Every relationship and friendship goes through different stages. In some friendships, you might hit it off immediately and fly through the friendship levels to the one where you feel most connected. In other cases, it may take a while.
The same goes for romantic relationships. All of us are different and have unique experiences which influence our dating journey. This journey can commonly be divided into five stages – from getting to know each on the first few dates to the stage where you are ready to commit to each other.
Understanding that most relationships go through the following or similar phases can be helpful to you and your dating experience.
So, what are the most common stages of dating?
The Five Stages of Relationships
The first stage of dating is when emotions are flying high. You’re excited to get to know the other person and want to spend a lot of time with them. As you get to know each other better, the attraction grows and you begin to fall in love.
This stage is often also named the honeymoon phase. You appreciate each other’s positive qualities and, although you may be aware of the negative traits or the things that bother you, you don’t mind and
gloss over them.
This initial phase of attraction often lasts between six months to two years. It is exciting and filled with the many feel-good hormones and chemicals your body produces.
Throughout this time, it’s important to remember to stay true to who you are and allow the other person to get to know you as you.
After the honeymoon and attraction phase, some uncertainties may creep in as the hormones and chemicals from the initial stage subside, and you become more aware of what bothers you. This is typical of the second stage of dating.
Questions, such as whether you’re compatible in values and lifestyle may come up, and things may not seem as straightforward or as easy as they were previously. Disagreements may arise and the actions you used to find endearing may annoy you, leaving you with a mixed bag of emotions.
But this doesn’t mean that your relationship is going to come to an end. When both sides communicate openly and respectfully about what they’re feeling and why, this second stage of uncertainty and facing reality can be one of growth and understanding – as a couple and as individuals. Differences will arise and arguments may get heated, but with open communication and trust from both sides, the relationship can move into the next phase. It is important to respect the differences and cherish the similarities you have.
There may, of course, also be some relationships that don’t make it past this stage of uncertainty as the differences are too big.
By this point, your relationship has experienced some ups and downs. You’ve gotten to know each other, the good and the bad, and you may have worked through some difficult situations together.
You start to find your groove and help each other reach your individual goals and your #couplegoals. The lessons you’ve learnt along the way have helped you build a foundation on which you can build your relationship and continue learning.
This fourth stage is a natural continuation of the growing commitment and stability you offer each other in your relationship.
Intimacy not only entails physical intimacy but also emotional intimacy. This means allowing yourself to be vulnerable and opening up to your partner, when you feel safe to do so. The trust, respect and ability to communicate grow as your relationship deepens. For this reason, some refer to this phase as the deep attachment stage.
The fifth stage of dating and relationships is that of partnership. What this stage of partnership means will be different for each couple. For some, it may mean moving in together, getting engaged or married. What this stage of dating holds in common for all is that it usually contains a certain level of commitment that hasn’t yet been made.
Keep in mind that each of these stages will vary between couples and may even vary between your relationships.
People find love in many different ways and healthy relationships are built on many varying factors. There are certain core elements, such as good communication, vulnerability and trust that create healthy relationships, but the rest – the finer details – are based on the individuals.
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