Dating is enjoyable…for those who are not neurotic enough to say things like “I’m curious who we’ll meet at this party!” —as if successfully initiating and maintaining a conversation with a stranger is preferable to finding the nearest cat to pet in order to avoid eye contact with anyone.
While it may seem self-evident, relationships – romantic or platonic – evolve over time and undergo distinct changes as bonds and intimacy develop. As your relationship progresses through each of these stages, you’ll gain a better understanding of one another and determine whether you and your partner are committed and destined to spend the rest of your lives together.
Below, we’ll walk you through the various stages of dating so you can determine where you and your partner are at the moment and, more importantly, whether your relationship has the potential to blossom into a long-term commitment.
To state the obvious, every relationship evolves and changes over time. Our relationships with our parents, friends, and, yes, romantic partners, evolve over time as bonds are formed and tested. Why, then, do the stages of a romantic relationship appear to be more perplexing to decipher?
While it is true that every relationship goes through different phases, the details of those phases and their duration vary from couple to couple.
Certain stages take longer to complete than others, and some people take significantly longer at each stage. Unfortunately, some people do not fully experience and process each stage as a chance for personal growth or an opportunity to make a healthy assessment of the relationship or of themselves.
There are various stages of relationship dating. Some of these stages may include affection, reality, intimacy, trust, etc. In this article, I’ll be talking about 4 stages of relationship dating.
Initial Meeting/Attraction Stage:
All dating relationships must begin somewhere. The initial meeting may occur online, through peers, in a church or social group, at a club or bar, or in any of a variety of other locations.
Different venues for meetings provide unique opportunities for getting to know one another and determining whether there is sufficient curiosity or interest to proceed to the next level, which would entail organizing a second or third meeting.
Fixation, Inquisitiveness, and Interest Stage:
Attraction and infatuation are at their height during the second stage. Early attraction is frequently based on the partner’s physical characteristics, which include his or her appearance, body type, interests, and personality traits.
At this stage, the attraction may be superficial, and every half of a couple is generally putting their best foot forward. Differences are ignored or rationalized away with statements such as “it’s not a big deal” or “she’ll change.”
Couples generally avoid conflict during this stage of the cycle, as each partner is attempting to impress the other. Often (but not always), there is insufficient emphasis on “is this the right person for me,” and instead on “what can I do to make this person like me?”
This stage may last between three and four months, depending on the individual’s maturity, experience, and self-awareness. It is not uncommon for questions of “is this the right person for me” to emerge toward the end of this stage, and hopefully at other points throughout.
There may also be an interest on the part of women in particular in determining the direction of the relationship.
Making relationship decisions slowly is more likely to result in better outcomes than making them quickly (unless it is clear that the relationship is not a good fit).
Enlightenment and the Process of Forming a Couple Stage:
Hormones are staying calm and reality begins to set in during this stage of a relationship. Couples frequently go “deeper” in their relationship. At this stage, trust is strengthened and more intimacies may be shared as couples remove their “best face” and allow themselves to act more naturally and relaxedly.
Both partners will notice a couple’s weaknesses and differences or flaws. At this stage, “cute” habits may become irritating. Some of the perennial issues or disagreements, such as excessive spending or frugal spending, being spotless or sloppy and disorganized, being interested in spending a lot of time together or being more involved in outside activities, begin to emerge.
Couples will become aware of their differences at this stage of the relationship and may even begin to complain or attempt to resolve issues. It’s when the central question becomes even more pervasive: “Where are we going?”
Women are more likely to ask this question than men, despite the fact that both may be curious about the answer. However, insisting on an answer may create real problems in the relationship.
Each individual must pay attention to their own inner voice and wisdom. It is critical for partners to discuss their thoughts and feelings with one another while also avoiding “pushing” for commitment.
There is no reason to rush through this critical stage, you should take your time.
Loyalty or Engagement:
This is the final stage. At this stage of a relationship, couples should have a firm grasp on their partner’s values, way of life, and future goals. There should be an exchange of information regarding each other’s family and friends. Couples should have open and honest discussions as they plan their present and future together.
Children, finances, careers, future goals, and lifestyle should be discussed in greater detail. Disagreements are natural, and couples will learn about themselves and their relationship by observing how they resolve them.
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