When deeper feelings start to develop, things begin to intensify and this is around the time you start making things official. When you’re a couple, you start to combine your lives and this is when we see the honeymoon stage. It is no longer “me” and “you;” it is “Us.” You refer to each other as “My boyfriend” or “my girlfriend” and you feel a sense of glee every time you say it. It feels like you’re experiencing one of the miracles of life and you’re in awe of how everything lined up so that you two could find each other. It feels amazing how similar the two of you are. It could even feel like you two were made for one another and you’ve found your person.
The excitement of being in this new relationship makes life feel wonderful magical, and the two of you share deeper and more intimate information. This is what leads to the next stage: The Deeper Connection phase.
Stages of a romantic relationship: As you get closer
When you enter the Deeper Connection phase, you start to build your lives together. You’ll start thinking in more concrete terms about moving in together and you might even start to talk about your goals together. Is there marriage in the picture? Children?
You are still feeling that glow that your brain has created. It’s that surge of dopamine that makes you feel addicted to your partner and it, in essence, makes it very easy to ignore red flags or areas in which the two of you are not compatible. During this stage, I encourage you to fully bask in the glory that is your relationship, but I also encourage you to keep a level head and keep an eye on potential issues. At this point in the relationship, your lives are starting to merge on a much deeper level, but it isn’t fully cemented yet. I bring this up because this is often the stage in which you can still set boundaries that serve your relationship in the long run. In many of my coaching sessions, I see that a person ignored red flags at the beginning of the relationship and their feelings for their partner kept them from addressing the issue. And now that so much time has passed, it can feel like the issues in the relationship are set in stone.
Fortunately, nothing is set in stone, but the more time passes with a pattern being set, the harder it is to undo it.
Phases of a relationship: the wakeup call
You know, the term “phases” fits much better than “stages of a relationship” because relationships go through phases – like the moon does. The more unpleasant phase is called the “Wakeup Call” phase, and this is when you start to see the flaws in your partner and the flaws in your relationship. It can feel like someone is lifting the veil from over your eyes, and you realize that there are things about your partner and you simply do not like. For example, his punctuality makes him look too predictable, or her humor gets on your nerves. As you can imagine, this is the stage during which many relationships fall apart. One or both of you might start to pull away from the other, or there can be disappointments, disillusionments, disagreements and fights.
It is not uncommon for there to be a period of tension between you and the one you love, and this is usually the time when people reach out to us for help. Before we go any further, I want to mention that if you are in this period and you’re worried about your relationship falling apart, I highly encourage you to read this mega article on how to save your relationship. I also recommend checking out the product we’ve created that is designed to teach you how to bring attraction and that feeling of connection back into your relationship. To check out this product, just click here.
So, in the wake-up call stage, we can start to sense that our partner is different, and it can be challenging to recognize the person that they were at the beginning of the relationship. There are more power struggles, and though the feelings of love are still present, they’re now combined with a sense of frustration.
This is when communication becomes more important than ever. Please read this article on communication for in-depth tips and tools that will teach out how to manage conflict in the most productive way and ensure that your relationship can come out on top. I see many people respond to this disillusionment by either withdrawing or becoming more confrontational and combative. This will depend largely on your personality, but neither option helps the relationship to thrive. The important thing is to face issues and work as a team to find solutions. It is absolutely normal that you two would have disagreements, and learning about these disagreements is a perfectly natural relationship stage. I don’t want you to experience conflict or a difference in opinion and expect the worst. You two are not mirror images, and it’s okay to see things differently.
The real issue is if you happen to disagree on some of your core values or your non-negotiables. That is a different topic and it warrants serious, transparent conversations between you and your significant other. This requires you to have a very clear understanding of your personal wants and needs.