THE 5 STAGES OF A RELATIONSHIP

Stage One: Meeting
The purpose of stage one is to determine if there is enough chemistry, commonality and interest to warrant dating. For some people, it may take a couple of meetings to determine if they want to date a particular person. What is needed here is to come across as someone who is interesting and fun to be with. 

Stage Two: Falling In Love
Stage two is the romantic stage and can last up to 6 months or more. During this stage the two of you want to spend increasingly amounts of time together. People often describe this stage as feeling infatuated with the other person. Because two people are having fun and really attracted to each other they tend to overlook those cute irritancies of their partner in order to focus on the strong attraction and the positive feelings. 

Stage Three:  Reality
Stage three is where differences between the couple start coming to the surface. It is also where each partner will decide for his and her self, whether to continue the relationship. The relationship now focuses on how the two of you work through disagreements, differences of opinions and ideas as well as different approaches to sex, communication and commitment. It is also an opportunity to both learn and use problem-solving skills with your partner. Arguing in a relationship is not the problem. The problem arises when couples don’t know how to use healthy skills to resolve it. Stage three is also an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your partner as each of you recognizes that you are loved and accepted for being your true self. This is where trust develops in a relationship. 

Stage Four: Independence and Interdependence
Stage four is a when the couple learns how to be a couple and still maintain a level of independence within the relationship.  During this period of time the couple begins to incorporate their previous social relationships and interests into the couple relationship. For some people the fear of their partner wanting to socialize without them, triggers feelings of insecurity, jealousy, or abandonment. This is usually based in reality and if the partner with the insecurity does not address his or her own issues, the result maybe unintended break-up. 

Stage Five: Healthy Commitment & True Love
Stage Five is where the individuals are willing to make a long term commitment with one another. Having successfully completed the stages above, the couple has built a foundation on trust, honesty and integrity. For some this is marriage for others this means being in a monogamous relationship. 




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Marianne Vernacchia, MFT