Relationships are hard, and even the best relationships still evolve and change, so much so that love psychologists such as Dr. Jed Diamond have actually put such changes into phases.
In particular, we’re interested in five phases – and the stunning realization that most relationships get stuck in stage three.
Let’s take a closer look at those five phases:
1. Falling in Love
The falling in love stage may be an evolutionary trick – designed to make sure we propagate and our species continues – but that doesn’t make the hormones released (such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin) any less pleasurable.
2. Becoming Partners
As the infatuation of stage one fades, couples here start to build a pragmatic and close bond. Hormones balance out – so it’s not as exciting – but it is more sustainable.
Look, it’s pretty natural that at some point partners begin feeling misunderstood and underappreciated. None of us are perfect, and we should understand that about our partners, too. Unfortunately for many couples, this is instead where they choose to part ways, rather that grow through the experience.
There’s another choice, though: Using the disillusionment as an opportunity to keep pushing forward.
4. Real Love
When couples push through their disillusionment, they learn who they each are. They begin to see how their past affects their future. As a result, these couples develop a mature relationship.
5. Combining Forces
Couples who make it to stage five can fully expect to change the world. This is the culmination of two people becoming one.
So how do you get to stage five? Remember your relationship isn’t a sprint – and work on communication, while developing both your cooperation and independence.