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What Are The Stages of a Relationship and Why Every Couple Must Know It?

What Are The Stages of a Relationship and Why Every Couple Must Know It?

Updated on Sep 07, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Different Stages of A Relationship & Why Every Couple Must Know It

Do you ever think, whether there are any stages of a relationship?

Oh yes, there are!

The old traditional mantra of a coupled life: Fall in love… get married… have children and live happily ever after has gone rust.

Couples are now paying attention to their needs and have become ignorant of societalṣ norms. Thus, fewer couples are getting married and even fewer are having children.  

While every relationship is unique in its own way, typically a couple goes through 7 stages of a relationship before attaining the stage of being blissfully committed to a person.

Each stage builds the foundation for the next one. These seven stages of a relationship help couples discover whether they are destined for a lifelong commitment.

Are you confused to recognize, which stage of love are you in?

Well, the good news is that you aren’t alone. There are so many, who go through this confusion every day.

But it’s so essential to be aware of these stages and what each of them has to unfold. Why? Read on to know the answer.

Stages of a Relationship Infographic

What Are The Stages of a Relationship and Why Every Couple Must Know It
What Are The Stages of a Relationship and Why Every Couple Must Know It

Why Is It Important To Understand The Stages of A Relationship?

Most of us have been in love atleast once in our lifetime. But falling in love is actually the easiest part – the real drill comes with what is after.

Yes, surviving the ups and downs of a relationship takes effort… real effort and determination. People make it more difficult with negative emotions and hopeless behaviors.

Awareness of these seven stages of intimate relationships will keep you ready with what is to follow making it easier for both of you to repair it.

Remember, relationships are not easy… but if you want to be together, it’s not too difficult either!

So, now that you have understood the ‘why’, let’s move on to the crux of the matter and understand the stages in detail.

The 7 Stages of a Relationship

1. The Awkward Stage

2. The Attraction Stage

3. The Honeymoon Stage

4. The Disappointment Stage

5. The Stability Stage

6. The Commitment Stage

7. The True-Love Stage

Each stage has its own set of challenges and victories. So, don’t lose hope and keep going… you will ultimately find your happy place.

Now, all set? Let’s begin!

#1 Stage of a Relationship: The Awkward Stage

#1 Stage of a Relationship: The Awkward Stage
#1 Stage of a Relationship: The Awkward Stage

You can’t help but feel an adrenaline rush whenever they’re around!

At this stage, you feel like you are flying and on fire, both at the same time. You feel butterflies whenever you both cross each other, but there is still an awkwardness to overcome.

It has been seen that phase one lasts about three months, on average. You come across the biggest challenges of all where you need to gather all the courage and approach your partner.

So, you find a resort by drafting exciting texts or calling for petty reasons that communicate your feelings indirectly.

On one side, when it is exciting to go on your first date, it is also nerve-wracking to plan for others.

Things you may expect to happen

  • You desire to steal a glance at them, but you want to go unnoticed.
  • You behave a little differently around them like being extra careful about how you’re dressed, things you say or do, and so on.
  • Sometimes, you may also find yourself clumsy around them.
  • At some point, you may feel instant chemistry between both of you, while at others, you are occupied with the thought, “do they like me, do they like me not.”
  • The first date can be difficult as your brain is stormed with varying thoughts like whether they would like you, are you looking good enough, worried if it is going to be another worthless date with someone you don’t connect with. But don’t lose hope! If it is meant to be, it will be!

What to do at this stage?

  • It doesn’t matter who messages first. If you feel a connection, do not wait.
  • Don’t shy away from asking them out for a date.
  • It is always advisable to go at least on a second or third date because you’ll get to know each other much better than before.

The brighter side

Things will eventually get less uncomfortable and you both may finally feel more relaxed and at ease around each other.

#2 Stage of a Relationship: The Attraction Stage

#2 Stage of a Relationship: The Attraction Stage
#2 Stage of a Relationship: The Attraction Stage

You are usually promoted to this stage when you both make efforts to know each other.

It might also be called the fantasy phase, where you often find yourself day-dreaming to be emotionally and physically close to the one you’re attracted to.

The length of time to which this phase lasts differs, varying from a few months to about one year. It calls for a lot of fun but may not necessarily result in a long term relationship.

A perfect word to describe this stage can be ‘infatuation’, which may be defined as “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.”

Don’t worry! Infatuation can definitely turn into love. To tell you the truth, most healthy relationships start with a period of infatuation (however brief it might be).

Things you may expect to happen

  • You may keenly observe what your potential partner likes and dislikes.
  • You may desire to seek their undivided attention all the time.
  • There’s a strong desire to cast an impression on them in order to make them like you.
  • You focus a lot on your similarities.
  • You ignore your partner’s flaws and only want to see the good in them.
  • Their biological beauty gains your interest, time, and again.
  • You avoid conflicts and disagreements with them.

