Here’s the brutal truth about relationships:
There are WAY too many people thinking that if they just find the perfect person to date then the relationship will be easy.
But this isn’t the case.
Relationships are hard work, no matter who you’re with, and there are certain stages a relationship must go through in order for it to be successful.
So make sure you understand these 5 stages that every successful relationship must go through:
Stage 1: Attraction and Infatuation
This is where all the good stuff exists. Everything about the other person is just so damn intoxicating.
You can’t get enough of each other and you feel like you’re floating on a cloud when you’re around them.
Heck, even if you’re not around them you still feel like you’re constantly being serenaded by a string quartet of cherubs.
What It Feels: Everything feels alright in the world. There are feel-good hormones in your head just reassuring you that nothing could possibly go wrong.
And for a moment you’re absolutely right. You’re enjoying someone’s company and enjoying the thrill of getting to know a new person for the very first time.
Your relationships is very casual and there are no expectations from either party.
What To Watch Out For: The temptation to become inauthentic. During this stage you’re going to want to prolong the bliss by putting your best foot forward. Instead of crafting lie after lie to seem more interesting, be confident in who you are now.
More importantly, don’t forget to take it slow during this phase. Don’t rush in with the sad life stories and the crazy quirks in your personality. Remember that you’re both in it because it’s fun and that you’re enjoying each other’s company
There’s no pressure at all; just be yourself and revel in the moment.
Stage 2: The Climb
You get past the initial phase of attraction and realize you want to keep seeing this person, which is a good thing. At the same time, you also start to become aware of their objectionable qualities.
What It Feels: After the strong physical attraction peters out, you’re left with each other’s more or less annoying habits. You feel more comfortable around her and start boring her about cars and bikes.
She gets comfortable with you and starts singing everywhere, all the time. These qualities, although undesirable, make up who you are as a person. After all, you’re not just the face and the smile and the body he or she was attracted to.
What To Watch Out For: The more eager you are in seeing someone the more challenging it is to get behind their weird traits. Understand that there’s a line between compromise and settling down.
It may be tempting to lie to your partner and act like a person you’re not, but it doesn’t bring you closer to understanding if you’re compatible or not.
Stage 3: Cooperation
Congratulations, you and your partner have gone over The Climb!
Beware, things aren’t as smooth sailing as they could be, but they’re definitely much better now that you mutually agreed to meet each other halfway. The keyword in this phase is compromise.
You have decided to move forward the relationship despite your differences and you’re willing to stick around longer to see if it can blossom into a serious relationship.
What It Feels: This phase is a lot similar to the first phase, Attraction and Infatuation, in that you and your partner start appreciating each other all over again – and this time, with a deeper, more intimate understanding of each other’s quirks and flaws.
The attraction rekindled in this stage feels more rewarding precisely because you have gone beyond physical attraction and are bonding on a more emotional level.
What To Watch Out For: It’s easy to mistake cooperation for subservience.
As you spend more time together, you’ll have strong urges to try and “fix” the other person. Although relationships are all about improvement, remember that there’s a fine line separating intrusive and concerned.
Let the relationship grow and evolve organically as opposed to turning it into something it’s not.
Stage 4: Commitment
This stage varies accordingly. For a pair who has been dating for years, it could finally mean marriage. For young lovers, it could entail a formal acknowledgement of their exclusive relationship.
But whatever shape or form this takes, the underlying message is similar: you are mentally and emotionally prepared to stick with one person and continue to nurture a loving relationship with them.
What It Feels: Gone are the days when you had to worry about whether or not this person liked you enough, because you know the answer is now a resounding yes. You gain confidence knowing that feelings are mutual and that you are both willing to work hard for the long-run.
What To Watch Out For: Don’t get us wrong, fights will still ensue during this stage. This is especially true for couples who get married or decide to move in together. Your lives will be entwined now more than ever and the complications that arise from that usually create gaps between two loving people.
When you hit a rough patch with your partner, just remember why you’re doing it in the first place: because you love each other.
(If you want a man to commit to you, then you need to appeal to his basic desires. Our comprehensive review of His Secret Obsession outlines what these are).
Stage 5: Unconditional Love
Ah, true love. Isn’t this what we all achieve to have someday?
This stage is really more like a culminating point for everything you have done in the other stages of your relationship. All your perseverance and patience boils down to this and blossoms into a beautiful permanent thing.
What It Feels:
You’re at peace. You wake up everyday knowing that your partner will be there for you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. You fall asleep feeling like all is right in the world because you have found your other half. Enjoy this feeling; you deserve it.
What To Watch Out For: You have gone through the toughest times in your relationship and survived through all of them. No loving relationship is ever perfect but everything that you have built so far, there’s no reason why you can’t take over whatever life throws at you.