Believe it or not, but most relationships go through the five stages while dating even when you notice it or not. The five stages are :
– Attraction and Romance
– Reality/Power Tussle
– Engagement/Blissful Love
Stage One: Attraction and Romance
This is the first stage of dating, and all couples go through it. Also called the fantasy or honeymoon phase, your new partner seems so perfect during this time. Wherever you have met – in the bar, the park, on dating sites – everything seems so beautiful and thrilling. Here, you begin to get to know each other gradually and this may last anywhere from a few months to about two years.
Across relationships and even in online dating, this phase lasts about three months. Because your actions are based on hormones, you often focus on your similarities and ignore your partner’s flaws. Furthermore, you spend a lot of time together communicating via every channel you can think of.
Stage Two: Reality/Power Tussle
While some couples may make it past the first stage of dating, most online dating relationships never survive the second stage. The reality phase in dating may creep in slowly during your relationship and may last up to six months. This stage signals the end of “the honeymoon phase”. Obviously, this is when you usually have your “first fight”. You start to see flaws in your partner and pet peeves that turn you off. It doesn’t mean that you are no longer in love, it’s just reality setting in. Online dating, like many other relationships, abruptly ends in this stage. This is due to the fact that it follows after the rush of hormones to the brain has subsided. Usually, the attraction fades and a partner may start having doubts. However, should you choose to accept each other’s flaws and look beyond them, you can progress to the next level.
Stage Three: Exclusivity/Commitment
The third stage of dating is about sole commitment. Should they make it through the second stage, this is the phase where lovers express a desire to start seeing each other exclusively. That means they stop seeing other people. By inference, they have grown to recognize and accept that their partner’s flaws. This also means accepting such a person’s goals, wants, and needs. Contrary to popular belief, this is not the stage when they start having sex. It’s so much more. Rather, this stage of dating involves both partners agreeing to commit to each other regardless of circumstances.
Stage Four: Intimacy
The end of the commitment stage ushers in the fourth stage of dating – the intimacy phase. This stage involves watering and nourishing the true love that has been blooming. After two people have bonded with each other, this is when they are ready to experience the essence of true love. Once you have decided to go into a committed relationship with your partner, this is where you let your guard down. This means opening up to your partner and becoming vulnerable without holding anything back. Even in online dating, you can only experience true intimacy when you hide nothing from each other.
However, the intimacy stage is much more than just physical intimacy. You also get to connect beyond the superficial. As you open up yourself to love and be loved during this stage, you also get to see your partner’s true character. Much more, as you learn to stick together, you also see their weaknesses and strengths. Also, you get to understand their hidden fears and how they see things.
Stage Five: Engagement/Blissful Love
This is the final stage of dating. It is at this point where the couple ultimately decides to bring a commitment to another level. For some, it is the stage where they decide to do it for life. That implies that the couple decides to commit their souls and bodies to their significant other forever against all odds. Moreover, they agree to work together inclusively as they make plans for a fruitful future.
Ideally, this phase is the perfect time for the couple to learn to apologize and forgive. For a lasting relationship, apologizing and forgiving help the couple maintain true and undying love. Both partners need to learn to genuinely apologize when they offend or hurt their partners. Also, partners need to learn to open their hearts and forgive their significant others. This way, they can master the art of loving unconditionally, and work together as a team.