stages of a relationship
everyone goes through them — what exactly are they?
Remember, the beginning of your relationship when you couldn’t stop thinking about each other and couldn’t wait to see one another? The “good old days”? Maybe you’re just starting out in a brand new, shiny and promising relationship. There are definitely stages and the more you understand them the better you, and your relationship, will fare.
THE OBSESSION: This is the initial state of all relationships when you can’t stop thinking about each other and can’t keep your hands off each other when you see one another. Infatuation is intense and it can often be confused with love. It is so distracting and consuming that it sounds reasonable that this stage of the relationship can’t last that long. It would be impossible to eat, sleep, work and live an ordinary daily life in this state of mind. You may be asking yourself is this falling in love or is this lust? It’s very hard to tell in most cases. For this reason I suggest NOT saying “I love you” too soon. Make sure that what you’re feeling is love before you utter the words. And, as hard as it is to stay away from each other allow yourself time in-between dates so you can maintain some independence. It’s important to not be “needy” during this initial phase.
THE FLAWS: Wait, hold on, you mean he isn’t “Mr. Perfect” and he doesn’t see me as “Mrs. Perfect”? What the hell is going on here! The blinders come off during this phase and you will actually begin to notice things about him (and he about you) that reveal imperfections. Sometimes this is where the problems start because the perfect mate turns out to be not so perfect after all. It may be something minor like how they eat their food, they may be obnoxious when drinking or not treat others as well as they should. Whatever the flaws you will decide whether you can overlook them and move on or whether they are deadly to your budding relationship. If he’s worth fighting for hang on! If not, you will go through this again in your next relationship so be prepared.
Remember to be who you are during this time and don’t try to hide your perceived flaws. He will eventually find out what they are and it’s better to just be YOU! The same goes for him. You may also meditate more and take a few deep breaths in-between so you don’t snap his head off when he irritates you. Patience has its’ own reward.
THE COMPROMISE: Now you’ve decided to live with the imperfections so you must compromise in the way you interact with each other. With couples who have been single for a while (and even those who haven’t) this can be a stage that is extremely trying as you begin to test each others’ limits. In order to survive this stage you must learn that harmony and the relationship is the most important thing you can concentrate on. This is a time of upheaval but you can learn to channel your frustration and anger and deal with each other in a calm way rather than a destructive manner. It’s important for you to not make too many compromises until it becomes one-sided. Both partners need to compromise and if you’re a “giver” and he is a “taker” you must set firm boundaries. Be kind, honest and specific with your mate and don’t keep your annoyances to yourself. Any emotion you stuff down will eventually come up. Time to do it now with kindness rather than later with anger.
THE COMFORT ZONE: The best part of a relationship is when you’re confident in your mate’s love and you don’t feel that you’re constantly having to put in so much effort. You will see (and enjoy) each other for who you are! That may mean that the lust is lacking or you become too comfortable with each other and fail to keep the romance alive. This is a time when you may have to try a little harder to put the sexy back into your relationship. A relationship without sexual intimacy is a roommate situation. It’s important to connect in an intimate way so don’t let it suffer. Also, don’t get so comfortable that you neglect your mate! If you allow yourself to take your partner for granted there is a danger of losing them. Do something sexy, or spice up your phone calls or messages, plan a weekend away or a date night. Spice it up! Comfort feels great but don’t allow boredom to set in.
FOREVER OR OVER: This is the stage that you will decide whether you’ll stay together for a long period of time or not. By now you’ve become integral partners and you know, and hopefully trust, each other. Friends, lovers, mates who have a beautiful life together. Unless there are warning signs that are flashing RED it should be forever at this point. But occasionally couples get to this point only to feel that they’ve grown apart. That happens! What? I’ve gone through all of this and we choose to not be together? If your relationship hasn’t grown and doesn’t feel right to either one of you then it may be a relationship that should be re-examined. I know couples who have gone through all of the stages only to separate and live their single lives. You aren’t obligated to stay together just because you’ve made it through all of the stages. Take it at your own pace and don’t feel pressured at this point. Allow yourself (and your mate) to enjoy the comfort, love and fun of being with a partner you’re so comfortable with and enjoy.