A relationship is basically a cycle of the complicated process running over a due course of time.  It gradually leads to a concrete substantial form. Somewhere between exchanging those first glances and dividing household chores, there is a very interesting process.  A step by step development of mutual trust, respect, love, and responsibility. From obsessing over a potential romance to finding a safe comfort zone with your long-term partner. Let’s unravel the various stages of relationship development every couple goes through before they seal the deal with a ring. These stages can vary from person to person and the tenacity. And also the time period each couple, spends in each of these development phases depends on the individual.

However, at the end of the day, it all breaks down to these four basic stages of relationship development.

1. Attraction

This is basically the stage of curiosity where the two potential partners initially meet and get to know each other. Whether a match is made in heaven or not is debatable but they need to meet and begin somewhere. Often this meeting happens via friends, family, social groups, a party or as more prevalent these days, over the internet. Different scenarios cater to different ways of knowing each other. If there is just enough curiosity and attraction, people take it over to the next stage.

2. Romance

Once two people get to know each other and are attracted to each other, the lingering curiosity and sexual tension lead to romance. Initial attractions are more or less on physical appearance and basic character attributes. Romance is a stage where the couple treads into deeper waters by trying to know each other better.  They spend more time with each other, unraveling each other’s secrets and get comfortable with their habits and likings. This stage is about trying to impress each other, finding out if the other can be a potential long-term partner.

3. Intimacy & Being a couple

This is a stage which is the make or break phase of a long-term relationship. The two potential partners have been with each other for a substantial amount of time.  They start noticing the little flaws and drawbacks – yes every relationship has some! Certain little habits do not seem ‘cute’ anymore. And this phase also brings about a lot of complaints and contradictions. Fights happen but that does not deter the couple from getting very involved with each other. This is a stage where they intimacy is at the utmost. It also shows how much effort an individual is willing to put in the relationship even during hard times. Along with a lot of complications, self-disclosure emerges with the differences. Gradually it gives rise to the most important question for couples in this phase – “Where is this going?”. With all the perpetual cards laid out, both positive and negative, this is where a couple takes their time.  It is now they decide whether they should take their relationship to the next level or not. This phase is usually longer and it should be as it is not a wise decision to jump or rush into a decision that.

4. Commitment

By now, couples have a clear understanding of each other – their lifestyle, ethics, nature, quirks and relationship goals. Couples who make it to this stage have already found stability and comfort with each other irrespective of their flaws. They realize that every relationship has shortcomings and that is perfectly fine.

Love is a two faced coin. If falling in love is one aspect, maintaining it strong and healthy is the other important aspect. But stages of relationship development has to navigate through the above process before settling.

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