Stage 1: falling in love
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1. stage of courtship (the “honeymoon phase”)
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Develop and improve products. List of Partners vendors. Not to point out the obvious, but every relationship shifts and develops over time. The way we relate to our parents, our friends, and, yes, our romantic partners, moves through distinct stages as bonds are formed and tested. Why is it, then, that the stages of a romantic relationship seem more difficult to decipher? While it's true that every relationship cycles through different phases, what exactly they entail and how long they last differ from couple to couple.
When is it best for couples to start getting serious? Does the honeymoon phase really exist? Does falling out of the honeymoon phase mean falling out of love?
2. marriage/living together (without children)
To help provide some clarity, we asked two dating experts, Bela Gandhi and Nora DeKeyserfor their takes on the most common stages of a romantic relationship. Surprisingly, both women had similar ideas for what partners can expect as a relationship goes from casual dates to seriously coupled.
Meet the Expert. Below are the five stages of a relationship nearly every couple experiences, according to two dating experts. While some chance encounters result in instant chemistrythere's typically an initial awkwardness to slough off before the first date—and even during it. Testing the tepid waters of "do they like me, do they like me not" can be the toughest part. Saddling up the courage to even approach the other person, drafting up clever texts—while exciting, the very first steps of a potential relationship include the biggest challenges of all.
The first date can be difficult, too, and something that DeKeyser says is an inevitable first stage in dating: "Both parties are nervous, overthinking, and worried it is going to be 'another' wasted date with someone they don't connect with.
After this stage, things get less awkward and you can finally start feeling comfortable around the other person. If you've made it past the initial awkwardness, couples enter one of the most exciting periods: the attraction stage of a relationship also called the honeymoon phase. This is a golden period where, as Gandhi puts it, "You're lit up like a chandelier around this person. But how do you know when you're transitioning out of the honeymoon phase versus falling out of love? The honeymoon phase will fade with time—but love should grow with time.
Stages of romantic relationships
Honeymoon is a quick feeling of excitement, sexual arousal, nuance, and slightly obsessive 'lust'—which can be addicting at first. Love is a feeling of stability, partnership, deep intimacy and trust, and shared values. Gandhi elaborates on the difference between the two, stating, "Falling out of love will probably mean that even though you truly care for and love your partner, you realize that they are not right for you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
The act of falling in love is effortless, automatic even. Moving on from falling in love to contemplating long-term exclusivity, however, is a scary, albeit exhilarating, step to take. This is where the uncertainty stage of a relationship sets in. You may doubt the veracity of your love for this person; you may even question if your values and lifestyles are compatible. What do they value, how do they want to live their life, how do they want the relationship to be in the future?
What are the stages of a relationship?
Both parties have to choose to work at the relationship, and you choose to work at the relationship as an effect of the wonderful feelings you experienced throughout the stages of love. This is also the stage where the most challenges crop up as you start to view your relationship with a critical lens.
According to DeKeyser, "Challenges actually bring couples who manage them correctly closer together because it teaches the two of you that you can get through the tough times together and trust each other through communication. Is it you not being open enough, or is your partner someone who wouldn't want to work on the hard stuff?
If you and your partner have decided to get serious, you've landed at the intimacy stage of a relationship. While the word may conjure an association with physical intimacy, this stage focuses on vulnerability. It's incredibly tough to be vulnerable with another person and to reveal—openly and unequivocally—parts of yourself that aren't ideal. You are realizing that what you have is deeper than 'fun, exciting, and sexy. It's after relating to each other on a completely open level that couples can move on to the final stage of commitment in a relationship: the partnership stage.
What partnership means to a couple is wide and varying.
It could mean moving in together, getting engaged, or simply deciding to enter a long-term, exclusive relationship. DeKeyser explains, "This is the stage where you realize you two are best friends and lovers.
You are partners to each other in life—you can spend hours, days, weeks, months side by side with this person, and you only better each other and feel as though you are one unit. Every couple is unique—there isn't an exact time stamp you can put on reaching the partnership stage of a relationship. Gandhi says, "If this person makes your relationship easy, you are compatible, and you like to be together, it sounds like a good foundation to get serious. Every relationship takes work, but the work shouldn't be hard—a good relationship should be easy overall.
Stage 2: becoming a couple
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Sabrina Paparella. Sabrina Paparella is a writer, content manager, and search strategist whose includes positions with Red Hen Press and Clique Brands Inc. She earned a master's degree in English language and literature from Claremont Graduate University. Brides's Editorial Guidelines. Nora DeKeyser is a professional matchmaker and relationship coach and has helped over 20, singles. Related Stories.