Have you noticed how in any bond you experience certain relationship stages, including the bonds with your friends and colleagues?
Just as children go through necessary and predictable stages of development as they grow up, so do relationships.
As you can imagine, in love relationships these stages are more intense, as your intimacy is so much deeper than in any of your other relationships.
As you know, all relationships are journeys to deeper awareness, connection, and fulfillment with normal and expected step stones along the way. Like on any journey, your experience is greatly enhanced when you have a roadmap, right?
Unfortunately, in our culture the social biases continually emphasize a roadmap of false expectations and illusions with no basis in the reality of everyday life.
Following such a shallow roadmap you can’t but have a disappointing, frustrating, bumpy trip. You might even fail to reach your destination altogether. Obviously, the more accurate the roadmap of relationship stages, the easier and enjoyable your journey.
After the initial phase of attracting your soulmate, you and your partner might experience a slightly different duration of each of the relationship stages than other couples, but generally, you will follow a typical pattern.
Before going on to see which relationship stage you are in now...
I. Infatuation Stage, or the romantic love is what love songs and love stories are all about.
You fall madly in love and get intimate at all levels: mental, emotional, and physical.
Your mood is charged and you feel energized all the time basking in the thought that your partner wants you as much as you want her.
Of course, you wish this kind of love will never end, but it typically lasts only until you are committed to your relationship, usually 6-8 months.
The role of this stage? To give the two of you a taste of the potential of your relationship together. Once the initial euphoria is over, differences become evident and the power struggle begins, threatening to pull your relationship apart.
II. Common relationship problems crop up during the Power Struggle stage, the most difficult of all relationship stages. It usually kicks in when the romance wears off.
As you get closer to each other emotionally and physically, weaknesses and vulnerabilities begin to show up and conflicts result in ego-hassles, intense fights, and bouts of depression.
In fact, you start questioning if she is the right partner for you, or whether you should continue your relationship or not.
The role of this stage? To make you increase your awareness on yourself and your partner and push your limits with new skills.
Power struggle starts soon after the two of you move in together and can last for many bitter years.
At any point during this stage, you have three options: break off, decide to continue to stay together and have a numbed, turned-off life (a ‘parallel marriage’), or realize that you must grow and learn how to make relationships work.
III. Beyond the power struggle, you 'graduate' in the Transformation Stage - but only if you decide to do the inner work required. This is the stage of the most accelerated personal development of all relationship stages.
Here you learn about the subconscious healing agenda of attracting your soulmate and do a lot of soul searching to discover who you truly are, what you stand for, what your needs, desires, and life goals are.
The role of this stage? To make you finish childhood, heal your past emotional wounds, learn to appreciate and love yourself, and - hopefully - find your purpose in life. Most importantly, you learn advanced relationship principles and enhance your negotiation, empathy, and emotional intelligence skills.
Because your growth is ongoing, your transformation stage is like a spiral, with times more intense and challenging than others. After each power struggle with your partner you experience a growth spurt of several months to a year or even more, depending on the type of issue and on your level of resistance (denial, confusion, or fear).
IV. A blissful relationship starts after you have each healed your past, made the necessary amends, and grown as individuals. This Cooperation (Synergy) Stage is the most wonderful of all relationship stages!
Now, you are finally able to fully connect - not only with your lover, but with your own self as well.
You have now discovered your needs, defined your goals, and successfully negotiated them with your partner.
During the Cooperation Stage you notice that life has come around a whole circle and you are once again vibrant, happy, and joyful.
The role of this stage? So you can handle any common project or life crisis as a perfect team, acting as one: proactively, responsibly, and constructively to a mutual fulfillment.
So, in which of these relationship stages are you in? Or, if you are single, at what stage do your relationships always end and why?