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Stages in Love Relationship

  1. 1.  All relationships begin with this stage. The need satisfied here is love and belonging. This stage is characterised by its dream like qualities, fantasies, and hopes for the future, the possibilities and the asking of "what if". Everything is wonderful, beautiful, fun and exciting.
  2. 2.     Romance allows one to take chances and risks and nurtures a belief that "I can do it". However, real love cannot begin at this stage so paradoxically one must fall out of love to learn to love. This stage lasts, on the average, two months to two years. Romancing takes up a lot of energy with all the courting and pretensions and trying to be the same and eventually you begin to tire. As well, melding at the hip becomes uncomfortable. As well, melding at the hip becomes uncomfortable. When the cost to your individuality becomes too great you begin trying to change the other person. There is resistance, you try to insist and there is a fight, leading to the next stage of power struggle. A counsellor does not see anyone in the Romance stage.
  3. 3. The need satisfied now is power and some freedom. There is an awareness now that you are different but the premise remains that differences are bad.  This is a critical stage where divorce occurs most frequently and when couples seek counselling, The fight is for boundaries and clearly defining unacceptable bottom line behaviours. The past is acted out in this struggle stage. 
  4. 4. You become aware of your quality world, perhaps a lonely road but a necessary one to determine what is really important to you. It is necessary to reclaim yourself as a whole person otherwise you die inside or end up hating your partner. This is necessary to move ahead.  The focus in the power struggle stage is on the present and the past. There is nervousness about the future and some questioning whether there will be one. 
  5. 5. This stage is a prerequisite to readiness to relate to each other as whole people. See it as a positive one, an opportunity to journey together, to learn how to fight fairly with both winning and to declare one's own individuality and separateness.  It is possible to have one partner still in the romance stage while the other is into the 20 power struggle stage. This can be painful when the one in the romance stage finds that what he or she does for love and belonging leaves the other feeling oppressed. 
  6. 6. The need satisfied in this stage is freedom and choice. You are now aware of each other’s personal world instead of just your own and the difference is okay. It is finally clear you are not going to reshape your partner. Clear boundaries are determined.  This is a resting time. The war is over and it's time to relax. You breathe a sigh of relief. The danger at this stage is the couple may start to move apart as each does their own thing. 
  7. 7. There is a realization that each others paths in life may be different. There may be a feeling of boredom, a sense of not being connected and having nothing in common. The focus is on the present not the future because that is still undecided.  This is the second most common stage for counselling or divorce. At first it feels good to agree to stop changing the other but life is not like that. Life is about growing and changing. The positive aspect is that at this stage you have history and it can be used to advantage. Don't throw away the relationship easily. At this time you either learn mutual respect or you go back to the second stage. 
  8. 8.  This is the only stage where there really is a readiness for marriage though people usually have already married in the romance stage. That's unfortunate because when they reach the power struggle stage they wonder what hit them.
  9. 9. In this stage you are wide awake, making clear choices about yourself and your partner, based both on individual differences and those things you have in common. You see clearly who you are and what you want as well as who your partner is and what they want. This is the only way for a healthy relationship.  You now choose each other with awareness of past, present and direction to the future. The needs fulfilled here are a balance of love, belonging, fun, power and freedom. You don't need each other; you choose to be with each other. 
  10. 10.  If one of the pair is in the stability stage and one ready for commitment, the couple will either both remain in stage three or could return to stage two. Both need to be ready for the commitment stage. Though parts of previous stages may reappear there would have been enough work to have developed strategies for dealing with problems.
  11. 11. Living together is probably a stage three without readiness for stage four.  They need to stay in the stability stage until they are ready for commitment and really want to be a team. The statement can now be made to your partner, I choose to love you knowing all I know, good and bad." Getting married after living together can start you back at romance. 
  12. 12.  In this stage you are two people who have decided to be a team moving out into the world.
  13. 13.  You move beyond the relationship. The danger at this stage is over involvement with the outside world and relationship being neglected. The relationship must be continually nurtured along the way. There needs to be time for you, for me, for us and for them. This is difficult sometimes and choices must be made.
  14. 14.  These stages are not a linear process; it is a circle spiralling upwards so when you hit a certain stage in the power struggle it becomes easier. You retain stages and bring them forward as you grow - you are in one stage or another at any given time with bits of the others. Knowledge of the stages helps movement through them.