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The five stages of relationship

Written by CGD - Wed 12th May 2021

"When you love someone, you love the person as they are and not as you'd like them to be"  Leo Tolstoy

The key to happiness is to listen to each other and have two-way communication.  Whilst this needs a conscious effort it's worthwhile if you value your relationship.

There are 5 stages of a relationship and there isn't a one-size-fits-all but once you are aware of the stages you can consciously prepare yourself to navigate your way through each stage at a pace that suits you.

The romance or the spark phase

This is the very start of a relationship, where both parties realise that they fancy each other and get the ball rolling.  We subconsciously look for people who have the potential to meet our needs.  We want to find out as much as we can about this person in the early stage so that we can see whether there is potential to this relationship.   Whilst this stage is enjoyable we need to remember that this is only the start of a journey.

The honeymoon phase

This is the blissful phase when you are happy and comfortable with your partner and life is still exciting.  It's a special time to create good memories together and it's a time where many couples start to have feelings for each other.  It may take a period of three months before you become exclusive and at this time you will discuss deactivating online profiles.

As the relationship moves on in a positive direction 30 per cent of couples will share a photo featuring their partner -  this is at around four months of being together.

The intimacy stage

The average couple will say "I love you" after three months of being together, and men usually say it first.  Whilst women may feel love before men or around the same time they are conscious of keeping their feelings to themselves, waiting for the man to declare his love first.  As the relationship progresses both parties feel more comfortable with each other.  This is the stage where you will need to embrace some differences between you but remember that any discussions should be constructive and not confrontational.  You both have clear boundaries and you are learning mutual respect.

The commitment phase

In this stage many people aren't afraid of committing themselves relatively early in a relationship - around 50 percent will be engaged after a year.  You have learned to love each other by really liking each other first.

25 per cent of people move in with their partner six months into the relationship.  15 per cent will become engaged.  Half of people wait six months to introduce their partner to their family but meeting friends usually happens within three months.

You begin to experience a good balance of love, fun, power and freedom.  Don't get lulled into a false sense of security as your work is not done as a couple it is only just beginning.


In this stage couples become a team.. Each partner is capable of standing on his or her own feet while being loving, supportive or nurturing to a partner.  Mutual respect, deep level intimate communication mark this stage.  The couple has learned to resolve conflicts when they arise and there is a sense of making sure that there is commitment to making the relationship work.  They understand how to get their needs met.  They have forged a healthy relationship in which they are whole and connected at all levels.

The bottom line

Sometimes we get so hung up on our expectations that we miss how rewarding being in a relationship can be and the lessons we are learning along the way..  Recognise that every relationship has value, no matter how long it lasts.

There is no such thing as a failed romance.  Relationships evolve into what they are meant to be and only you can decide what that is.