Stage #1 The infatuation stage. This is the first stage in every relationship. It almost always starts with an intense attraction and an uncontrollable urge to be with each other. Both of you may be intensely sexually attracted to each other, or both of you may just love the cuddles and each other’s company. In this stage, both of you overlook any flaws of each other and only focus on the good sides.
Stage #2 The understanding stage. In this stage, both of you start getting to know each other better. You have long conversations with your partner that stretches late into the night, and everything about your partner interests and fascinates you. You talk about each other’s families, exes, likes and dislikes and other innocent secrets, and life seems so beautiful and romantic.
Stage #3 The stage of disturbances. This stage usually forces its way into a happy romance after a few months of blissful courting. Do you remember the first fight or angry disagreement you and your partner had? For the first time ever in the relationship, both of you confront each other over a conflict, even though it’s sorted out quickly.
Stage #4 The opinion maker. In this stage, both of you create opinions about each other. As the months pass by, both of you know what to expect from each other, and you make an assumption about your partner’s commitment towards the relationship.
When these opinions and expectations about your partner differ now and then in real life, it can either leave you ecstatic or depressed.
You don’t expect your man to buy you flowers, but he does. You feel ecstatic. At the same time, you expect him to pick you up from the airport on time. But he arrives an hour later because he forgot all about picking you up. It depresses you.
Stage #5 The moulding stage. You have your own expectations from an ideal partner. And in this stage, both of you try hard to mould each other to fit your own wants in a perfect partner. This stage is a lot about give and take, and both partners constantly try to subtly convince each other to change their behavior towards the relationship. This is a power struggle, and one that can end the relationship if both partners are domineering.
Stage #6 The happy stage. If the relationship survives past the moulding stage, both of you may have changed equally for each other and understood each other’s expectations. In this stage, the relationship cruises along perfectly and both of you may be blissfully happy with each other.
Almost always, this is the stage when both of you feel like a perfect match. You may even decide to get engaged or get married. This happy stage is also the stage of attachment when both of you truly feel connected to each other and love each other intensely.
Stage #7 The stage of doubts. It’s been several years since both of you have been in a relationship with each other. And somewhere along the way, doubts start to creep in. The intensity of the doubts depend on how happy both of you are in the relationship.
You start to think of your past relationships, your exes, and other prospective partners. You tie your happiness in life with your relationship. If you’re unhappy, you blame it on the relationship.
In this stage, you start comparing your relationship with other couples and other relationships. Would your relationship survive this stage? It definitely could, as long as your relationship isn’t monotonous and repetitive.
Stage #8 The sexual exploration or bust stage. This is the stage when your sex life starts to play a pivotal role. Both your sex drives may change or one of you may get disinterested in sex.
In this stage, you either give up on passionate sex or constantly look for ways to make sex more exciting. If sexual interests start differing here, one of you may end up having an affair. But on the other hand, if you find creative ways to make sex more exciting, your relationship could get better and bring both of you a lot closer.
Stage #9 The stage of complete trust. This is the happy stage when both of you love each other and trust each other completely. But at the same time, the unbreakable trust in each other could also turn into taking each other for granted.
In this stage, both of you know the direction of the relationship and both of you are completely happy with each other and find it easy to predict each other’s behavior and decisions. But with stability in love comes the urge to take each other for granted.
As pleasant as this final stage of love may be, it’s still no excuse to take each other lightly or stop appreciating each other, because love is an intense emotion that can be rekindled by anyone else at any time if you fail to express your romance to your lover.
If you’re in a relationship for a while, you may have experienced all or most of these relationship stages. And if you’re still in a young love, don’t let the dark side of these relationship stages scare you.