Think back to a time when you first started dating someone. How was that like? It was pretty much all love and romance and secret laughs and promises for tomorrows, is that not so?
There were calls made at every second and texts to ask how the other was. 6 months down the line, and the need to know what the other was doing at every minute was gone. There were some struggles here and there, but the understanding of the other had deepened.
The Different Stages of a Relationship
Love is in the Air
Let’s call this one the romance stage. Actually it is also called the courtship and fantasy stage. Every relationship will essentially start out with this one. This stage is all about the time when those love songs start making sense. The need to be with the other, spend all that time together dating, doing all that corny stuff and loving it too!
Staring into each other’s eyes and living on love. What’s the reality of this stage then? The foremost need here is to please the other, and you’re on your best behavior because of that. Nothing the other does is considered wrong and differences are often ignored.
This stage works on a superficial level because what you are in this stage is not the entire picture. The layer of love has to melt before you even start making sense of the true nature of the relationship. But that comes in the later stages. In this stage of love, you’re just head over heels and sickeningly in ‘love’.
A Mere Human You!
This one’s the reality stage. The ‘Let’s show you what he/she is really like’ stage. One of the early stages of a relationship. So that thing you liked about him cricking his neck, suddenly starts to get annoying or the ‘Shai! look how long she takes in the bath room’ starts to get to you.
What is going on? The romance is taking a nap to let the reality set in. And now you know that the other is a mere human-complete with flaws, baggage, insecurities and bad habits.
Welcome home relationship issues. This stage is like a bubble bursting for most because they’ve just been and known the high that comes from the romance stage and to suddenly be faced with reality like this, can get tough. Yet, most survive ‘coz the after-effects of the romance stage last. Just keep your cool and hold on to the communication tool with dear life.
I Could Kill You!
Too harsh? Well, a lukewarm version of ‘If I could kill you’ then. In this stage, the differences begin to not only show, but fester into a constant power struggle (That is what this stage is also known as). In this, the differences start making way into fights and arguments and resolving them becomes difficult. It is in this stage that many couples call it quits because there is so much bitterness involved. However, there are couples who get through this stage as well with honest communication and tremendous patience.
You Aren’t That Bad
So much struggle happening in the stage preceding this one, there is bound to be a feeling of being physically and emotionally strung out. So what does one do? One begins to re-evaluate their relationship, if they are still together that is, and many of them realize that what they thought to be really unbearable in the other is not really that bad at all. This stage is also known as the stability and re-evaluation stage.
In this stage the couple usually relies on the familiarity that they’ve built with the other and try making it work into a healthy relationship. They understand that their differences aren’t as deep as they were made out to be, and that adjusting with the other and being happy is possible. This is also the stage when you start reacquainting with all your old friends and are comfortable and secure enough in your personal relationship to be yourself.
The Real Thing, At Last
Going through ALL those stages to reach this stage (aka Acceptance or Transformation stage), is no easy task. This stage is that Zen feeling stage. You really know your partner inside out, and accept them for what they are. All those struggles and fights don’t disappear of course, but they don’t take you to the make or break stage either. You accept your partner completely and that is how you get ready to experience the true feeling of love. Not a disillusioned, romance novel kind of love, but that of acceptance and mutual respect.
Since it’s a relationship, there will be fights and squabbles – even if you’ve crossed all the stages of a relationship! But there will also be those moments of sharing and so much caring and the memories that you make along the way that should help you get through it all. That is what the stages of a healthy relationship should stall with – You fight, you break up. You kiss, you make up. Simple.