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What Are the Stages of A Relationship?

A relationship is best defined by how you relate with some or how you're connected to the person. Every day we create new relationships with the people we meet and interact with.

Relationship stages are cyclical rather than linear. Even people who reach the final stage of a relationship will find themselves returning to Stage 1 to begin the process all over again. They can, however, always find their way back.

One thing you should know is that there are several stages in a relationship that you should know of.

1. The honeymoon stage

When a couple first gets together, it's often the initial, sweeping romance that consumes them, including an all-consuming joy in the presence of our partner and insatiable, passionate sex.

People in this stage of a relationship frequently believe they've found their "perfect match," someone who is eerily similar and compatible with them. They have the impression that they always want to be together, and boundaries frequently dissolve. The two appear to be merging, or at least are eager to do so.

Image 1. PHOTO FILE

Make big decisions slowly as well—the honeymoon stage can cloud your vision and make you want to dive into situations that aren't necessarily wise or healthy for you in the long run.

In general, don't make decisions because you're "so in love"—that's a fleeting feeling of infatuation that will pass.

2. Doubt and denial stage

In this stage, an individual starts to question whether he is doing the right decision or not. 

Discovery can be a wonderful experience in certain circumstances, such as when you've found your compatible soulmate, but it's more likely to be a time of discouragement.

As relationships progress, the love chemicals in the brain begin to deplete, as do our idealized perceptions of the person we're with. The person we thought was perfect is actually human, complete with odd quirks, bad habits, and opposing viewpoints.

When individuals come up against each other's differences, friction occurs. Power struggles intensify, and we marvel at our partner's transformation. Love is mixed with alienation and irritation. Maybe we're not "ideal" for each other after all.

As our dissatisfaction grows, so do our biological responses to stress. We may want to fight or withdraw depending on our personality and circumstances.

At this point, conflict resolution abilities are essential. Learn how to deescalate conflicts and confront relationship issues while treating one another with care and respect.

Remember that power struggles and arguments are normal parts of any relationship; they aren't always a sign that love is over or that the relationship isn't working. You must learn to distinguish between healthy disagreement and unhealthy control issues.

At this stage, it is also important to identify and learn your partner's love language.

3. Disillusionment

This is the winter season of love, and for some couples, it may feel like the end of the road. The power struggles in the relationship have now fully surfaced; the issues that the couple has consistently swept under the rug are now glaringly obvious. Some people develop a state of perpetual vigilance, ready to charge into battle at the slightest provocation.

Other couples may gradually drift apart, putting less and less effort into the relationship and investing more outside of it.

Our first experience with passionate love is often a distant memory at this point. The "I" reappears, a much safer state than our previous blissful experience of "we." Nonetheless, some couples may not question their commitment; rather, they may interpret this as a strong signal that things must change.

At this point, there may be a lot of negative energy in the relationship. To counteract this, practice showing affection even when you are upset.

At this point, the brain is focusing on all of the relationship's flaws. Things that are going well are ignored, while things that are going wrong receive our full attention.

4. Decision stage

This is the breaking point of any relationship.

Emotional breakdowns, leaving the house for hours after a fight, and self-protective behaviors are all common.

In this stage, partners are advised to take a new path and take part in activities before making up their minds or choices.

Many couples believe they want to end their relationship, but when they learn how to communicate effectively, years of resentment or estrangement can fade away.

Doing other things entails recognizing your own role in the breakdown of your relationship and committing to lasting change. Even when couples decide to split up, they can often do so constructively, wishing each other well and acknowledging their own role in what happened.

5. Wholehearted love

Couples experience true individuation, self-discovery, and acceptance of flaws in themselves and their partners, recognizing that there is no such thing as a "perfect match."

This fifth stage of a relationship still requires hard work, but the difference is that couples know how to listen well and lean into uncomfortable conversations without feeling threatened or attacking one another.

Couples begin to play together again at this stage. They can laugh, relax, and thoroughly enjoy each other's company.

The qualities of two wholehearted people fuel the Wholehearted Love stage: generosity, humor, flexibility, resilience, good boundaries, self-care, and a life with meaning and purpose. Couples can stay in this stage as long as they can maintain their own wholeness as individuals, so make self-care and self-growth ongoing goals.

Wait until you've experienced mature love if you thought young love was wonderful. Couples who have worked through the stages of a relationship understand the distinction between passionate and romantic love.

Obsession, sexual longing, and jealousy are the foundations of passionate love, whereas comfort, communication, sexual chemistry, and security are the foundations of romantic love. The most difficult aspect of this stage is maintaining the necessary level of advanced communication and intimacy.

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