Understanding the Stages of Relationship


     "As a relationship forms, it often passes through distinct stages. Each stage has certain challenges and rewards. Recognizing these stages helps you not to confuse difficulties stemming from the stage of your relationship with difficulties arising from incompatibility with your partner. Understanding these stages can make for a much smoother evolution to the most fulfilling parts of relationship.

Stage One: Infatuation

     "The first stage of relationship is that of infatuation, when everything seems right and inspiring about your partner, and the potentials for your relationship. It is accompanied by a neurochemical cocktail that produces a genuine physical and psychological high. It can be very addictive. It gives rise to thinking you have found someone with whom you can now have the ultimate relationship. Unfortunately, it does not last. I have seen estimates that say it can be from six minutes to six months in length. Some say the more times you have been through it, the shorter it will be.

     "In stage one it would seem there are few challenges. Actually, the challenge is very great: do not get lost in it. I have seen numerous cases of people allowing their lives to go to ruin, for the sake of spending time with their new love. Jobs have been lost, families have been ignored, health has gone downhill. Another way to put this is: do not allow yourself to become addicted. Addicts forsake the other parts of their lives in order to satisfy their addiction. They retreat into their addiction to avoid the ups and downs of life, particularly the downs. And yet we all know, deep down, addiction does not remove the other challenges and responsibilities, it only adds a new problem to the list."
 2000 Mark Shafer  

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