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Every relationship goes through stages. In fact, there are five stages that researchers have discovered.
How long a relationship stays in each stage is really dependent on the people in it. Some relationships may not make it past the first few stages and that’s okay. This may be due to a lack of connection, compatibility, or a change in feelings over time.
What’s important to know is that it’s natural to lose those early romantic feelings (e.g. the racing heartbeat and butterflies) as your relationship progresses. As time moves on, it becomes more about communication and hard work.
Hot tip! Learning about the five stages in a romantic relationship can help you know more about how you feel towards your relationship and partner/s.
This is where you begin getting to know each other. This is also known as the ‘honeymoon phase’ and can last anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. Stage One involves lots of fun and everything will seem pretty much perfect. You will focus on your similarities and ignore your flaws. You’ll spend a lot of time together and will avoid conflict.
This stage tends to slowly creep in. The relationship no longer seems like a fantasy and you start to see your partner/s for who they are, flaws and all. This is often where relationships end as one person decides they’ve made a mistake with their partner selection. In order to make it to Stage Three, partners need to accept one another for who they truly are.
After reality sets in, it’s common to feel disappointment. There may be more arguments taking place, even over trivial things. At this stage, many couples go through a pretty long period of working out their differences to get to a place of stability. Healthy communication is KEY here, as is trust, and the ability to work as a team.
By this stage, those in the relationship can relax and enjoy themselves. You now have a history together and have been able to work through your differences - great job! The fantasy of Stage One may be gone, but you love your partner and feel connected to them in other ways. You trust them and know you will be able to overcome future conflicts. It’s also normal to feel a little bored at this stage and wonder if you would be able to experience Stage One feelings with someone else. Just remember though that a new relationship with a new partner is still ultimately going to go through these five stages.
By this stage, you and your partner truly are a team! Stage Five is all about mature and sustainable love. You can see a future together and you don’t want to do life with anyone else.