When you meet someone, you don’t go immediate from the first date to ‘Happily Ever After.” There are actually ten distinct stage of a relationship, divided into two key phases (coming together and coming apart) that couples typical experience. Read on to discover what phase you and your boo might be in.
The Coming Together Phase
The starting point of any romance, despite how a couple met. In this phase there are five unique stages.
- Initiation: The stage when you first meet your partner. You may exchange niceties and vital information. You are getting to know each other. The focus is on superficial aspects like looks and how you each present yourself.
- Experimentation: When you past the initiation stage you want to find out more about each other. This includes explore each other’s interests, values and commonalities.
- Intensification: You might notice a feeling of “bliss.” Things become intense and Your fact finding is done and now you both want to dig deep into each other’s essence. Feelings begin to develop and you become excited about being in the relationship.
- Integration: Congratulations! You are an official couple with profound feelings for each other. Your lives are beginning to intertwin with shared routines and habits. Your loved ones are seeing you as a unit. There is no sense of “me,” only “we.”
- Commitment: Your bond is a precious treasure. Perhaps you are planning to cohabitate or get married. Each commitment process is unique, but typically will involve some concept of formal commitment within society constructs
The Coming Apart Phase
Not every love has a fairytale ending. Whether you are dating, living together, or married for decades, love can end just as quickly as it began.
- Incompatibility: Difference can begin to appear in even the most secure of relationships. In this stage cracks in your bond are beginning to appear.
- Unraveling: You are pulling further away from one another. Boundaries are getting overstepped and communication is breaking down. Your intimacy is decreasing in every possible sense. You are beginning to see yourself as an individual rather than a partner. There is an abundance of blame, defensiveness and resentment.
- Standstill: No progress is happening in your relationship. You feel stuck in a festering pond of muck and suck. Apathy and resentment have taken root in one or both partners.
- Avoidance: There is no connection in physical, emotional, or mental ways. One or both partners might have left the shared home and have greatly reduced any communication.
- End: The relationship is officially over both emotionally and legally.
Importance of understanding relationship stages
Relationship don’t have to be as complicated as people make them. We complicate matters with our various thoughts, concerns, emotions, and behaviors. If we look at relationships in the lens of stages, we can better comprehend expectations and work that must go into repairing problems as they appear. Even if you notice yourself in a stage during the Coming Apart Phase you can save your relationship. With sincere hard work and commitment by both partners you can repair, and even strengthen your love. However, how you navigate your love is up to you and your partner. If you can’t find happiness and fulfillment in your relationship then you both deserve to end the romance and be free to discover the love you both deserve.