During this process, work towards these things to prevent the relationship from ending:
• Accepting and appreciating your differences
• Learning to share power
• Relinquishing your fantasies of constant harmony
• Recognizing the strengths of your relationship.
• Setting and reinforcing clear boundaries and demonstrating mutual respect.
The goal of this stage is to establish your autonomy without destroying your love connection. Relationships gain strength if each person is able to manage their own feelings, handle disagreements amicably, and is open to improving and changing – if necessary – their communication styles.
This stage provides an opportunity for each person to dig a little deeper and discover what’s important to you and find ways to challenge yourself to continue to give in ways that further strengthen your relationship. When resolved in healthy ways, the conflicts that relationships endure help strengthen your emotional intimacy with each other.
The relationship becomes more realistic, rather than an idealized “fantasy.”
3.) The Stability Stage.
During this stage, a greater awareness of each other’s behaviors, differences, and annoyances emerge. Both have worked through establishing roles and independence and have moved away from the power struggles that once monopolized the relationship. They recognize that disagreements are just that – disagreements. They do not necessarily turn into arguments but if they do, they are manageable.
A relationship rhythm has developed, and each person experiences a greater feeling of relaxation. Trust and safety allowing each person to move away from the relationship in healthy ways without the relationship feeling threatened evolves. However, despite the positivity in the relationship, boredom lurks around the corner. This can lead to apathy or infidelity. Some people start to move away from rather than towards their partner. They might begin to ‘lean out’ of the relationship. Couples start to take one another for granted. There is less attention, intention, and investment in the relationship. Don’t allow this to happen. Talk about it. Recognize that this is part of the process and realize that boredom is part of the process but through deeper conversations, can be overcome.
4.) The Commitment Stage.
Clear choices about yourself and your partner are made. You have recognized both your and your partner’s shortcomings and accepted them. This is not a perfect science, but you are on a healthy path. There is an ebb and flow to the process. You trust more and feel safer. You remain curious. You can be yourself and do things that are important to you, but also stay connected with your partner and do things together. You have been able to manage the bad times and embrace the good times. Despite the bad, you can rise above and still enjoy the other’s company. This is a good place to be. You don’t need the person; rather, you choose to be with this person. There is a balance between power, freedom, love, and belonging.
Some questions people ask include: Can you see yourself with this person long term? Do you have shared interests and goals? Does this person add, not take away, from your life? Is this person the total package? Do you work as a team?