Interested in the stages of love? Think your relationship lost its charm? Don’t feel excited replying to your partner’s texts?
If you’re wondering about a breakup, hold it right there!
Relationships never stay the same… they evolve because you and your partner evolve with time. Evolution is the most natural thing for living beings… So how can your relationship be any different?
I’m sorry that you feel confused about your relationship… but trust me, you’ll learn to beat this haze with this think-piece.
Everything in relationships gets better with time… I promise… and just like you guessed, it’s a phase.
So, with hopes of long-lasting love, let’s dive right in…
Stages of Love Infographic
What are the 5 stages of love?
Every relationship goes through 5 stages… but they happen multiple times. It’s similar to the seasons in a year… they visit you sequentially every year. They don’t stop as long as there’s life and the Earth revolves.
So, as long as you have a relationship, you’ll face the 5 stages repeatedly… so never give up on love because of minute inconveniences.
Also, make the best out of every phase in your relationship.
Curious? Then grab onto my hand and head in…
Stage 1: The Honeymoon Stage
Couples in the first stage feel undying love for each other. They idealize each other and ignore any red flags. It might last anywhere between 3 months-2 years.
This is the beginning stage of romantic relationships. You fall head over heels for each other, your partner plans dates, flirt, have steamy sex, and everything looks fairy-tale-like.
The passionate love with your partner engulfs the rational part of your brain. In this phase, you might ignore potential red flags.
People in the honeymoon stage label the red flags “cute quirks”.
The combination of oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins fizzle out the incompatibilities with your potential partner.
You feel addicted to the good feelings from the hormone. This leads to the feeling you’ve fallen in love – hard.
In long-term relationships, the honeymoon phase is the shortest… it lingers around from 3 months to 2 years.
In reality, this isn’t love, it’s infatuation… you think everything is good about your partner, or that they don’t have flaws.
You agree with them all the time because you believe they can’t go wrong.
You find each other physically attractive, and call it true love. Also, due to the lack of disagreement, you believe it’s a healthy relationship.
What to do at this stage?
1. This is the best part of dating, so enjoy and immerse in each other’s love… after all, it’ll only stay around for a while.
Enjoy date nights, spend time together, and do all the couple-like things.
2. Don’t let your emotions take control of your rationality. Don’t cover for red flags, if you’re in doubt, don’t ignore it.
3. Share the small, significant, and worrisome deets with your friends. Make sure your friends aren’t just in for the drama. If you’re in trouble, they got your back.
4. Romantic feelings will urge you to do something wild. Perhaps, you’ll feel like doing something you won’t normally do.
You might feel “Let’s give it a shot for love”. If it’s an uncommon action for love, step back!
5. Always think through before making decisions… will it have any great outcome? Or, will it ruin something?
For instance, teenagers in love might want to get married after graduating from school.
That’s not a good idea for their future… consider both sides of the coin before making decisions.
Stage 2: The Settling Down stage
In this stage, people notice that their partners aren’t the same as they imagined. They feel betrayed or think their partners changed. The attractions slowly fade away in this phase.
This stage announces the fading of the attraction phase. The name is pretty self-defining… you snap out of infatuation and get back to reality.
You notice how different and unique you both are.
In this stage of love, you usually feel “You’ve changed”… no, they didn’t… you did! And that’s not even a problem, that’s a good thing.
Though everyone can’t cope healthily with the change in their feelings, things can get better later.
You struggle to understand your partner’s genuine character… because it’s hard to change your perception of one person.
Some people even feel betrayed… they think their partner hid their real-self and that they played foul.
You’ll get stressed from the changes, which will either lead to conflicts or stonewalling.
You want them to have similar likes… just how it was in the honeymoon phase.
You desire a clone for a romantic partner, that doesn’t need to be, right?
What to do at this stage?
1. Learn to manage conflicts, find books, online articles, videos, or even audiobooks. You’ll face many relationship issues at this stage.
Only communication, trust, and respect can help you through this.
2. Know that conflicting ideas don’t imply that this is the end. Rather, it’s the beginning of a new life and skills. Your relationship might be completely fine, so don’t run away from the arguments.
3. Focus on how to differentiate between healthy conflicts and toxic ones. Communication can help you through healthy conflicts. However, you’ll never find an end or solution to toxic conflicts.
