Being in a relationship with someone can feel like an unpredictable experience – and it is. Questions like, “will this be the one for me?” Or “Is this going to be the thing that makes me drop everything and spend my year sobbing solo?” are common.
We understand your concerns, but you also need to understand that relationships are a melting pot of everything. There’s respect, trust, honesty, indifference, compromise, and effort from both corners. And an imbalance of power doesn’t exist. However, to keep the relationship afloat and brimming with love, knowing what to expect is essential. After all, you don’t jump from meeting each other to marrying each other. You have to go through a series of stages to help explore the relationship’s worth and value.
Of course, not every relationship follows the same pattern, but there comes a time when “loving” each other isn’t enough. What’s more, many couples tend to get stuck in strange ways, but the good news is – there are a few practical, proven ways to help you get unstuck.
Listed below are the five natural and normal stages that couples go through on their way towards achieving a relationship that shines with love. Understanding these can help you have greater perspective and patience on change and your relationship’s journey.
Stage 1: Getting to Know One Another
The first stage is characterized by interest, curiosity, and excitement. It is the stage at which two people become attracted to each other and form a bond based on shared sexual chemistry and interests. Couples will explore their values, morals, and other aspects of their lives to discover who they are. They will also try out different forms of intimacy, such as kissing or holding hands.
Some couples find it troublesome to experiment with their sexuality and see what works for them. In that case, it is better to seek help – therapy, in particular. A sex positive approach to therapy can help couples explore their sexuality and find more ways to practice intimacy. On the other hand, if they discover that they are compatible in both areas of this first stage, they will usually proceed to stage two.
Stage 2: Denial & Doubt
Denial, doubt is the second stage of a relationship. Couples finally begin to notice the differences between themselves. They emerge from the trance of infatuation, only to discover that the qualities that once seemed perfect have started to irritate them. (Her generosity appears irresponsible; his dependability now seems rigid, and their adventurous nature is now an unnecessary risk). And, unfortunately, when couples tend to confront these differences, resistance follows. Power struggles intensify, and they marvel at their partner’s revolution. Alienation and love coexist with irritation and frustration, and things like “maybe we’re not “ideal” for each other after all” might come to mind.
Stage 3: Crisis
Relationships are frequently made or broken during the third stage. What happens at this point is critical to what happens next. Almost every relationship goes through a drift apart phase. You’ll either keep drifting or coming back together. You need a crisis to get through it and to be able to talk about it together—you’ve both changed and grown.
For some couples, having children will either strengthen their relationship or cause enough stress to cause it to fail. If a couple successfully overcomes a crisis, they will progress to the next stage: attachment.
Stage 4: Attachment
The attachment stage is the calm that follows the storm. A couple knows each other well by this point. The couple has been through the inevitable ups and downs, they know they can deal with crises, and they’ve probably made a plan for dealing with future problems. Similarly, since they have been together for a long time, the relationship becomes oddly quiet and safe.
At this stage, attachment can last for a long time, and if you are lucky, it can last a lifetime.
Stage 5: Synergy
As the transition from “me” to “we” becomes more natural, you create a synergy in your relationship. Being together and cherishing each moment is more important than either of you alone. Each person benefits from this, and your bond develops its energy. Your intimacy deepens as you become more adept at managing your emotional responses to your differences and the inevitable conflicts that arise. You know what you believe in, who you are, and what you value in life as a person, and you thoroughly understand these same things about your partner. It is common to have a strong sense of stability and a desire to give back to the world. You have deep and abiding admiration for yourself, your partner, and your partnership. You are content with the life you have built together, and you are free to be connected and vulnerable.
Tips to form a more meaningful connection with your significant other
Every relationship has its good and bad days. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to strengthen your bond and make room for more good days. Following are the three things you can do to form a connection that will last forever:
Spend time together and be present for one another
Turn off your phone and be completely present. Make time to enjoy the beauty of life and the things you enjoy doing together. Listen carefully to your partner, and don’t presume you know what they are thinking. Choose an activity that you and your partner have never done before that you both find fun. You can also try something new with your partner that they enjoy but that you haven’t done before.
Maintain a positive relationship with yourself as well
For other relationships to work, you must first feel good about yourself. Believe that you are a valuable person who deserves to be happy. The relationship you have with yourself serves as the foundation for all other relationships.
Have a physical connection with each other, regardless of how long you’ve been together
Make a point of hugging each other when you get home from work. Hugging alleviates depression, reduces stress, promotes sleep, and boosts the immune system. Massages are also beneficial. In addition to showing your affection, simple massages can be an effective way for couples to improve their mental and physical well-being.
Good and healthy relationships don’t happen by chance. It is essential to invest as much as possible into relationships to help them flourish and grow. If you are not sure where your relationship is heading, don’t sweat it. Remember, some relationships take years to move through each stage, while others blow through at a fast pace. It is comforting to know that many others have experienced the same struggles that you are experiencing. And that proven, practical strategies can help you as you work to move ahead. Nonetheless, when the dust settles at the end of the day, being a little more sensitive with those around you will prove worthwhile.
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.