In this article, I will explain the three key stages of love in relationships. It is essential to understand what changes are occurring in your body at each stage and how they influence the way you perceive your partner.
“We are most alive when we’re in love.”-John Updike
The first stage: Infatuation
The first stage of any relationship is infatuation. This is the phase when everything is perfect when you are happy and feel complete. When you first fall in love with someone, you experience something higher than you ever thought you could.
Contrary to what you might think, when you first fall in love, you fall in love with yourself. You fall in love with the things that you admire about yourself, with your values, your beliefs, and your desires.
You fall in love with the similarities you and your partner have. You fall in love with parts of yourself that you might have forgotten about and your partner successfully reminds you of.
You might think your partner is perfect. This is the result of your inability to see enough of the reality. As endorphins fly through your body, you see only what you want to see. You are so happy and in love that you often ignore the reality in front of you and decide not to deal with it.
In this phase, you feel an enormous physical attraction and passion towards your partner that comes effortlessly. This is the most intense phase of the relationship.
The infatuation stage cannot last forever. Our body starts to naturally produce fewer endorphins as we become more familiar with each other. And this is scientifically normal; human beings cannot live with an excessive amount of endorphins forever.
The intensity that you once felt begins to fade as a result of endorphins levels decreasing. There are many couples that break up as soon as the infatuation stage ends.
“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”- Albert Ellis
Should this be the end of your love story?
As you already know, not everyone makes it through to the next phase of love. The natural process that occurs in our body is not understood by many. They will look for someone else that could make them feel the same emotional intensity and passion they once felt in the infatuation stage.
When your endorphins level return to normal, you start seeing realities that you consciously or unconsciously chose to ignore. Although you might think that your partner deceived you, the truth is that you ignored all the red flags even though they were exactly in front of you.
Let’s say you saw your partner speak badly to a friend or family member. Even if this says a lot about his behavior and how he will eventually treat you, you will ignore this reality. You will blame the other person for your partner’s behavior, accepting his excuses, justification, or explanation for treating the other person poorly.
If you find yourself in this phase right now, analyze the situation and try to clearly and objectively think if the person in front of you is the person with whom you want to be.
The infatuation phase might seem like a big investment, but in the long term, you will we thankful to yourself for your decision. I know how hard it is to give up on all of those nice memories and feelings that you once felt, but there is nothing worse than living years in pain and sorrow.
“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seed of your future happiness.” – Steve Maraboli
The second stage- The transition stage
The transition phase is the most difficult phase of any relationship. As your endorphin levels are back to normal, your reality will become more clear and you will start to discover all your differences.
The transition stage could be called ‘the negotiation stage’. In this period, you and your partner will use your communication skills to discuss your differences and potential problems and reach a resolution together.
This stage could easily take a negative path if you (or your partner) are not willing to work out your differences. In this case, the transition will take longer or will never finalize.
The transition stage is the ultimate test for your love and relationship. This is when you have to decide if someone is good for you or not.
Usually, this stage cannot be finalized before you moved in together. And here is why:
- Let’s say your partner plays video games in his free time and you don’t. Whenever you see each other you do things that you both enjoy, so you don’t acknowledge that his hobby could represent a problem. Once you moved in, you realize he spends a considerable amount of time playing video games and this begins to irritate you.
- Likewise, let’s say you are spending hours to get ready before a date with your partner. He never thought that this could be a problem when you were living apart. Once you moved in, he needs to plan his time around your rituals. and he finds this an inconvenience
I could go on and on about this, but I hope you see the pattern there. That is why it is important to live together and really get to know each other at this stage of your relationship.
Only if you are able to discuss your differences and find a way to solve your problems you will get to the most important and final stage, the true love.
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”- Rainer Maria Rilke
Final stage – True love
To everyone’s surprise, there are only a few people who can reach this stage. Even within marriages, people find themselves in a never-ending transition stage.
The couples who cannot pass the transition stage, most likely have committed too early ( in the infatuation stage). Those who commit in the infatuation stage usually have a very tough and long transition phase and they very often fail to reach the final stage of love.
How does true love feel like? When you truly love someone you feel calm, peaceful, and connected. The intense passion and attraction that you felt in the infatuation stage are replaced by intense happiness, completeness, and acceptance.
“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” — Helen Keller
Now that you understand the stages of love, remember to enjoy each stage and recognize and accept that infatuation cannot last forever and be prepared to embrace the transition stage. Once you have worked out your differences and learn to accept each other completely, your connection will reach a level you have never imagined.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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