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The 6 stages of a relationship: Which one are you in?


Stephen Cook/Unsplash | CC0

Sabina Zalewska - published on 06/30/18

For a relationship to survive, it's important for the couple to deepen their connection continuously.

Life is a dynamic process and we continually evolve and encounter new challenges, especially in our relationships. Here are six steps that just about every relationship goes through. If you’re in a difficult stage, take courage: things usually get better if you both persevere in good faith.

Stage 1: Romantic beginnings and rose-colored glasses

The beginning is definitely the most intoxicating phase of a relationship. Being in love makes people look at the world through rose-colored glasses. The other person seems faultless, and the surrounding world seems beautiful and colorful. Small misunderstandings are immediately solved. There are no big fights. Both sides accept each other completely.

Akhenaton Images - Shutterstock

Stage 2: Surface scratches and small disappointments

The first crisis comes in the second stage of the relationship. That’s when people’s eyes open, and they begin to notice that the other person isn’t perfect. Some behaviors begin to become irritating, and others are simply not acceptable. The two people may start to be disappointed in each other. They might start to wonder if they really want to invest themselves in the relationship.

Stage 3: Finding each other’s space

By now, the two have gotten to know each other more in depth. They know what to expect from each other, both for better and for worse. This is when people often start to protect their own space and subconsciously test to see how much of their partner’s space they can take over. There could be power struggles, which can either cause a break-up or the establishment of boundaries; at the same time, when there is generosity on both parts, a mutual give and take results in a new equilibrium, strengthening the relationship.

Couple Problem
© By goodluz | Shutterstock

Stage 4: Now what? Is it worth it?

At this stage, the two decide if the relationship will survive. They question the future: What’s next? Is it worth the effort? Should they make a permanent commitment?

This is the culminating moment in the relationship. Some couples are not able to keep investing in it, which causes a break-up. The couple is faced with a choice: whether to continue and build the relationship further, and make a firm commitment, or to accept its end.

Stage 5: Time for understanding and agreement

If the couple survives the fourth stage of the relationship, they can breathe a sigh of relief. The most difficult crisis stage is behind them. They will become closer again, this time building a much stronger bond than at the early stages.

Aware of their imperfections, they are ready to accept the other person as he or she is. The effort put into overcoming initial difficulties pays off by strengthening the relationship and making the two stronger as partners. The understanding that is satisfactory for both makes them feel safer.

Stage 6: Empathy and support

Trust and acceptance characterize the last phase of the development of a relationship. Empathy emerging in a mature relationship strengthens and develops it further. Both sides feel that their emotions and needs are important to their partner, that he/she understands them, and that they can reveal them.

Shutterstock-Antonio Guillem

Empathy brings two people closer because it allows them to better understand each other. When one person realizes the needs of the other, he/she can offer support, especially in difficult situations. This deepens the relationship and builds a stronger bond.

For the relationship to survive, it is important to deepen it at all stages. Aside from devotion and faithfulness, crises are also an integral part of a relationship. They play an important role, prompting people to work on their relationship and on themselves.

This way, by changing along the way, a couple reaches a mature and satisfying relationship. It is very important that both have the same clearly defined goal: to create a long-term relationship based on mutual trust and closeness.


Read more:
I stopped doing this one little thing every day, and it strengthened my marriage


Read more:
I stopped doing this one little thing every day, and it strengthened my marriage

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