Stages of a Relationship

There are a number of stages of a relationship, regardless of whether it’s a relationship between two friends, two members of a family, two coworkers, or two lovers.

It’s important to understand that all relationships will go through stages, and these relationship stages are just a normal part of life. These stages of a healthy relationship are important, and it’s essential that you know the stages of relationship so that you can know if and when it’s time for letting go of a relationship.

Stages of a Romantic Relationship

There are different kinds of relationships that you will go through, and romantic relationships are some of the most important. Here are the stages of a romantic relationship:

Stage 1: Infatuation

stages of relationships infatuation
In this stage, there is no one person in the world that is better than your partner, and everything that he or she does is perfect. You probably feel that only butterflies and rainbows come out when they use the toilets, and there is nothing that they can do wrong. This is often confused for love, as the feelings can be similar. The truth is that it is just a chemical attraction, but it is a strong one that totally confuses your brain and makes you completely head over heels “in lust” with that person. This is the most enjoyable of the early stages of a relationship, but it will usually be over fairly quickly.

Stage 2: Comprehension

During this stage of a relationship, you have moved past the lust and infatuation and you begin to get to really know the person. You start to understand their wants and needs, and you get to know them as a person that is more than just someone to be in love with. You see their hidden sides, and you start to find yourself getting attracted to more than just their physical appearance and how they make you feel. You start to know them as the person that they really are, and with this comprehension comes an even deeper appreciation for that person.

Stage 3: Disturbances

One of the most important stages in a relationship – though definitely not one of the most pleasant stages in a romantic relationship – is the disturbance phase. This is the stage of a relationship where you start to fight, over silly things at first. You will find that the first big fight will usually signal the beginning of this relationship stage, and even though time will pass until your next fight, soon you will be fighting more and more often. It’s important that you go through this stage, as that is how you see how the other person handles personal disputes.

Stage 4: Opinions

During this stage in a relationship, you will begin to form opinions of the other person. These opinions are made according to the experiences that you have lived with the person during the time that you have spent with them, and they will often be based on real facts. If “she is a drama queen” or “he doesn’t like to share his feelings” are the opinions you form, it is probable that they are real. However, both positive and negative opinions can put people in a box, which can put a bit of a strain on your relationship.

Stage 5: Co-Existence

This is one of the stages of a relationship that is of the utmost importance, as this is the stage of dating and relationship building where you learn how to coexist with the other person. You mold yourself to their preferences, and your partner will mold him or herself to your preferences. This usually happens when the couple moves in together, or when they begin to spend a lot more time together. Each person will begin to make little sacrifices in order to accommodate the other person, and this is when harmony is either made or broken.

Stage 6: Happiness

All of the previous stages in a romantic relationship lead up to this moment when you are as happy as possible with each other, and this happiness goes beyond just infatuation. You usually feel very comfortable with the other person, and you know how to handle your differences with each other. You have each sacrificed to accommodate the other, and you have bonded with each other. During this stage, people often move in together, as they want the happy feelings to last. However, it may not be the best stage to take such a big step, but it’s important to take things slow.

Stage 7: Doubt

This happens to almost everyone in the world, though there are some lucky people that avoid the doubts that plague everyone else. There are times when you will look at your partner and think, “What am I doing with him or her?” You will begin to notice all the things that annoy you about them – really annoy you to the point that you are tempted to break up – and you will find that you can’t stand being around the person. This will often lead to your questioning whether or not you made the right decision, which can lead to the next stage.

Stage 8: Crucible

This is the time when you have to make a decision to stay with the person or not, and sex usually plays a large role in this. If you are content with your sex life, chances are that you are content with the person. If you aren’t content with sex, you may be tempted to break up with the person – or at least step out on them and have an affair. This will be the toughest test of your relationship, as it will strain your bonds and test how strong your relationship is. If your relationship isn’t going to work, this is where it will break. If you can make it past this stage, you will be able to make it to the final stage.

