The length of time that you stay in a stage of a relationship depends on the couple, as no two couples function the same. Some couples never advance to the later stages of a relationship because they aren’t compatible or a lack of emotional maturity.
Stage One: Attraction and Romance
Every couple experiences this particular stage. It starts when you are getting to know one another and it can also be called the fantasy phase because, during this time, your partner will seem like they are perfect. The length of time this phase lasts will vary, but it can be as short as a few months to as long as a few years.
During this stage, you’re probably focusing on how similar you are and you’re probably spending a lot of time together. You’re in love and you simply cannot imagine being away from your partner. Conflict is almost non-existent during this stage; and, although it feels like everything is perfect, it will not last.
Stage Two: Reality Check
This stage slowly sneaks up on you, but sometimes it can smack you in the face out of nowhere. You start seeing the flaws in your partner and recognizing the things that you don’t like. You’re still in love, but the shiny façade is wearing away and you aren’t so smitten.
Also, biology is going to be your enemy because those endorphins that were once running rampant during stage one are starting to level off. You may even wonder if you still love your partner or not.
Stage Three: Disappointment
The reality of your partner that you may have experienced in stage two is turning into disappointment in this stage. Here, you feel that as a couple, your arguments are already bad, but your anger is amplified. Sometimes you get angry over small things and because you don’t recognize that conflict is actually helpful, you often feel like your relationship may be doomed. You may have even thought about divorcing or breaking up. Communication is key if you want to get on to stage four.
Stage Four: Stability
If a couple can make it through any amount of conflict that comes their way, they can settle on to stage four and embrace stability. This stage gives couples a chance to enjoy each other again and relax. You have a history together and you’ve been able to work through these issues. You both have the understanding that you are different and fights are unavoidable, but because you love one another, you can work it through.
Stage Five: Commitment
Very few couples are able to get to this stage, even those who are married. During this stage, you are officially a team. You’ve chosen to be with your partner no matter what. You don’t miss the romance stage anymore because that would mean you’d have to be with someone new. You are in this relationship for the long haul and you are perfectly fine with that. This is a stage of mature love that is sustainable and satisfying.