All relationships go through stages. Let’s go through the relationship stages and talk about some highs, lows, and survival tips for each one.
Most people don’t know that relationships go through stages and that those relationship stages can be recycled several times in the course of a long-term relationship. Each stage may lead to the next one or to relationship distress.
The Romantic Stage
It’s what happens when two strangers meet and fall in love. This stage sparks a chemical reaction and a temporary state of mutual delusion. Don’t get me wrong. Couples DO need that stage upon which to build their relationship. Without it, there is hardly anything to start building on. But, they don’t really know each other. That’s the early stage love that keeps you up at night and messes with your head. That stage doesn’t last, but it leads to the formation of a friendship and love bond.
The Power Struggle Stage
Also known as the OMG stage. This is when you may be tempted to ask yourself, “Did I pick the wrong person?” When partners begin to know each other better, differences arise. No two people are the same. We differ in how frequently we want a sexual encounter, how we spend our leisure time, and how we treat our neighbor. The differences that arise in a relationship when people start living under the same roof can be destabilizing to a relationship.
Couples deal with this stage in different ways. A power struggle may arise. Who is right about how to do the dishes? What is the best way to manage money? How frequently do you see your in-laws or friends? What are the best places to go on vacation? Another way that couples deal with differences is by avoiding conflict. This may provide temporary relief, but it leads to distance. Dealing with these inevitable differences in a respectful and dignified way may lead couples to strengthen their bond, which would take them to the third stage.
The Mature Stage
The power struggles tend to subside. Couples learn to compromise and figure out how to accept their differences. They learn to become aware of what they want, long for, and desire and how to communicate those needs. Couples treat their differences with respect, dignity, and a dose of generosity. Each individual also learns the value of real giving. This could lead to a re-kindling of the romantic stage and the whole process starts all over again.
More Resources for You and Your Partner
In our efforts to bring value to your life, or if you are not in the Chicago area, Couples Counseling Associates has developed a series of lessons that could have a major impact on effectively improving your relationship. We encourage you to dive into the series and discover how these resources can benefit you and your partner.
Remember, it’s the positive habits we develop that guarantee us success in all areas of our lives. Discover the seven healthy habits that improve relationships or get in touch with us to learn more about Couples Counseling Associates.
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