All romantic relationships, including marriage, go through predictable stages as they grow and develop, with specific relationship issues and dynamics at each stage.
Some relationship stages last a specific period of time, while others can go on for years, or indefinitely.
What stage is your relationship or marriage in? Or if you are single or divorced, at what stage do your relationships always end, and why?
Want to understand the stages of romantic relationships, so that you can navigate relationships with more ease and know how?
The stages of relationship development are:
Stage 1: The Honeymoon:
According to love songs and fairy tales, this stage of a relationship is what love is supposed to be like. You meet, you connect, you fall in love. Everything seems right. Yet, even this stage – especially this stage! – has stumbling blocks, warnings and mistakes that are typically made.
Stage 2: The Discovery
During this stage, the initial excitement of being together fades somewhat and you can begin to see who the other person is in ordinary life. What should you do about the things you discover about each other? Most people get this stage all wrong, and they don’t even know it!
Stage 3: The Commitment
This is the stage most singles fantasize about — the place where the relationship is settled, you know you are together, and you can finally relax. But rather than an end of a process, it is only the beginning. And what happens in this stage sets you two up to either have a great or not-so-great relationship.
Stage 4: The Power Struggle
This is the stage of relationships that will either make or break the couple, the stage at which many couples split up. The power struggle can be a gut-wrenching, painful place for a couple to be. It is very important that the right actions are taken in this stage, because it will set the tone for the rest of the relationship.
The above 4 stages are the only stages many relationships make it through.
There are four more stages that I will tell you about below. But before I do that, would you like to:
- Lean about each relationship stage
- Identify when you are in each of the stages of a relationship
- Discover the joy of each relationship stage
- Find the stumbling block of each relationship stage
- Get the warning to heed in each of the stages of a relationship
- Know the mistakes men and women typically make in each of the stages in relationships
- Find out what to do in each of the stages of relationships to have a thriving relationship
- Get a Coaching Tip with specific action steps to make sure you fare well in every stage of relationships
Get the book: The 8+ Stages of Relationships – How to do relationships right at every stage, from the first date to a lifetime together in love to get all that and more!
The 5 stages after the Power Struggle
After the power struggle stage your relationship will follow one of two tracks in terms of relationship stages.
If the two of you resolve the power struggle, you will experience the following relationship stages:
- Stage 5: Growth
- Stage 6: The Second Honeymoon
- Stage 7: The Child
- Stage 8: A Team Under Crisis
- Beyond Stage 8: Wellspring of Love
Here the relationship is wonderful, loving and gets better over time!
If the two of you fail to resolve the power struggle, you will instead experience the following relationship stages:
- Stage 5: Anger
- Stage 6: Peace with a Price
- Stage 7: The Bind
- Stage 8: Driven Apart by Crisis
- Beyond Stage 8: Life, Separately
Here the relationship will be dying a slow or not-so-slow death, with more and more distance developing between the two of you.
Go pick up your copy of the book The 8+ Stages of Relationships: How to do relationships right at every stage, from the first date to a lifetime together in love. Take the suggested action for your relationship stage to put more passion and love into your relationship or marriage.
You might even save your relationship or marriage!
Or, if you are single, you might finally understand what to do to get relationships right!
This article was originally published in 2005, revised in early 2012 and then again in October of 2012.