Updated: Jan 20
There are five stages to a relationship, and you may not flow through them linearly. The length of each one will vary from relationship to relationship. Understanding each stage and knowing what's happening in each is normal, can be super helpful, especially when navigating tricky times.
The 5 stages are:
Attraction & Romance
Doubt & Denial
Crossroads & Decision Time
Commitment & Go Deep
Bonding & Deep Love
1. Attraction & Romance
The initial stage of attraction and you can't get enough of each other. You send messages to each other all the time, go on dates and think about one another constantly. Your partner can't do any wrong and you are infatuated with them. Your brain produces high levels of dopamine, and oxytocin which makes you excited, giddy and euphoric all at the same time.
It doesn't get much better than this. You are walking on air and feel you have met your perfect match. Do take some caution during this stage, you may risk making a quick decision only to find out things are quite what they seem after the initial flush of excitement wears off.
2. Doubt & Denial
The rose-tinted glasses come off slightly. The dopamine in your body wears off. You start to notice things you've not seen before. Maybe your other half isn't quite as perfect as you thought after all. You notice differences in each other and start to question your choice. Are you compatible?
You may fight or withdraw. How you react and respond will give you great insight for the future. Use this time to strengthen your relationship through open communication and talking about how you feel.
If you make it through you will have a stronger emotional connection. Out of adversity comes strength and an increased bond. Equally, there is no shame in walking away at this point if it isn't the right relationship for you both.
3. Crossroads & Decision Time
It may come immediately after doubt and denial or because of other life-changing events. Either way, it is crunch time. Should you stay together or leave. Often a difficult decision, especially when you have been together for a while or have a family to consider.
It's key to make your choice with a conscious and clear mind, easier said than done. Decisions made out of fear often aren't the right ones. Being emotional involved can make this tricky, get help and support to be able to look at things from different perspectives and see each other's points of view.
It can be tempting to look for something new as this appears easier than sorting out what went wrong. We are likely to take the same issues forward to the next relationship as we haven't dealt with issues that are holding us back.
4. Commit & Go Deep
All relationships need to have an agreement to commit from both sides. You have to want to be in the relationship and be willing to do what it takes to make it work. It's at this point you need to go deep into the relationship, be vulnerable and open up with one another.
Share your concerns, fears, feelings and emotions. Once you open up your partner is most likely to as well. If this is a problem or you don't know how to, seek help. Coaching can support you to make sense of your emotions in a safe, no judgement zone. You can do this individually or as a couple.
5. Bonding & Deep Love
This is what it's all been for. You are experiencing deep love. You have learnt more about each and yourself. You are well practised in open communication, you respect each other and enjoy spending time together and apart. You have pure comfort in the relationship.
In this stage you can continue to deepen your love for each other, you experience joy and passion for one another. You are compassionate towards each other and seek to make the other person happy without losing yourself. You realise the tough times have all been worth it as it allowed you to understand each other and grow as a couple and individually.
Please share this with someone you think needs to hear this. If you need help get in touch, at inflori we deal with all kinds of life dilemmas, there is a wealth of experience and support available. You can follow on Instagram or Facebook for tips and inspiration. We wish you the best of luck finding happiness and love, life is to short not to shine brightly.