells popsugar.com.
Dating expert Thalia Ouimet agrees: “Two people experience ultimate love and there’s a feeling that ‘nothing else matters.’
While it’s natural to enjoy this stage of the relationship, it’s also important not to lose touch with reality, making sure you’re meeting both your own needs and the other person’s. Remember that you are still getting to know the other person and if you see any red flags, don’t ignore them.
The “reality check” stage
After the first phase of absolute excitement, most relationships begin to test. During this time, both you and your partner begin to see quirks and flaws in each other that you may have been unaware of until now. “A process of awareness and conflict takes place,” explains Ouimet. “The two people really start to learn about each other.”
At this stage, you have to face the other person’s human characteristics and decide if you can live with them in the long run. At the same time, however, it is a good time to start building trust between the couple.
“In a healthy relationship, this is a time when good communication can develop and both partners can express their needs and wants,” says Watson. “In a not-so-healthy relationship, this is where resentment will start to emerge.”
The effort stage
This is undoubtedly the longest and most difficult phase of the relationship. “If you want to keep your relationship, it’s time to work on it,” Watson clarifies.
This stage can take a long time. It’s time to overcome what bothers you in your partner, compromise and find a way to make the relationship work in the long run. “At this stage, people understand the boundaries and what they expect from their relationship,” says Ouimet. “This is positive, because it is essentially make or break.”
The stage of acceptance
This is the sacred moment when each learns to accept the other as they are and can now let themselves be in the relationship. “You know you’re in the acceptance phase when the things that used to bother you no longer bother you,” says Watson.
Having previously worked on the relationship, this phase will likely be characterized by calmness and peace. “This is achieved when a couple has achieved a healthy, balanced relationship with respect and integrity,” explains Ouimet. “Both people feel that they are giving and receiving love and respect, which is why this stage is by far the best and most fulfilling, because now there is a solid foundation for a relationship that has the potential to stand the test of time.”
It takes time and a lot of work, but the end result is worth it.
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