The 7 Stages of Love: How to Survive Difficulties and Deepen Your Relationship with Your Partner
Breaking up if something doesn’t suit you and finding a new partner is easy. But it is important to remember that in a new relationship we will remain the same.
In this article we will tell you:
- What stages all couples go through.
- What pitfalls are encountered on the path of love.
- What to do to preserve the union at each stage.
A relationship is the juxtaposition of two worlds that will either create a new one or go their separate ways. Sometimes we look at happy couples who have been together for years and think they are lucky. They understand each other with half a word, look at each other with loving eyes and are ready to support each other in everything. But is it luck?
In most cases, these couples had the same background as those who broke up. They were just able to get through a dense forest of complaints, resentments, tantrums, and doubts. How they did it is worth asking each couple. But one thing we do know is that it wasn’t cloudless in their skies.
Some of us moved intuitively, some of us knew that solving each problem was a step up and a step forward. Some were guided by their experience and worked on their mistakes. Someone sought help from more experienced comrades.
Psychologists have long ago identified the main stages that every couple in love will inevitably encounter, and gave us this knowledge to make it easier to navigate the terrain called Love.
Stage 1: Falling in love
And so we meet “the one” – the person who looks at us with admiring eyes and at whom we look the same way. With whom you can spend the whole night talking and feel invigorated the next day, because the butterflies in your belly with the flapping of their wings started the perpetual motion machine.
It seems that we do not need to sleep, do not need to eat, and do not need anything at all. All we need is the object of our love. Men want to do real deeds, to overcome themselves and to be chivalrous. Girls blossom and do not walk, but literally float above the ground. They have a keen desire to “boil borscht” and show wonders of housekeeping and caring for their ideal man.
Psychologists say that this stage lasts up to 18 months, if the couple did not break up earlier. Breaking up is only possible if the goals are different and the partners begin to understand this. For example, the girl wants to get married and hints at it in every possible way, and the man is not ready. And of course he will avoid these dialogues and either disappear or be shown the door. The opposite situation is also possible.
There are virtually no pitfalls at this stage, except that we do not perceive reality as it is. We do not see a real person, but an image which our brain has painted under the influence of large quantities of endorphins.
Harvard professor Helen Fisher conducted a study which showed that the brain of a person in love and the brain of a person who had used drugs are similar. The hormones responsible for pleasure and euphoria are produced above normal and block negative emotions and the ability to think rationally. We are deceived, but more often than not there is nothing we can do about it.
What to do?
When we fall in love, we are ready to talk about the object of our love all the time. And it’s good if we have a faithful friend by our side, who helps us to take off the rose-colored glasses, at least for a while. It is this person who sometimes directs our attention to the shortcomings of the partner or his not quite good behavior. And we must learn to listen, rather than dismiss it with, “He/she is perfect!”
Also, during the period of falling in love, we must find something to keep us engaged and switch our train of thought. We shouldn’t forget about work, friends and hobbies.
Stage 2: Satiety.
The first hunger is satisfied. We don’t want to spend 100% of our time with our partner anymore. During this period, we want to be alone with ourselves or meet with friends, leaving our partner at home.
We begin to notice our partner’s flaws and he or she begins to notice ours. We look closely at the appearance and see some flaws that before as if they were not. We hear silly things, which now and then burst out of his beloved’s mouth. Suddenly it turns out that we are not so much the same. That everyone has a skeleton in the closet and a squad of cockroaches in the head, and these squads are different species. This does not mean that the partner becomes unpleasant to us, but in comparison to what it was, it seems as if love has passed.
Of course, it is hard for us to realize that our emotions have subsided, our hormones have calmed down, and we are back to our normal state. At this point, things are generally quite smooth and peaceful. We feel good with each other, calm and comfortable. Many at this time decide to live together or have already formalized a relationship.
During this period of calm, it is possible to believe that love has passed, and to end the relationship. And it will be a mistake. End a relationship, for example, when there are specific grievances and a complete lack of understanding. Not when the sea is calm. This is the time when we should already be thinking about where to move forward. This is preparation for starting to work on the relationship.
