The Stages of Intimacy: Which One Are You In?
Emotions are complicated little buggers. You’re up, you’re down, and you’re completely confused. In short, you might be in love. But did you know that there are several stages you’ll go through in the intimacy cycle before you reach that promised land o’ love?
Most people have heard of the five stages of grief, or even the languages of love, but what about the journey to love and deep intimacy with someone? Psychologists agree that like everything else emotional, there is a process and a progression that occurs. Look at the following stages of love and see where you fall on the scale. These stages, by the way, just like in many other processes, don’t always follow this natural progression, but by and large, most average couples do follow a similar process.
Step One: OMG… They’re Perfect
This is the infatuation stage. You even think the way they suck the food out of their teeth is sexy. You can’t wait to see the other person again because you just have SO much in common. You annoy your friends and family talking about this other person. In short, you are in that “honeymoon” phase of a relationship where the emotions and hormones that are bouncing around in your system are related to cocaine (it’s a scientific fact, believe it or not).
So, yeah, it is possible to be addicted to love. This is the stage where you’ll check your email or text messages many times during the hour to see if you have any more messages from him or her. But, like most feel-good drugs, it can’t last.
Step Two: Clearer Vision and a Reality Check
Reality will eventually rare its ugly face and depending on how clearly you see, and accept, the other person will determine the longevity of the relationship. It’s the day that you wake up and think to yourself, “Wow..he’s really insecure” or “I really dislike that little laugh she does”. This stage can be either an early wake-up call, and you call it quits, or it can be a little unsettling but affords and paves the way for an appreciation for who this other person really is, not the fantasized version you’ve had in your head for a few months.
Step Three: The Hamster Wheel
Sometimes called ‘burying’, this is the stage where you both settle into each other’s daily routine, and work out a new routine that includes the both of you. This stage is typified with divvying up chores, work, talking about the aches and pains of day-to-day living. The danger in this stage is to forgo intimacy with one another to focus on the day to day living, which is a relationship killer. Making time to continue the intimacy between the two of you is key during this phase. Remind each other why you wanted to be close in the first place.
Step Four: Remembering
In this phase, you actually step back for a second or two and observe your significant other with some appreciation. You find yourself saying inwardly, “Wow..he is still so sexy to me” or “I really love her so much”. This is where you both have viewed each other with eyes wide open and now accept one another for who you both are, and not the fantasy version. You see them not only as your sexual mate, but as your life partner, someone that has your best interests, and your back.
Step Five: The Promised Land
This stage is typified by the surfacing of those feelings of being blessed, lucky, or truly happy for the first time, perhaps, in your life. Things aren’t perfect, but they are wonderful just the same. Believe it or not, sex actually gets better during this phase of intimacy because you are truly accepting each other as you truly are, warts and all. This stage, experts state, surfaces and resurfaces throughout a couple’s relationship, and you may bounce between all of them at some point.
The key to it all is to continue to remain open, accepting, and to communicate with one another about your desires, dreams, sexual fantasies, and your love for one another.
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