Relationships tend to move from one stage to the next without us being aware of it. One minute you’re nervous and excited to see the other person and before you know it you’re acting like an old married couple. Here are the stages of a relationship:
1. Courtship. This is the wooing stage where you try to win each other’s affections and are trying to impress each other. You aren’t officially a couple yet and you’re both determining whether or not you like each other. The courtship phase is fun and exciting but can also be stressful and nerve-wracking as you try to impress each other and aren’t secure in knowing the other’s feelings towards you.
2. Honeymoon. The honeymoon phase takes place when you’ve settled into a relationship and have the comfort in knowing that you both like each other and want to be together, but it’s still early enough that you’re having fun and enjoying every moment together.
3. Getting to know each other. In this stage, the relationship bond is deepening as you talk and try to learn as much as you can about each other. You talk about your past, your family, your childhood and your future goals in an effort to soak up as much information about each other as you can.
4. Disappointment/Reality. In this stage you have your first fight and have your first glimpse at the fact that the other person is flawed. You realize that they aren’t perfect and that they have the ability to disappoint and hurt you.
5. Comfort/Stability. This is the stage where you’ve come full circle in realizing that you both have the potential to be impressive as well as disappointing to each other and you can now relax. You know that your relationship can withstand ups and downs and you both relax and enjoy the stability. While it’s great to be able to be yourself and feel comfortable, this is the stage where you realize the danger of being too comfortable and complacent.
6. Commitment (or Decline). After the comfort stage your relationship is either strong enough that it reaches the commitment stage, or it can’t sustain itself and it comes to an end. The commitment stage comes when you have experienced the good, the bad and the normal together and you both decide that you want to continue a life together. It may come in the form of an official commitment, like getting engaged or moving in together, or it may be more subtle as you simply decide that you’re committed to each other.