What to do?
During this period, we must begin to actively get to know each other. That is, we begin to look for something more in the partner, something meaningful beyond “I feel so good with her/him.” It is important to start talking to each other with the intention of getting to know your partner. To see the real person, not the image that we were in love with at first. To do this, it is important to try to listen and hear. And to separate the other from ourselves.
Also at this time we must learn to consider each other’s interests. If one wants to read before bedtime and the other wants to watch a movie, that’s a problem as long as it’s not voiced. We need to come up with our own rules to help avoid conflicts.
Stage 3: Disgust or rejection
This is the equator of the relationship. And we either get over it or we “bail” out of the relationship. This is one of the most crisis points. Many relationships have fallen into a field called “Disgust.”
It’s that time when just about everything about a partner pisses us off. We are annoyed by the way the person we love eats, sleeps, walks, breathes. What used to cause emotion, at this stage seems infantile of the highest degree. And if suddenly the partner raises his voice, answers rudely or harshly, not attentive enough, it is not just annoying – it causes hatred.
“There are no people without flaws,” writes psychologist David Bass in his book. – Drawing attention to shortcomings increases their importance, especially if emphasized attempts to disguise or hide a weakness.
This stage comes after about 3 years, hence the infamous saying that love lives for 3 years. During this period there is a crisis in the relationship, but it does not mean that love is dead, it means that the first serious obstacles appeared on the couple’s path. Finally died the first passion that wrapped its shroud, and it is time to start loving each other.
The depth of the relationship is already very serious. At this stage, not rocks, but whole icebergs await us. A complete stranger suddenly appears before us. We suddenly notice that another man is more gallant and handsome than the one who comes home every day after work. And the woman passing by is sexier and more interesting than the nagging wife. We get the feeling that we’ve made the wrong choice.
What to do?
At the “Disgust” stop, the couple has a lot to analyze, think about, and understand. We must come to terms with the fact that the passion is over, but whether it will return depends on both of us.
It’s important to remember why we chose each other and why we wanted to live our lives together. This is also where we learn to take responsibility for our feelings and our behavior. When we are struggling and full of grievances, it is important to realize that our grievances are our choices, and our partner has nothing to do with them. He may not even be aware of them. So we should try to talk about very difficult topics without emotion.
Stage 4: Patience and forgiveness
This stage is only possible if one of the partners has realized that it is not a matter of breaking down. We understand that everyone has flaws, but we can put up with them.
This is where we begin to control our emotions and hear what our partner is telling us. At this point, we begin to make sense of what is happening. We realize that there are two personalities in our relationship who don’t have to copy each other. We don’t yet have a deep feeling, but we do have an understanding of responsibility for our choices and to the person.
“If we show love and forgive others for lapses, it does not mean that we allow our trust and kindness to be abused,” writes psychologist John Gray, author of the world bestseller “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. – This means that, firstly, we give up the desire to inflict a painful retaliatory strike on the wrongdoer, and secondly, together we remedy the situation and finally reach a mutually beneficial result.
The risks of separation at this stage are also great, but already less than at the previous stage. We’ve been through fire, water, and brass. We have invested so much strength and energy in this relationship that we do not want to cut everything. But this is the wrong motivation, and because of it, a couple can get stuck at this stage for a long time. We tolerate and forgive, but we don’t grow. Exactly because we are afraid that if we start making drastic moves, we will lose each other. But it’s after this stage that the relationship becomes very strong, and no one else has the question, “Is the right person around?”
What to do?
We learn not to remember past hurts and poke them in the partner. We understand that any change must begin with yourself. And we change.
“You need to see a therapist and to get out of the childhood trauma from which you are now suffering. When you were young, you lacked communication with your parents, – says Mikhail Labkovsky. – You moved this trauma into adulthood, and now you need a relationship for the sake of relations. The fact that those children who had enough relations with their parents in adulthood understand that relationships have some place, but they treat them without fanaticism.
