The 7 Stages Of Love
According to relationship experts, there are seven progressive stages in any life-long relationship – and each of these stages requires hard work. Every relationship, no matter how perfect, will hit a crisis at one time or another. As an individual, you are constantly changing as you go through life, which is why your relationships must evolve too. Which stage is your relationship at?
- Passion Even those who aren’t in a long-term relationship are likely to know what it’s like to fall in love. Often known as the ‘honeymoon’ period, it’s the stage where a couple is besotted with one another and spends as much time as possible together. Rows are few and far between, mostly restricted to small stuff, such as “Why were you five minutes late? I missed you.” This early stage of the relationship is mostly governed by hormones and can last up to two years, by which time that all-consuming intensity will give way to a period of gentle contentment.
- Contentment The honeymoon is over. The social scene that brought you together has receded into the background and you are both considering the reality of spending the rest of your lives together. Arguments are a little more intense these days and concern more practical things such as a money, personal life goals and, if you’re living together, petty domestic matters such as whose turn it is to clean the toilet. Beneath the surface, however, most couples are still very much in love. This is also a time when both sides lay out their needs and wants for the future.
- Children Things are about to get hectic. The biggest step in any relationship is following the biological urge to reproduce. Some even call it ‘the point of no return’. This is when many relationships fail due to the unwillingness of one party to commit to becoming a parent. Once a baby arrives on the scene, your world is turned upside down. Life consists of work, the baby, domestic matters and very little else, meaning more arguments, a lot of stress and very little sleep. In many instances, romance is a distant memory.
- Partnership Couples who make it this far have learned to co-operate effectively while raising their kids to the point where they can look after the basics themselves. Parents find they have more time to themselves again. This means a few nights out, learning to re-enjoy each other’s company, even though the time is mostly spent talking about your offspring. Take the opportunity to pat each other on the back as the ‘business’ side of your partnership has paid off and you’ve survived this far.
- Just The Two Of You – Again Once the children fly the nest, it can be unsettling to discover you’re on your own with the person that helped you raise them. Only now you have to find out who that person is, all over again. This can be a difficult phase and one where many relationships falter or call it quits. You’ve spent so much time and energy raising the family and working to pay the bills that you’ve forgotten who you are and why you got together in the first place. These are often the couples you see in a restaurant with nothing to say to each other.
- Mid Life Crisis What’s needed at this stage is something to help you bond all over again. Often, as you exit middle age and enter later life, you feel you are at a crossroads or crisis point – especially if a health issue or bereavement makes you aware of your own mortality. This might be the loss of employment, retirement, or the death of a parent or even a friend. These are challenging times and your relationship becomes a place to retreat for comfort and solace.
- Harmony Later life often brings grandchildren, which can mean a new sense of purpose for both of you. This shared interest and source of pleasure means that this is often the happiest period of life together. Whether that’s because you’ve mellowed, or simply learned how to live with each other – no one knows. It’s one of the many mysteries of love!