The Stages of Love: the Journey of Falling and Growing in Love
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.
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.
2. 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 fantasised version you’ve had in your head for a few months.
3. 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 by 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 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.
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.
5. The Promised Land
The “promised land” stage is characterised by feelings of being blessed, lucky, or truly happy. For the first time in your life, you feel content and fulfilled. While things aren’t perfect, they are still wonderful. Surprisingly, sex actually gets better during this phase of intimacy because you accept each other fully, with all of your flaws and imperfections.
According to experts, this stage can resurface throughout a couple’s relationship, and it’s normal to bounce between all of the stages at some point. So don’t worry if you don’t always feel like you’re in the promised land stage, it’s all part of the natural progression of a healthy relationship.
Navigating the Five Stages of Love with Openness and Acceptance
As you journey through the five stages of love, it’s important to remember that every relationship is unique and may progress through the stages differently. However, the key to a successful relationship lies in remaining open, accepting, and communicating with your partner. By sharing your desires, dreams, sexual fantasies, and love for one another, you can deepen your connection and build a strong foundation for a lasting relationship.
Whether you’re in the early stages of a new relationship or have been together for years, don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open and continue to learn and grow together. With these tools, you can navigate the journey of falling and growing in love with confidence and joy.