At this stage it is also important to let yourself and your partner do something that is important to them and support them in doing it.
Stage 5: Duty.
We begin to feel the beginnings of love. At this stage, we understand that everyone has responsibilities, and it’s okay to do them. And it’s okay to fulfill them, even if the partner doesn’t fulfill his or hers. Moreover, we stop seeing them as something forced upon us, and we do everything for each other with pleasure. We understand and know that we have both made the decision to be together.
If we’re doing what we think we’re doing more than our partner, it can throw us off balance. We may suddenly feel like we’ve made a mistake. But as life shows, going that long with the wrong person is impossible.
What to do?
The main thing is that we should always remember that we made the decision to be with that person. We should calmly talk about our feelings if we don’t like something. And most importantly, continue to get to know the person.
Stage 6: Respect and Friendship
At this stage, we already know each other very well. We know very well what we have in common, but even better, how we are different. And this difference we respect. We respect our partner’s desires and aspirations. We respect his goals and dreams. And what is more, we are ready to share everything with him. In this period begins deep conversations of the soul without tensions and dramas. We again feel good together.
This is the last stage before deep love, which you can carry through life. And here it is very important not to think that this relationship is the same as a 20-year friendship with a girlfriend or friend. We chose this person to be our partner, and being friends is just one of the roles we live out together. We have other roles: parents, partners, children for our parents, and separate individuals.
What to do?
Enjoy each other. And keep affirming ourselves in the idea that our partner is the best person in the world. And, of course, don’t forget to exercise ourselves.
Stage 7: Love
Perhaps at this stage words are superfluous. This is a strong union, which nothing can destroy. Although you should not try to protect yourself from anything. Each couple will have its own story with its own depth and details.
It doesn’t mean that we’ve mastered zen together. It just means that we’ve been able to go through the hard stuff together along the way.
Even if we love each other, that doesn’t protect our relationship from crises. If we see crisis as an opportunity to get to know the other even better, we can work through anything. Instead of fighting each other, it’s much more beneficial to unite against the problem at hand.
Without cutting corners, without indulging the fashionable principle of “if you do not like it – leave,” we can make a relationship with a partner deeper, more honest, higher quality. And deep, sincere relationships are what prolong our lives and make us happier and healthier. Isn’t that an argument to try?
7 stages of development of a relationship between a man and a woman
Professional journalist, author of a poetry collection and several literary publications.
Expert – Margarita Lopukhova
Family psychologist. For eight years I have been saving “family units” from disintegration. I help couples regain love and understanding.
When does the analysis of past relationships or nostalgia seizes and wants to remember how it all began. Often one comes to the conclusion that past experiences are similar in some way. All events seem to develop in a circle and always go through the same stages of the relationship. It is a natural process for a healthy relationship to go through all periods of relationship development to become even stronger.
Why a relationship goes through stages of development
The harmonious development of a couple must go through different stages of relationship building. You can’t be constantly satisfied with candy and bouquets, long walks under the moon, and always a relationship and meeting several times a week. It’s certainly a convenient format, but you can’t build a long and lasting relationship on it.
Attachment is formed at the stage of falling in love, hormones are rushing over the edge, it seems as if the world stops without the person you love. Passion gradually fades, wild sex is replaced by conjugal duty, children appear, and everything becomes ordinary and gray. From the outside it may seem that the couple is stuck at one stage of development and nothing happens further. The transformation of the couple’s relationship follows its own script, with its own speed and peculiarities, despite the fact that the stages of development are the same for all.
It is hard to deny that everyone changes with age, demands become greater, claims appear, and at this point you need to grow and develop along with the relationship. If you neglect to work on the union, you can stop at the first stages forever. It makes sense that then a rift will come and the relationship will cease to exist.
Every couple should know about what stages of building a relationship there are, what they are special and how to go through them in order to maintain a harmonious relationship.
