When you first meet someone and fall in love with them, you probably picture yourself going off into the sunset and living happily ever after. At least, that’s what all of the Disney movies and romantic comedies tell us.
Relationships have to start somewhere, right? Obviously, not every relationship starts the same way. Some couples meet through mutual acquaintances or at work, but others meet through a dating app. Regardless of how a partnership begins, there are distinct stages in the coming together process.
Stage one: Infatuation and romance
A typical relationship starts off with an intense feeling of infatuation for each other. You start to feel like you cannot live without the other.
You are so attracted to each other and nothing can tear you apart. Sparks fly and romance is ignited. You only focus on the positive aspects and choose to ignore each other’s shortcomings.
You want to get to know everything about your partner, and everything is new and interesting. Sex is never enough, and you will get on with it at every chance you get. The heat is high.
You fantasize about a perfect, beautiful life together and might even go as far as thinking about settling down with this person. You ignore the indifferences and enjoy being in the company of each other. This is also known as the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.
Stage two: Accommodation
What comes after the honeymoon phase in a relationship is also known as the accommodation stage. Hours are spent together talking and trying to understand each other more. You will discuss topics like each other’s exes, interests, passions, dreams, likes, and dislikes. You start to see the real side of your partner.
As you discover and unfold more about your partner, you start forming an opinion about your partner and start to have expectations.
When your expectations are met, you are elated. But when they are repeatedly ignored, you are disappointed.
In this stage, what both partners are looking for is seeing if their needs are accommodated by their partners. In time, the differences start creeping in and once the initial sparks die down, you will start to realize maybe you are with someone who is incompatible with you.
In this stage of dating, you will need to find answers to clarify your doubts and ask yourself if you are willing to accommodate this person for the relationship to survive the next stage.
Stage three: Challenge
In this stage of dating, anger, frustration, and disappointment sets in. The relationship starts becoming challenging and this is when the strength of your relationship gets tested.
This stage of the relationship sees you trying to understand your partner’s needs and expectations. You may willingly or unwillingly try to meet them because you feel your own needs are not being met.
What comes after the honeymoon phase in a relationship is you start becoming uncomfortable and easily annoyed with your partner’s habits, wants, or needs. This is when both partners try to change each other’s behavior and character to meet their own needs.
In this stage of dating, a power struggle ensued. The relationship sees both partners dominating the relationship in hope of getting one to accommodate. In the stages of a new relationship, this is when you become vulnerable to attractions outside your relationship and may be tempted to seek new thrills.
In this stage of dating, couples usually try to quickly end the relationship and break up. Or they continue the relationship with much pain and frustration. The relationship will grow stagnant over time and slowly dies off.
Stage four: Complete trust
In this stage of relationship, you are happy with each other, and trust is built completely. If you can get to this stage of dating, it means you can predict your partner’s behaviors and actions. You feel at ease at each other’s company as trust has been built.
However, this is also the time when you start taking each other for granted. This is also known as a comfort zone. To survive this stage, do not take your relationship for granted. Romance will die off, and it will take efforts from both parties to keep the relationship alive.
Invest time and effort and continue to show appreciation for your partner and do something out of routine occasionally to keep the relationship fresh.
Stage Five: Sexual exploration
When everything finally falls into place, you will start to be bolder about your sexual desires and not afraid of letting your partner know what you like. In this stage of relationship, your sex life peaks.
You will want to try new things to spice up your sex life and keep things interesting as the initial passion you had may already settle down.
What comes after the honeymoon phase in relationship, is there is a risk of your libido decreasing. Either one of you might start seeking to have an affair if there are differences in your sexual needs.
Understanding your partner’s sexual needs and expressing yours is key to making the relationship work in this stage. A healthy and active sex life, along with communication and understanding will see your bond with your partner and stabilize the relationship.
Stage Six: Stability
Reaching this stage of dating means that you have met each other’s expectations. You would already have faced many challenges together and learned how to deal with them.
In this stage of relationship, you both have matured and evolved. You have learned to accept each other’s differences and put your focus on making the relationship work and learned to see past the differences.
Rather than trying to change each other, you learned to accommodate and respect each other’s needs and expectations. You learned from your mistakes and compromise instead of wasting time to fix them.
As your love depends on and matures, you accepted the fact that your partner is different from you and learn to respect each other’s boundaries. In this stage of relationship, you need to step out of your comfort zone and make efforts to grow your relationship to the next level.
Do not let your relationship suffer from the daily routines and predictability. Love and connection are of utmost importance here.
Planning for your future together, being supportive of each other careers, and getting involved in each other’s interests is a way to step up your relationship. These mini steps will make you and your partner more likely to commit to a long-term relationship.
Stage Seven: Commitment
In this stage of dating, you accepted the reality of what a real relationship is about. You stop making unrealistic expectations of your partner, love, and trust each other. You accept your partner the way they are, with all their strengths and shortcomings.
If you made it this far in the stage of relationship, you no longer worry about losing your partner as trust, love, and safety are built on a solid foundation. You are committed to your relationship and would do anything to make it work.
You learned to manage each other’s expectations. However, it does not mean that you take your partner for granted. Make a conscious effort to continue to improve yourself and grow together as a couple. Your partners might love you the way you are, but they will be happy to see you want to change for the better.
This is a good time to throw away the bad habits affecting your health and relationship. Surprise your partner with something they would not have expected. Taking such steps will increase the likelihood of you and your partner committing to the relationship and bringing the relationship one step nearer to marriage.
Stage Eight: Co-creation
In this stage of relationship, you have chosen to cement the deal and move your relationship to the next level as a team.
You love and appreciate each other in many ways and want to spend the rest of your lives together.
What comes after the honeymoon phase in relationship is that you might spend a lot more time contributing to projects together or alone and forget to allocate time to nurture your relationship.
Take time to bond and nurture your relationship. It takes effort to grow the relationship. Go on dates regularly. Book a staycation where work does not come in the way. Buy small gifts for each other’s, or simple encouragements and compliments can do wonders for your relationship. Make each other feel good, knowing they are in the right relationship.
Your relationship with your partner will strengthen and grow as you pass from one stage to the next. There is no exact timeline as to when you will both arrive at each stage. Do not fret if you do not see yourself reaching all the stages soon.
As there is never an end to the relationship unless you want it to. If you and your partner love each other wholeheartedly and continue to nurture your relationship and grow together as a couple, nothing else is important. Relationships are a work in progress. Constant investment of time and effort is necessary to make it last a lifetime.
Sugarbook is a platform to meet like-minded individuals that share the same interests and passions. Sign up with the Sugarbook app today to start meeting people and start having fun together.