4. No romantic relationship is picture-perfect… even the best relationships might have some toxic attributes.
If there are mostly healthy conflicts in your relationships, don’t fret over it. If you never resolve conflicts, time to reconsider the relationship.
5. Both of your love languages might be different so learn more about this. You might reside in verbal affirmation more, but your partner shows it while spending time with you.
Don’t misunderstand your partner because they don’t express love similarly.
Stage 3: The Disappointment Stage
Couples can’t fathom the differences in this stage. They fight, get hurt, hate, and doubt one another’s intentions. Many couples break up during this phase, while few identify the relationship issues.
The next stage of a relationship brings forth many heartaches, misunderstandings, emotional pain, and lots of doubts.
You seek the meaning of the terms “relationship”, “true love”, “match-made-in-heaven”. Everything looks bleak… this is also the stage of breaking up and falling out of love for many.
Couples in this stage anticipate the end of the relationship. You’ll face pronounced power struggles in the relationship. One another’s “cute quirks” will become the greatest hurdles.
You can’t accept that your partner’s opinions of you changed so drastically. Once again, you’ll say “You’ve changed” because you both feel betrayed.
For instance, your procrastination and eating-your-nails habit were cute at some point… but now your partner finds it annoying and immature.
You both begin a full-blown fight because of your partner’s wrong word choice. You’re always at the edge and minor things lead to arguments.
Further, you might slowly fall out of love… give up on your relationship and focus on other aspects of life.
The focus of your relationship shifts from the couple to two individuals’ needs.
You slowly lose interest in your relationship… you might ask “Are we the same people who drowned in love? Or were they someone else from another universe… from another timeline?”
However, some couples understand that something’s off… and they gotta work on it.
What to do at this stage?
1. Identify and understand your priorities. You can’t ignore your essential needs for love. If something bothers you, time to face it.
Don’t turn your back on the basics, else it’ll snowball into bigger troubles.
2. Only when you’re sure about your needs, speak up. Also, don’t demean anybody for their normal behavior.
Politely state what bothers you with the reasons. When you push forward your reasons, people accept them warmly. When you don’t, people think you’re nagging.
3. The definitions of love change with time… love in older couples looks a bit different.
Remember how your grandparents fought? Granny still cooked and gramps ate the burnt food without a word?
Be angry, but also show love… Why ruin the good parts of your relationship for one fight? Try showing love when you’re upset, you’ll soon learn how to make up to your partner.
4. In the early stages of a relationship, you only notice the good things … during this one, you only notice the bad parts.
Extremes of anything are bad, so step back and focus on the good parts now. Show gratitude for the good deeds and communicate about others.
5. Or, if you think it’s unbearable, then break up. However, some people build patterns of quitting relationships in the third stage.
So, it’s better to push through. People also compromise… but avoid it if it pains you. Working on your relationship is always the best solution.
Stage 4: The Comfortable Stage
This is a peaceful stage when couples accept one another despite the differences. There’s positivity about the relationship. Both partners stick together without any superficial reason like children or family burdens.
Until the last stages, you struggle to keep the relationship intact. You either love or hate too hard. Most couples fall apart during the third stage because of the emotional burden.
The last stage showed your capabilities in love. How much you can compromise, tolerate, love, accept, and teach them to love.
People also take adverse steps from the emotional wounds in the third stage. Some feel overwhelmed, fall into depression, break up, become suicidal, or even threaten their partners.
Calling a relationship, a rollercoaster ride is an understatement. However, those who understand all the differences and stay back, are capable of true love.
If you both believe and want to make things work, it will work out. In this phase, people find each other’s real selves… accept each other through hurdles, flaws, and frustrations.
You don’t stay together because of your child, physical attraction, or romantic love alone. You build the relationship on pillars like mutual understanding, acceptance, loyalty, and faith.
You both are survivors of the same battle, so you’ll feel genuine compassion towards each other.
Your relationship wins the spotlight over differences and conflicts. So, you learn to manage them calmly. You both become comfortable in your own skin with acceptance and confidence.
You know that you both mutually understand each other’s opinions and actions… so the chance of toxic conflicts considerably decreases.
What to do at this stage?
