A relationship, like most other things in life, happens in stages.
Each one builds on the last and they are a vital part of getting to the ultimate goal of most relationships: a lifetime together.
Understanding what stage you're in is important because it can help you determine whether or not you are moving forward and perhaps whether you even want to.
Listed below are the five stages that couples go through.
1. The Honeymoon Stage
Once you get past online matchmaking and the first few awkward dates, you enter the first stage of a relationship. Often referred to as the puppy love stage, this is the least real part of any relationship.
That’s because your infatuation with this newfound person blinds you to their flaws. This is not your fault, however. It’s just nature’s way of getting two people together in order to ensure they lay proper foundations that will be crucial later on.
In this stage you will talk every day and perhaps see one another just as often. You will ignore some things that you dislike in favor of ensuring that your partner can remain on a pedestal for as long as possible.
This period generally lasts a few months...
2. The Post-Honeymoon Stage
...And then, suddenly, your partner begins to lose their luster. Of course, you still like them (and perhaps even “love” them), but you start taking notice of their flaws and the things they do to get on your nerves.
It’s also during this stage that you begin to realize how much work it takes to maintain a relationship.
This stage results in a lot of breakups because in it people begin to consider whether the person they’re with actually meets their needs and desires. Often times, despite a strong emotional connection, people realize that the relationship might be dying.
3. The Steady Stage
If you’ve made it to the steady stage, congratulations! The post-honeymoon phase is one of the most difficult to conquer and once you do it, it means that you’re ready for true romance.
No longer are you driven by your lust, but rather by a deep love for your partner. Instead of formal dates, you are okay with hanging out with each other at home, watching TV or just eating casual meals together.
During this stage you will probably meet the parents and know all of your partner’s friends, all of whom probably find your little ‘couple-y’ idiosyncrasies extremely annoying!
4. The Comfortable Stage
The comfortable stage is both pleasant and dangerous.
It’s the stage where you can just be yourself without hiding any of your quirks or habits. If you wear makeup, you’re probably no longer compelled to do so in front of your partner. Everything just clicks as it should and you feel like it can last forever.
But therein lies the danger. At this point in a relationship, people become content. They often take their partner for granted and might even stop considering their needs and future plans. This usually isn’t done intentionally, it’s simply a result of relationship satisfaction.
This stage concludes with the final stage...
5. The Commitment Stage
After all of that time and effort, you’re finally in a relationship that works so well that you begin considering the future.
For some couples that future might involve marriage, for others, it’s just moving in together. No matter what it is, it’s a sign of full commitment to your partner.
This is the final stage of your relationship as two people dating and the beginning of something perhaps even more complex, but ultimately, much more rewarding, meaningful, and - dare I say it - beautiful.
I would like to end this article by reminding the reader that no relationship follows a perfect timeline and that having expectations or desires to move something that is still immature or unready move forward can be unhealthy.
That said, keep an eye out for the signs and you will find that your relationship has likely followed these predictable, yet important and meaningful stages.
From Your EZ Dating Coach - Mike Goldstein
These stages are spot on for the typical relationship. However, one very important thing to note is that if you get to any stage and feel like you didn't adequately experience one of the prior stages it is okay to take a step or two backwards. Your path doesn't need to be a straight line and based on a specific time frame. Every relationship is different and every person is different so no relationship formula will work for everyone. Thus feel free to make it to stage 4 and then head back to stage 2 or start talking about things in stage 5 but if you realize you need more time to work on the relationship head back to stage 4.
Anyway, happy dating folks, be good to your partner!
About the Author
Pauline Plott is a London-based blogger who became a dating guru after learning the psychology behind modern romance and signing up for every dating website in pursuit of relationship bliss. She shares her reviews and opinions on DatingSpot.co.uk.