Do you remember all those fairy tales about love, loyalty, and happiness in marriage that we all read about in childhood? They tell how the two fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after – these three stages in a long-term relationship are ideal, but completely out of touch with reality. In fact, frustration, fights, mistrust, jealousy often inevitably lead to a crisis of relationships and a breakup.
Psychologists usually distinguish six stages that all couples go through during the development of their relations. The time limits are not concrete, they vary from couple to couple: some are stuck at the same stage for several years, another do it much faster. And today I’d like to discuss these 6 stages:
The Stage of Crash & Infatuation
We call it a honeymoon phase of the relationship as well. This stage is characterized with an absolute idealization of the partner, intense attraction, and an uncontrollable need to spend every minute with each other. All our attention and thoughts are concentrated around our sweetheart: “You’re the best. You make me happy. I’m yours, you’re mine! It’s forever!” The infatuation stage is also known for frequent flowers, cute text messages, you make me happy quotes and other pleasant little things for no reason at all.
When the romance and magic of the honeymoon stage are over, some couples split up to experience these unforgettable feelings again and again with new partners, while others move on to the next stage of their relationships.
The Stage of Expectations & Compromise
At this point, we begin to realize that the partner is not so ideal as it used to seem. Here you start getting to know each other better and can feel a kind of frustration, tension, conformism, inability to get through to the lover. The first arguments usually take place at this stage because of the crash of our expectations: “You’ve become another person! You hurt me. You’re changing… what’s wrong?!” – but actually nobody’s changing, we’re just taking the scales from our eyes.
If you want to keep a relationship, the first challenge is to find the compromises and ways to accept the differences, considering them as integral characteristics of the partner.
The Stage of Power & Control
The main problem of this stage is mistrust that leads to a total control. Both are afraid of giving in, and strive to manipulate: “You are selfish, you don’t love me! You don’t understand me! You’re just like your parents! You care only about yourself! If you keep doing that, I’ll leave you”.
When the relationship reaches this stressful level, it’s time to learn how to solve the problems together, how to make common choices, try to understand the partner’s point of view, be responsible for all your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
The Stage of Rivalry & Competition
The struggle for independence usually lies at the basis of the fourth stage – it’s a period when a partner (or both of them) experience the crisis of the individual and personal development becomes essential. You may feel irritation, anger, guilt, and ask yourself “Who am I? Will I cope by myself? Why does he/she limit my freedom? I need time and space for myself. I love myself.” Many couples fall apart (divorce) at this stage, but often get back together later.
The “Put-Up-with-It” Stage
The couple comes to this stage when both treat themselves and each other as unique independent personalities with own priorities, goals, conflicts and beliefs. You learn to take responsibility for your needs, develop a more open and honest approach to the partner, which leads to intimacy in the relationship. When you put up with the sweetheart’s good and bad sides and stop your selfishness, your relation goes to the next level through respect and trust.
The Stage of Agreement & Acceptance
The balance is the key. When you find a middle ground between self-realization and dedication, when you reach own goals and support the partner’s successes, when both of you know your pros and cons and still enjoy being together, when all the problems are solved through negotiation and discussion, when there’s a lot of warmth and care, this is the highest level of relationships.
The sixth stage is exactly when it’s important to understand that there are no ideal people, and nobody’s able to escape little domestic disputes. Do remember that the personal qualities matter more than socks scattered around the room. Never nag from scratch and regularly refresh your feelings with a little bit of romance, as it’s never too late!
About the Author :
Andrew Guerra is the founder of sweetytextmessages.com He likes to share his thoughts with the people around. His writing on motivation, love has appeared to make our life better. Andrew believes in fairness and human wisdom.