1. Though you become comfortable, don’t ignore the work. Else you might return to the second stage.
Look for ways to make things work, make more efforts for each other. Otherwise, you’ll feel like cohabiting friends. One of you might seek excitement outside the relationship if it gets boring.
2. Plan date nights, groom yourself, go on a vacation, learn something new, and connect. Spend time in the relationship to bond emotionally.
Don’t expect permanent emotional stability, put efforts to stay intimate. Indulge in deep conversations at the end of your day to stay updated about each other’s lives.
3. Learn to deal with hurtful arguments together. You might lose this peaceful stage at any moment. Indulge in healthy relationship habits. Know how to show your love.
4. In this stage too, some people might feel hopeless. Too much stagnancy inevitably makes you feel a bit unsteady.
Seek a mental health professional if you always fear things going wrong. The last battle wounded you thoroughly, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
5. Come clean with past resentments. Discuss all past unresolved issues, don’t let them resurface during an unexpected moment.
Possibly you accepted one another as you are. However, you might feel curious about what went wrong back then. You might pull back the old issues when something similar occurs.
To prevent it, make the best use of the comfortable stage and clear the doubts. It’ll also help your relationship grow.
Stage 5: The Unconditional Love Stage
In this stage, couples understand the meaning of true love. People cherish and accept the differences wholeheartedly, and not for the sake of peace only. There’s happiness and efforts for a better future together.
In the final stage of your relationship, you learn to love unconditionally. The wholehearted acceptance, transparency, and efforts lead you to true love.
Contrarily, people who give up on the comfortable stage, never rekindle love and passion for each other. People fall out of love and end their relationship mutually.
But those who break through the last stage find the fruits of their hard labor. You’ll understand that two people can be polar opposites and still fit each other like a glove.
You realize that “made for each other” and “perfect match” are fake terms. In real life, you feel good about the differences too.
You accept and cherish how different you both are… and relish the variety in life. When you have conflicting views, you don’t fight over right or wrong.
Couples in this stage know that there are multiple sides to everything… like art and literature.
You join your views to build a new one… where you both are right and complete each other’s opinions.
When you coordinate with your partner, you achieve happiness from three kinds of accomplishments – yours, theirs, and the common ones.
Happiness from common accomplishments results in strong bonds. They give you a sense of unity which nurtures your relationship.
What to do at this stage?
1. Focus on yourself… your relationship will feel satisfying only when you feel good about yourself. Indulge in self-care, respect yourself, do whatever floats your boat.
2. Be generous, show love. Prioritize yourself but don’t forget your partner. Forgive them when they hurt you.
Teach them how to become a better person. Improve yourself together like a team… because you aren’t opponents.
3. Accompany your partner in what makes them happy. Try new activities with them, and you might find a new hobby.
Split your time evenly and fairly. There’s no rush, take time for a glowing relationship.
4. Don’t hope for eternal happiness… life brings you alternate waves of happy and sad currents. Too much optimism might hurt you in the future.
You’ll face hurdles… and the best past – you’ll both be there for each other. You have everything to fight off the negatives and be happy with them.
5. Live the moment… don’t be reckless, but enjoy however life is. Relish how your partner shows you the better side of life.
Enjoy your partner’s mesmerized expression when you dress up. The little things matter, so hold them tight.
A word from ThePleasantRelationship
A relationship isn’t about falling in love and drowning in romance. Though you love feeling positive emotions, there will be hurdles.
Your life takes your relationship through the different stages of love. Further, they don’t occur only once in your life… and obviously, there’s no proper sequence either.
You might go back to the first phase after the fourth one. If your love returns to infatuation, that’s normal. After all, there are multiple forms of love.
Your kind of love depends on your environment, mindfulness, and destiny. Ultimately, destiny depends on how you two tackle the circumstances.
However, if you can’t cope with your relationship issues, consider seeking a relationship coach.
Are you interested to know more about ‘Relationship Timeline’ then click here?
Surabhi wakes up every day with a drive to craft words that can create a soulful impact. Creatively adventurous, she is always seeking to learn new skills and acquire new experiences. With a hidden soft corner for languages (especially Urdu), she writes poetry occasionally, binges on romantic shows, and LOVES to talk. A hustler, admirer, chaser, Surabhi is just another-someone who refused to give up on her dreams. She says, she is just somebody who’s trying to make herself a writer and for now, she’s just writing...