How to Create and Sustain a Healthy Relationship: 5 Stages
Love is a journey without a final destination. We shouldn’t expect that at some point in our relationship, we’ll look back at the obstacles we overcame and say, “Well, that’s it! We’re here! We made it!” Because beyond wherever you are now, another hurdle awaits. In other words, the stages of a relationship are not linear but cyclical.
The honeymoon phase
Enjoy this stage to the fullest — this is the stuff that makes dating so delightful and intriguing. At the same time, be aware of your heightened emotions.
- Get candid advice from friends to help identify red flags.
- Go slow with making any big decisions that can impact your life.
Doubt and Denial
We finally start to actually notice the differences between us and our partners. Observe your emotions and your relationship, and actively question whether this person really is the best match for you.
- the skills of conflict management are essential. Learn how to deescalate conflicts and face relationship problems head-on while treating each other with care and respect.
This is the winter season of love, and the differences surface between couples. Discuss the problems openly and show affection even when upset.
In this stage, we make a decision—whether that’s to leave, to stay and do nothing despite how miserable we are, or to stay and actually work on fixing this relationship. Decide to do some work before making a choice about the relationship. Many times, couples feel they want out of the relationship, but when they learn the skills to communicate effectively, years of resentment or estrangement can fade away. Commit to real change, and understand your role in the relationship.
It is the healthiest and most rewarding stage. It’s love’s summertime, when the fruits of a couple’s labors are fully ripe and ready to be savored. Couples experience true individuation, self-discovery, and the acceptance of imperfection in both themselves and their partners, recognizing there is no such thing as a “perfect match.” Nourish yourself and make self-care and self-growth continual goals.