What to do at this stage?

  • Attempt to show your true side to them rather than faking an ideal behavior.
  • You both must spend a lot of time together so as to achieve a better understanding.
  • Be honest with your opinions and feelings.

The brighter side

It’s those moments where you explore each other, ask personal questions, and acquaint yourself with stories about each other’s life. The sense of connection and admiration is a joyful ride.

#3 Stage of a Relationship: The Honeymoon Stage

#3 Stage of a Relationship: The Honeymoon Stage
#3 Stage of a Relationship: The Honeymoon Stage

Hmm! Love is in the air? 🙂 

Also known as the “romance stage”, this phase usually begins with a confession of feelings of love or deep liking towards each other.

You might or might not be dating, depending upon whether you both choose to carry the label or not.

This is the most desirable phase of any romantic relationship; you are falling in love… stealing kisses… sharing deep eye contacts… basically everything looks like a fairy-tale here and you don’t want it to end. EVER.

Infact, people who are not consistent in their commitments often try to stick to this stage which is not right.

Things you may expect to happen

  • Your friends and colleagues look at both of you as a couple and they feel that you both make a perfect duo.
  • You both experience butterflies fluttering inside your stomach by every little gesture that you both make toward each other.
  • Expressing love for each other becomes a regular thing and birthdays, anniversaries call for elaborate celebrations.
  • You both are aware of most of the details of each other’s life and also feel the need to share each little thing that happens in your life.
  • Surprises are usual and long drives, dinner dates, and 2 A.M. conversations become customary.
  • You both often complement each other.
  • You both firmly believe that there can be no conflicts between you two.

What to do at this stage?

The brighter side

It’s one of the most exciting stages which will end up giving you a galaxy of happy memories to recall in the future.

Always remember, it’s always the happy moments that one must recall. Make sure, you have loads to recollect, hold on to and recreate new ones.

#4 Stage of a Relationship: The Disappointment Stage

#4 Stage of a Relationship: The Disappointment Stage
#4 Stage of a Relationship: The Disappointment Stage

You may think, is the disappointment phase, one of the stages of a relationship?

Let me explain this to you with a formula of life. If you don’t have difficult times, you will stop feeling blissful about the joyful times.

The same idea works when we talk of a relationship. The love must stand the test of time to emerge more beautifully and everlasting.

Some may also refer to this stage as the ‘crisis stage’ because it is this stage that decides whether you would continue to remain in a long-term commitment or would it be better for you two to part ways.

Couples at this stage are in a search of stability that demands them to settle their mutual differences. A healthy relationship calls for open communication.

If you both are able to communicate your feelings, problems, and expectations from each other clearly, you’re likely to progress to the following phase.

Things you may expect to happen:

  • You both get angry at each other over small things.
  • Your expectations do not match with your partner’s.
  • You both are unable to escape from heated arguments (though, you both still don’t like being mad at each other)
  • You start worrying if the relationship is worth your effort and time.

What to do at this stage?

  • Have open and effective communication with each other.
  • Express the expectations that you have from your partner. However, do not expect your partner to fulfill all of them.
  • Learn to trust each other.
  • Be honest and patient with each other.
  • Build the capacity to work as one unit.
  • Be an anchor for one another. Do you know what an anchor does for a ship? An anchor, a tool made of metal, is used to connect a ship to the bed of a water body to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current. That’s what you got to do when times get hard.

The brighter side

The difficult times make you realize that together you both can sail through the strongest winds without losing the vision from the destination.

Therefore, in the future, these moments will act as an anchor in your relationship and help you both to lend a hand to each other till the rough waters pass away.

#5 Stage of a Relationship: The Stability Stage

#5 Stage of a Relationship: The Stability Stage
#5 Stage of a Relationship: The Stability Stage

When you have discovered the worst phase of each other and still feel the love breathing within, that’s when you know you’ve reached the significant milestone of a healthy relationship and that is stability.

You have now figured out a way to live with each other in perfect harmony and find joy in it. Everything is calm and you have learned to accept each other wholly.

Trust me ‘perfect’ is nothing but a hoax. The real joy is when you learn to love the flawed person standing beside you… because hey, you aren’t perfect either!

This stage would indeed offer you much calmness and contentment. Most couples enjoy around 2 years of stability before they move to the next stage of commitment.