Stage 9: Trust

This is the final stage of your relationship, and this is the stage where you finally come to trust the other person. You may not come to trust them for years, but the truth is that you will have at least enough trust to share your life with them. It goes beyond just happiness, but it is formed through the crucible that you went through in the last stage. Now that your bonds have been tested, you are sure that your relationship is going to work – and you move on to the rest of your life.

One thing to keep in mind is that there is no Happily Ever After when it comes to romantic relationships. There is nothing that will guarantee that love will triumph in the end, and making it to the last stage doesn’t mean that you will never go through the other stages again. It is actually kind of like a cycle, as you will often feel infatuation for your partner once you have come to trust them. You will find that this cycle can be long or short, and you will go through the different stages of your relationship for the rest of your life.

General Stages of a Healthy Relationship

All healthy relationships go through different stages, though the stages aren’t the same as with a romantic relationship. A healthy relationship can be between coworkers, siblings, or family members. All relationships go through these five stages:

Stage 1: The Hollywood Stage
When meeting a new coworker or making a new friend, you will feel an attraction to them, and this beginning stage of your relationship will be like something out of a Hollywood movie. You will always laugh at each other’s jokes, and you will share passions. It will be easy for you to relate to the other person, as you will be blinded by all the glitz and glamor of your new relationship with another human being.

Stage 2: Power Stage
In this stage, each one of you will try to find your place in the pecking order – something that is just part of the way all creation works. All animals and humans try to find their place in the hierarchy, and you will each try to do something to prove that you are the person higher up. It may not be overt, but there will be some kind of power struggle as you each try to assert your place.

Stage 3: Evaluation Stage

Once you have seen what the other person is willing or able to do in order to achieve their place on the hierarchy of power, you have to evaluate your relationship with the person. If the relationship is worth it, you will form an identity that will allow you to fit into the suitable role with them. If not, you will distance yourself from them and find a new relationship.

Stage 4: Synergy Stage
During this stage, you and your new friend or coworker will have formed identities that fit together, and this is when the synergy will begin. You will each find ways to work or exist peacefully with each other, neither one disturbing the protective bubble that both of you have formed around yourselves. You will learn how to get over your difficulties, and will find the ways to work or interact harmoniously.

Stage 5: Acceptance
If you can learn how to work together in harmony, you will find that each will accept the other’s place in the natural order of things. This acceptance will lead to an easy relationship with each other, as you each accept that the other person has things about them that annoy you, things that you like, and things that don’t really matter. You will learn to take the good with the bad, and this will lead to a productive relationship.

A Few Things to Be Careful For…

If you are in a new relationship, it’s important that you are careful to avoid a few simple mistakes:

    Taking the person for granted – Your new relationship or friendship will seem like nothing can break it, but undervaluing someone is guaranteed to split up your relationship before it ever gets into the later stages. Avoid taking your partner or friend for granted, and make sure that they know that they have value to you – and that you value them as a person.
    Putting pressure on the person – Saying “I love you” early in a romantic relationship can put a serious strain on the relationship, and in the same way asking for “a favor” too early on in a friendship or working relationship can also lead to a strain. It’s important to wait until it’s the right time for things, as that will give the relationship time to build the bonds of trust that will make it easy for each of you to ask more from the other person.
    Showing too much of yourself – Everyone has little quirks and foibles that make them either an interesting person or a strange one, but some people show those things off too early on in the relationship. It’s important that you don’t pretend to be something that you’re not, but you need to hold off on startling truths until the person is able to accept them.
    Being something you’re not – All of us create identities that other people will be able to use to identify us with, but often the identity is different from the person that we really are. It’s important that your identity is not something completely different from yourself, but that you keep it as close to your real personality as possible. After all, they will eventually get to know you, and you don’t want them to think that you’ve been lying to them all along.
    Trying too hard –Most relationships are forged over time, and there is nothing that will make a relationship boat rock more than trying to force it. Whether with a friend, a coworker, or a romantic interest, you can’t try too hard, as that will often make the person think that you are too invested in the relationship.

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