Stages of the relationship: features and ways to overcome
Past relationships provide invaluable experience of mistakes and their overcoming. If the relationship has moved into the category of “former”, it means that something has failed to overcome and move on to the next stage. Healthy and promising relationships develop in the same way at 18 and at 50, going through the same stages. And it depends on the right behavior and approach to how long they will last.
This is where the relationship starts, and sometimes it ends. The easiest stage when lovers see only pluses in each other, the partner seems like a fairy tale hero, a real prince or princess, who had all the dreams. The heart in the chest beats frantically, the cheeks burn, the eyes sparkle, you want to take each other’s hand and walk for a long time, not parting even for a few minutes. At this time, even a cute little text brings excitement and time slows down when there is not a single message from your beloved on the phone.
Guys act like manly knights and are willing to do anything to win the heart of the lady they love. Girls tend to idealize the image of the beloved. This is quite normal. When you do not know a person, have not seen him in everyday life, in conflict situations, it is easier to come up with an airy image and give him the desired qualities.
Each date is perceived as the most important meeting, for which they are preparing for hours. The state of being in love is inspiring, you want to shout at the whole world about love, write poems, admire the ideal relationship and the wonderful person next to you. Emotional hunger from the lack of communication with a loved one no one can fill. If the relationship is interrupted at this stage, it will forever remain in the memory as the best relationship in which everything was perfect.
The second stage
It is inevitable that the second stage will come with satiety. Communicating brings the same pleasure, no longer needing to spend every minute together. In the second stage of the relationship there is no longer a need to go everywhere together and it becomes normal to visit friends and events separately. Leisure activities become less romantic, evenings can now be spent together lying on the couch watching your favorite movie or TV series. Passion gradually subsides, and every minute waiting for intimacy is not perceived as a disaster.
Relationships have become more harmonious, calm, everything is stable. Partners are revealed, showing strengths and weaknesses of character. The veil of infatuation gradually recedes, small flaws and character flaws become apparent.
Everyone begins to behave naturally, no longer need to praise your partner for every joke, deed. Communication remains as warm, surprises are exciting and pleasing. Emotions have become more stable, the relationship develops smoothly, and nothing threatens to break. Development at this stage resembles a hungry wayfarer who has had his fill of the first fruits and becomes calm and balanced, satisfied and satisfied.
An important and crisis period that all couples who have been dating for several years, or young spouses, come to. There comes a turning point in the relationship and all the problems become impossible to hide. Every movement, wrong word, inappropriate joke used to be able to please, but now causes an instant explosion of emotions and a stream of reproaches in response. Loved and close person causes negative emotions, he becomes unideal, behaves in a way that previously did not allow. Romance is gone, children may have appeared, and it has become impossible to see the same face in front of you every day.
The duration of the period depends on the duration of the relationship, the temperament of the partners, their wisdom and the ability to assess everything critically from the outside and understand that this is a normal phase. There is no need to behave in the same way as the partner. Getting angry in response to actions and start screaming for every crumb on the table is not the best option. Most couples break down at this very stage. Thoughts come in that the partner can’t meet all the needs and the choice in their favor was wrong. It all happens because of the lack of nourishing intoxicating emotions that were previously pleasing to the brain.
Giving up the union and ending the relationship is the easiest thing to do. A new partner will please just as much and then it will happen again. If you don’t want to constantly interrupt the relationship and spend your life finding new partners, you need to learn how to pass the third stage and move on to the next stage of development.
Overcoming the crisis stage is behind you. Problems become less noticeable, wisdom and understanding that you can come to an agreement with the person you love and find a solution to any problems gradually arrives. Understanding comes to a more mature, adult, morally ready and mature for a relationship. You need to separate and understand that at this stage you should not be patient and think that everything will change, everyone has been patient and I can do it, but wisely resolve conflicts and be able to turn a blind eye to minor irritating factors.
A big problem is looking at the world with negativity and constantly assuring yourself that others are to blame for the problems. It must come to the realization that half the blame for problems and quarrels in a partnership relationship lies with both partners. It used to seem like the relationship was at a standstill, and not a day goes by without quarrels and problems. Now the quarrels have become different, rare, and related more to external irritants. Problems at work, women’s monthly cycle, a sudden car breakdown and other irritants provoke quarrels. It’s more like venting your emotions on your partner to make it easier.