Things you may expect to happen

  • As a couple, you experience each other’s shelter of love and protection.
  • The infatuation has been replaced by an honest and deeper confession of love. 
  • You still have differences and conflicts, but you can manage to deal with them patiently.
  • Holding on to each other feels happier than breaking ties in times of difficulty.
  • You sometimes miss the romance stage but you are happy with the stability that the relationship has to offer.
  •  You are more open toward each other to express the thoughts that crowd in your mind, even if it is about how they’ve hurt you or disappointed you.

What to do at this stage?

  • You must make attempts to add a little spice to your relationship, every now and then, to keep the spark alive.
  • Walk the extra mile if needed to make your partner happy.
  • Make sure you don’t lose yourself while you make a home with your partner.
  • Ensure that your partner is on the same wavelength as you.

The brighter side

You’ve finally found shoulders to cry on and a face to laugh on.

Basically, you have reached the stage where you both don’t judge each other and instead of trying to thrash each other for your flaws, you try to find a way around it.

#6 Stage of a Relationship: The Long-term Commitment Stage

#6 Stage of a Relationship: The Long-term Commitment Stage
#6 Stage of a Relationship: The Long-term Commitment Stage

You choose to be a team, even when the going gets hard.

You are on familiar terms with your partner as a human being with their own set of flaws, dreams, purpose, desires, and needs; however, you choose to stay.

Only a few couples make it this far. In this stage, you have truly formed a team and have progressed through the five stages of love.

If you are in a dating relationship, this is the stage where you can propose to each other for marriage and feel satisfied with that resolution.

It’s all about willfully deciding that this individual is the one for you.

Things you may expect to happen

  • You have chosen to be with your partner willfully and accept all their flaws.
  • You start to believe that no one else can be as good a life companion like the one you’ve found.
  • You foresee a happy future with your partner. 

What to do at this stage?

  • Set long-term relationship goals with your partner. It will add a pinch of excitement in the recipe of longevity.
  •  Once you give in to the relationship, never give up.
  • Convey respect and appreciation, often.
  • Show love and loyalty.

The brighter side

Doesn’t it feel great to refer to someone you love, as ‘mine’?

The best part of this stage is, you are in a phase of life where looking back and looking ahead brings you joy because you have your soul mate, your confidante in your past chapters of life, in the present, and in the future.

#7 Stage of a Relationship: The True & Mature Love Stage

#7 Stage of a Relationship: The True & Mature Love Stage
#7 Stage of a Relationship: The True & Mature Love Stage

When spending each day of your life with your partner does not come across like a burden, you know you’re in a lifelong blissful companionship with them.

This is the final stage of most romantic relationships and comes with its own ups and downs.

You may sometimes feel stuck in this chaos and at times, you may feel you’re the happiest committed person on earth. But what life demands is that you must keep going with faith and boundless love.

Things you may expect to happen

  • You both are dependent on each other.
  •  Love is now expressed through gestures more than words.
  • Conflicts last a little longer.
  • You both know each other more than you know yourself.
  • You both experience happiness and sadness together.
  • Caring comes without any limit.

What to do at this stage?

  • Ensure you both take out time for each other from your busy schedules.
  • Adjust and compromise, sometimes; but not always.
  • Always remember all the lessons you’ve learned through the previous 6 stages of love.
  • Remember this quote by Sherrilyn Kenyon: “The only way to have eternal love is to never let your heart forget what it’s like to live without it.” Just stay and celebrate your today and all your tomorrows with your companion.

The brighter side

When you have a soul mate to hold on to every minute, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death knocks the door, indeed, you are living in a heaven disguised as earth.

Remember, Every Relationship is Unique!

If you’re wondering, how long will you be stuck in one stage; you must know that no one can predict how long you will stay in one stage, as every relationship is unique.

Moreover, a few couples do not even advance to the later stage for several reasons like incompatibility, lack of mutually-supportive goals, emotional immaturity, and so on.

Infact, every couple experiences each of the aforementioned stages differently depending on personal choices, preferences, priorities, and even characters.

Each stage has its own importance and brings with itself a whole new bundle of experiences but your choice is all that matters.

If you choose to be with your partner, you will eventually become as comfortable as an old shoe to share the silly bursts of laughter, the sudden spells of cry, and everything else that this wonderful ride of life has to offer.

So, What’s Your Takeaway?

If your relationship brings you joy, and you feel a sense of calmness whenever you look at your partner’s face and together you both have built a happy home for each other… keep it, nurture it… True love doesn’t come to everyone.

But if the relationship is giving you sleepless nights more than the joyful rides, it’s probably time to think otherwise.

Remember, every relationship demands work, but the work shouldn’t be so tedious that it sucks out the love and happiness of your life.

So, fall in love but don’t be blinded… revel in the romance but don’t get lost in it.

See, analyze, figure out your goals, communicate them to your partner, and then decide which phase are you in and where to how do you wish to take it forward. 

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