We are all looking for someone to be with, I think that even the most commitment phobic individual has a part of them that wants it. It can be a nightmare just trying to find someone, and when you have found someone who you hope is right for you, you have to navigate a minefield of feelings and emotion, in order to end up with someone with who you can spend the rest of your days. Whilst the stages of a relationship are relatively simple, how the relationship progresses rarely is.
All relationships begin when you meet someone who strikes a chord with you. Many people regard that moment as the point that they fall in love, sorry to be such a misery but the first stage is not love, it’s infatuation. Though In have to admit that falling in love sounds a lot more romantic that falling in infatuation. Infatuation is where you get your first tenuous bond to your potential mate. It’s a very loose connection and is there to give you the opportunity to get to know each other better. It might be a tenuous bond, but the passion between you is very intense.
Then you start getting used to each other, the magic fades, and there is no longer the excitement that you once had. This is probably the most crucial of all the stages of a relationship, because this is the point where you discover just how much of a bond you have with each other. If, during the infatuation stage you never really connected then this is the first point at which you could break up with each other. On the other hand, if you still feel something for each other, and you both want to explore that feeling, it gets a little bit more difficult.
While you where in the infatuation stage, you had intense passion driving you on, when that goes, your relationship can feel a bit empty, and you can wonder if there is a way forward. And it is at this point that you see your partner for who they are for the very first time. In the infatuation stage there might have been things about your partner that you were able to ignore, not any more.
When you start to see faults in your partner then there is a possibility that you might try to change them. There are some habits which would do your partner good to break, such as excavating and devouring the contents of their nostrils in public. You could end up making your partner a better person if you just get rid of some of their more cosmetic habits, the problem is can you stop there, or will you try to change who they are. If you succeed in changing who your partner is, then they are no longer the person that you fell in love with, will you still love them? And of course if they resist the change then it will probably push you apart. And don’t forget, you could have habits that drive them nuts as well.
So long as you are still speaking to each other you learn how to communicate with each other. You will find out what makes your partner tick, their wants and needs, their hopes and dreams. This is when you start to build a friendship, which if it is allowed to develop will become love. I’m sad to say that far to many couples lose the ability to communicate with each other, the main reason being that they forget what is really important to them. It is worth remembering that a breakdown in communications causes more break-ups and divorces than anything else, so don’t stop talking.
If there is enough of a connection between you, you will come to accept your partner for who they are, and you will love them for the unique individual that they are. Your bond of love, friendship and caring will be much deeper, and if you have not reached that stage just yet, you will be approaching the stage of being in a committed relationship. You know that neither of you is perfect, but you accept that. By now you have realised that your partner cannot fulfill all your needs and you are happy to accept what they offer you. By this point you should also have realised that you are responsible for your own happiness.
Finally you reach the stage where you are a couple which is (hopefully) committed to creating the very best relationship that you can. You share each others live, you are each others best friends, and you are each the first person that your partner turns to. You are committed to each other and have a shared vision for the future.
At some point you may or may not have children, just as you may or may not get married. The important thing is that you both move forward together and that you are happy.
The stages of a relationship can be a rocky road, but if it is meant to be it will happen. Whatever you do, do not try to develop a relationship if the basics of friendship and caring are not there. When you move forward you have to move together, both of you have to want this relationship to happen, and both of you have to work to make it happen. You will have problems along the way, and some of them may be serious, but as long as you keep working together then you should keep growing together.
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