Patience and wisdom are like threads stitching together relationships where they are constantly torn. Just don’t confuse patience with bullying, beatings, and moral abuse in the family and patience with minor flaws. In the first case, you need to call the police, and not hope that your partner will suddenly have an epiphany and realize what he is doing wrong. You have to work on your ego, to be able to reevaluate changes in your partner, his needs and desires. Let there be no more romantic aura, no one meets you at the office door with a bouquet of flowers. Beside there is a reliable partner who is proven in many situations and wisely resolves minor conflicts without showering you with hundreds of caustic words. At this stage, a person opens up truly, and on how he is perceived and accepted, depends on the success of the transition to the fifth stage.
Learning to recognize your partner’s uniqueness, your needs, your desires, your duty to them are the first steps to true Love at its highest. Love is already at the threshold, waiting to be let in. There comes a clear awareness of the fact that the spouse is not an ethereal being woven of clouds and tenderness. He is a living person with problems, concerns, thoughts, claims and, on understanding the duty to him, depends the success of the relationship in the future.
He is not perfect, but he loves me, tolerates me, understands me. Acting as well toward my spouse is a duty and a primary responsibility. I no longer want to scream about the little things, there are no scandals over the lack of candles and romance. It becomes clear that in order to get the benefits you need to put their own efforts, rather than hoping for a partner and expect action from him.
At this stage, a duty to the family and children is realized. Maintaining an undying family home, a delicious dinner, the wisdom and understanding of the partner, the joint time, the desire to develop and find answers to all questions – the key to success in the fifth stage. Training, consulting a psychologist, books can help you find answers to all the questions you are worried about. Constantly need to work not only on relationships, but also on personal development. Maintain interest in themselves, to be a harmonious addition to the partner – this is something without which you can not for many decades to maintain relationships.
The penultimate stage of the relationship, in which partners become not just lovers, parents, and real friends. There comes a time when the next unwashed cup no longer causes an explosion of emotion, sex is not as bright, but the emotional closeness covers everything in full. These are two truly close people who have withstood all the hardships and difficulties, found the secrets of understanding, fulfilled their duty to their children, passed all the temptations and stayed together. This is where the coveted fairy tale comes in, in which “they lived happily ever after” best describes the state of affairs.
Although a person has been known for a long time, there are new traits and virtues for which one can respect, admire, praise, and be proud. Love has not yet reached the stage of the highest meaning, but is already close to it. Two people talk cheerfully and openly, ready to spend time together. Relationships are built on selfless dedication, boundless trust, and defense of common interests.
Absolute love. The highest point of the couple’s development to which it is necessary to strive. What they call love in the first stage is not love at all. In the beginning of the relationship is infatuation, passion, a desire to physically possess the person, backed by a cocktail of hormones.
It is impossible to reach the seventh stage immediately after falling in love. It takes years for a beautiful flower to grow from a seed, which will delight you with its beauty and perfection for a long time. The same happens with relationships. Higher love comes through trials, resentments, quarrels and misunderstandings. Do not be afraid of trials and constantly look back and think that the most beautiful and pure emotions remained in the first stages of the relationship. It is now clear that the most important, the most important, spiritual unification comes as a reward for all the hardships.
It is not hard to meet and fall in love with a beautiful image in which everything is perfect and seems so perfect and perfect. It is harder to try to develop a relationship, to look for the reasons for quarrels and ways to resolve conflicts. All relationships are similar to each other and go through a journey of transformation from falling in love to absolute love. This is the hardest work, which takes a lot of spiritual strength and requires endurance and fortitude. It will be appropriate to compare the development of a relationship and its development to a tree that at first shoots up and only after many decades begins to enjoy a lush crown and beauty, firmly anchored by the roots in the ground and no natural elements can destroy it.