Relationship Stages:
How to Recognize the Stage of your Relationship

Among the various relationship stages, which one are you at? When I was a child, I expected that, just like Snow White and Cinderella, I would fall in love with my one and only Prince Charming and I would be happy ever after. However, this dream quickly changed when I started dating.

Only many years later did I stop looking for Prince Charming... and finally found my Life Partner. I also understood that relationships go through various stages, some high, some low, and the low ones do not necessarily mean the end.

After a lot of research as well as considerable – and often painful – experience, I have identified the following four relationship stages:

1. The "Pink Lens" stage
2. The "Back-to-Reality" stage
3. The "Hard Work" stage
4. The "True Love" stage

Knowing about relationship stages may help you avoid some mistakes, even though we cannot ignore one obvious reality: love is blind!

1. The "Pink Lens" stage

As its name suggests, during the Pink Lens stage, we see our lover through rose-colored glasses. We idealize his or her virtues - "He has such a great sense of humor" - and discard her flaws - "I love her assertiveness". This is when we focus on our similarities - "You have two parents too?" or "Oh my, we both drink our coffee black: we are made for each other!" - and refuse to see our differences. Because of the chemicals raging in our brains during this first stage, we have very typical "love symptoms": euphoria, heightened attention to the smallest charming details, short-term memory, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, poor appetite, heart racing, dilated pupils, etc.

The problem is that we believe our loved one is the source of our exquisite feelings, although we are creating those feelings ourselves. The loved one is just a mirror. He or she is not perfect.

The distorted perception of the loved one continues as long as the brain produces the chemicals. The Pink Lens stage may last between 6 weeks and one year, the average length being 3 to 6 months. This is the time when we should refrain from making any drastic decision and instead wait for the love symptoms to subside.

2. The "Back-to-Reality" stage

As the effect of the brain chemicals subsides, we start to see our lover as he or she really is, and we are often disappointed. We believe the person should continue to make us happy. Hollywood movies gave us the impression that the wonderful feeling was supposed to last forever. We are subconsciously blaming our lover for failing us.

We start focusing on differences - "Why does he need to get up so early?" His so-called virtues are not as appealing as they used to be: "He has such a great sense of humor" becomes "He jokes all the time; we can never have a serious conversation". Her flaws are harder to forgive: "I love her assertiveness" turns into "She is so controlling" or something worse if we are not watching our language!

Since we are not hiding behind our pink lenses any longer, we feel the need to protect ourselves, to create a wall, to be right, to blame or criticize.

The timing of this stage varies depending on the quality of the relationship. It could happen after six weeks and last one week, or it could happen after one year and last six months or more. Many relationships end there. The disappointment is too great and neither partner is ready to work at it.

Sometimes, it lasts many years. Partners stay together but the relationship doesn't evolve. They stay together out of habit, or for many different reasons (financial, religious, children, etc.) and never get to the third relationship stage.

3. The "Hard Work" stage

This stage happens when the partners have decided to stay together and do something to improve the relationship. We look at our contribution to the relationship. We open up to each other. We find out about personal issues and problems, and take charge of our own behavior.

Of course, the work does not happen by itself but the improvement can sometimes be initiated by only one of the partners, not necessarily both. When one partner is really serious about improvement, the determination is bound to have an effect on the couple.

While the Hard Work stage is a definite step of the relationship stages, we have to go through it on a regular basis, the same way as we do maintenance and repairs on our car.

Outside Resources

How to bring back a lost love! Home study course. You can save your relationship, save your marriage and get your lover back no matter how hopeless or difficult your situation appears

Breakup reversed - how to reverse your situation so your Ex fights day and night to get you back... even if it seems hopeless!

1000 questions for couples - What you absolutely must know about the one you're with!

The Magic of Making Up - Get your Ex back!

4. The "True Love" stage

The True Love stage is the reward of a truly committed relationship. This stage is characterized by unconditional love, safety, intimacy, respect and fun together.

It doesn't mean that we never fight. We may encounter relationship problems once in a while, but we know we will solve them as they come up because the relationship has the strength to withstand difficulties.

True love is what everyone wants and so few people are willing to work for. It takes efforts, time and patience to get there, but it is worth the price!

Knowing about the different relationship stages may help you see things more clearly unless, of course, you are at the Pink Lens stage and you won’t want to remove your rose-colored glasses!

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