Wondering why some relationships end suddenly? Why your neighbors got a divorce out of the blue? Or are you having trouble keeping your own relationship strong? The answer lies in the 5 crucial stages of a relationship and how you may keep the pace and build a lasting relationship.
As evidenced by the high divorce rate in western countries, most relationships don’t work out. Statistics indicate that 40% of relationships end within 3 years. If you’re curious as to why most relationships fail and what you can do to prevent relationship breakdown, please keep reading. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to manage the different stages of relationships so you can keep the peace.
Stage 1: Initial Attraction
This is the most exciting stage of a relationship as we generally feel the most intense romance at the beginning of a relationship. The grass is greener; the sky is brighter. Our future looks bright and glorious. We are falling in love with someone.
At this stage, you are so attracted to the other person that you would do anything for them. Focusing on the best in them and looking toward a positive future, releases feel-good hormones which work well until the reality of your day-to-day choices start to rock up…
Relationship Challenge: Failure to Adhere to Personal Boundaries
When you are romantically excited, your brain is constantly producing dopamine and oxytocin. This is what leads to feelings of euphoria and connection.
Unfortunately, this level of happy hormone production won’t last for the lifetime of your relationship because every person’s brain has a protection mechanism that requires the perception of safety. As we progress through the different stages of a relationship, the feeling of safety will be compromised at times – either by ourselves or by our partner.
The most common mistake at the first stage of a relationship is the failure to adhere to your own personal boundaries. This includes your ethics, morals, and values. When you are initially head-over-heels attracted to someone, your personal boundaries can fly out of the window as you try to fit in with that other person’s life. This can lead to a loss of your self-respect, self-esteem and then attraction as you start losing yourself in choices that don’t feel right for you.
For instance, if one person is very health conscious due to previous health issues, and the other talks big about eating healthily, there will be certain expectations in the relationship. When they have entered the following stages in their relationship, resistant situations would arise when the partner who is less strict about eating frequently buys junk food to share.
How to Keep the Peace at Stage 1
This first stage of a relationship is when you set up parameters for your partner so they can have realistic expectations of their relationship with you.
No matter how connected you feel early in a relationship, it’s important to communicate how you live your life and your preferences honestly. Let the other person see who you are without any false pretenses.
It’s important to maintain your individuality as this is what initially creates attraction. Be clear on your boundaries and aim to make wise (instead of emotional) decisions when you can.
Respect your differences and focus on being the best version of yourself to maintain healthy attraction. This is how you can make your relationship sustainable in the long term.
Stage 2: Power Struggle
“Power Struggle” doesn’t sound very pleasant in a politically correct world, but it happens in most relationships. After the initial honeymoon phase, couples calm down and begin to look at the real dynamics in their relationship.
At this stage, many couples try to change each other in order to fit their own wants and needs. If you’ve been there, done that, you probably know what this looks like. However, not everyone is aware of what they are doing.
In his book The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene claims that trying to influence others is actually human nature, so everybody wants to do it and there is nothing wrong with that.
Although that point sounds valid and reasonable, this is the most dangerous stage of a relationship, because of this challenge…