Relationships are unique. And each person’s experience of love is never ever the same. You may have been in several relationships in your life, and all of them may have been very different from the earlier one. But there are a few traits about every single relationship that binds all relationships along a similar path. And they’re the different stages of a relationship that all couples go through, irrespective of how it starts or where you are in your relationship right now.
Relationships, just like life, have their own stages and phases. It starts off with infatuation and goes through several stages along the way. And these stages are like tests that check your compatibility with each other.
Go wrong anywhere along the way, and your relationship will take the brunt of the fall. Have you ever met a couple who seemed like they were going to stay together forever, but ended up breaking up a few years later?
[Read: Top 20 reasons for divorce that most couples overlook]
Perhaps, in all probability, they went wrong in one of these stages of the relationship.
Are you in a new relationship? Or are you in a seasoned relationship with someone you’ve been dating or married to, for several years?
It doesn’t matter how long your relationship has lasted, because all the relationships will fit snugly in one of these relationship stages. Find your own relationship stage here, and it’ll definitely help you understand your own love life better.
And once you figure out which stage you’re in, keep the next stages in mind so you’re prepared for the new change, and the next level of love.
This is the first stage in every relationship. It almost always starts with 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. You find everything attractive about each other, and the not-so-attractive things? Well, you think they’re cute! [Read: New relationship advice to have a perfect start]
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. [Read: 60 get-to-know-you questions for a new romance]
You talk about each other’s families, exes, likes and dislikes and other innocent secrets, and life seems so beautiful and romantic.
This stage usually forces its way into a happy romance after a few months of blissful courting. The honeymoon stage starts to wane, and this phase of the relationship eventually finds its way into love. You can’t *and shouldn’t avoid* this stage, because this is the first time both of you start to reveal each other’s true sides in the presence of the other partner.
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. [Read: The first fight in a relationship – 15 things you need to do immediately after]
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.
This is the stage when you start to accept that your partner is flawed, just as you are. In some ways, you learn to accept them for who they are. And in other circumstances, you feel a bit let down and wish your partner could have a few other traits you so badly desire to see in your lover.
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.
No one likes this stage, because this phase of the relationship is about subtly making your partner change their behavior or habits to suit your own needs and convenience. But as annoying as this stage is, it’s a part of the relationship that is inevitable, because it helps both of you understand each other’s expectations from the relationship.
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. [Read: 10 big problems in any relationship and how to fix it]
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. [Read: How to get him to propose by reading his mind]
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 with each other.
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.
This is when all the positive and negative traits of your partner solidify in the long term relationship. You come to learn what you can expect from your partner, and what you know for sure your partner can’t give you.
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. [Read: How to be a happy couple that’s envied by all other couples]
This is the phase of the relationship when your sex life starts to play a pivotal role. Both your sex drives may change or one of you may lose interest in having sex with the other partner.
In this stage, you either give up on passionate sex and settle with boring sex once in a rare while, 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 or shrink away into self-gratification.
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. This is the phase of the relationship when you could either keep at it like horny bunnies and make every other couple jealous, or turn into one of those couples who spend time together doing different things. [Read: Top 50 kinky ideas for a sexy relationship]
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 phase of the relationship, 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. [Read: How men really fall in love]
As pleasant and blissful 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 someone 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.
Just like life, a relationship has its ups and downs. If you want to avoid any pitfalls and downs in a relationship, make sure you pay attention to these stages and learn to communicate with each other all throughout. Communication is key in helping both of you understand each other. As long as both of you are in the same page in each stage of the relationship, you truly have nothing to fear, and only great things to look forward to.
[Read: 7 secret signs of a bad relationship]
Look at these 9 relationship stages as stepping stones into a better future, one that’s filled with a lot of love and happiness, just as long as both of you remember to keep love alive all the time. And make sure you both never take each other for granted.
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