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The love cycle

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It is very important that you know what is happening in your relationship. That you know you are not just ‘swinging around’ or just ‘going with the flow’ is essential to the survival of the relationship. Understanding the stages of your relationship can help you to pinpoint yours and your partner’s needs at any particular time. Couples will move through the stages from time to time and will go back and forth from stage to stage. All couples are different and they will do this at different speeds. For both parties, knowing these stages will help them make better decisions in the relationship.


1. The Romance stage


When two people first meet, the need to love and belong is being satisfied. Characteristic of this stage is fantasies, dream-like qualities and hopes for the future. Two people are more interested in impressions and appearances. There is a grave danger of couples marrying at this stage of bliss, and failing to make it to commitment. One is paying attention to how the other person looks, presents themselves and dresses. These aspects may be inaccurate, but they do have a bearing on whether the two progress to the next stage or not.

How to slay this stage:


Try to be yourself, because you want someone to be attracted to the real you. You should try and pay attention to their body language, their social skills and other traits that might be of interest to you in a partner. Even if you’re physically attracted to this person, try to not overlook any red flags


2. The Power Struggle stage


Two people begin to explore and experiment in their relationship. There is more need of power and freedom. Each individual tries to gain more awareness of themselves and their partner and they start thinking of themselves as a whole. They explore each other’s values to see how they relate and they make the decision to continue or terminate the relationship. According to Marina Edelman, MA (Marriage and Family Therapist) differences are discovered as couples become emotionally and physically intimate, weaknesses begin to surface and conflict ensues.

As couples become emotionally and physically intimate, weaknesses begin to surface and conflict ensues.


How to slay this stage:


You want to find out more about your partner’s life goals, know more about their friends and family. It is vital that both of you are in the same page as you become more intimate. At times one partner might be more ready to move forward causing the relationship to be imbalanced, or in worst cases ending prematurely. Try to pace yourself and rely on your good judgement. It is imperative that as a couple you learn how to fight fairly with both parties winning


3. The Stability stage


At this stage couples are more interested in freedom and choice. Couples are more sexually intimate and are willing to become more vulnerable with each other. They become more open about various aspects of their lives. The couple becomes okay with each other’s differences, it feels good to agree to not change each other. However, life is about change and growth. The danger at this stage is that couples might start to realize that their paths in are different. This might create a sense of sadness, loss as dreams do not materialize. With the future still undecided, couples tend to focus more on the present. There is a higher risk of separation and termination at this stage.


How to slay this stage:


Enjoy the best part of this stage, as you become more secure and are able to share more of your life with this person. You can rely on this powerful connection and love to address issues that might undermine your closeness. However, as you become more involved in each other’s lives there arise possible disagreements or discord. If mutual respect fails to set it, the couple reverts to the power struggle. The couple has a history at this stage and must use it to preserve the relationship.


4. The Commitment stage

In this stage, the couple is making clear choices about themselves and their partner based on commonalities as well as differences. Their focus is on love, belonging, fun, freedom and power.Your friends and family will view the two of you as a committed couple.

You might start pooling your financial resources and making joint decisions. You contemplate getting married and starting a family.At this stage, the two realize they don’t really need to be together but they choose to be. The relationship is deep, consistent and satisfying for both parties. There is a common danger that couples can become bored with each other and might drift apart. On the other hand, there can be a sense of sadness or loss as they accept their partners for who they truly are as supposed to who they want them to be. At this stage, individuals might begin to re-establish outside interests or friendships they would have given up at the Romance stage.


How to slay this stage:


By now, couples would have navigated the most challenging stages of a relationship and have fully committed to each other, which is a big step. Having a deeply satisfying relationship increases health and longevity for each person. The most effective remedy is to try and maintain the connection that was created at the Romance stage by doing “the things you used to do”. Couples can establish date night, flirt and generally put each other first. This will become the partners plan to healthily manage conflict and problems in their relationship.

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