Whether you’re at the start of a blossoming relationship or been with your significant other for years, every relationship goes through the same five stages of dating.
It may seem pretty obvious, but relationships – whether romantic or platonic – grow with time and undergo distinct changes as bonds are formed and intimacy is developed. As your relationship evolves through each of these stages, you’ll learn more about each other and determine if you and your partner are committed and destined for a lifetime together.
If you’ve begun dating someone new or if you’re unsure at what stage your existing relationship is at, this blog is for you. Below, we’re going to talk you through each of the five stages of dating, so you can work out where you and your partner are right now and more importantly, whether your relationship has the strength to flourish into a long-term commitment.
In this series we shall be looking at the five stages of dating as enumerated by Natashia which includes: attraction, reality, commitment, intimacy and finally, engagement.
Attraction is the first stage of dating, and plays a fundamental part in whether the connection can develop into something more. Whether you meet each other naturally whilst out with friends, family, or acquaintances, through a matchmaker or on online dating sites or apps, there has to be an element of attraction between each couple for it to develop into something romantic. Often known as the honeymoon phase, this is the stage at which everything feels very new and exciting and seems almost perfect.
This stage often lasts for the first few months of your courtship and will see constant communication between the couple with lots of messaging back and forth on different channels such as texting, dating sites, social media and WhatsApp as well as long phone calls and video calls in the evenings on the days that you are not together. You will also find that during this period you will go on lots of dates and make time to get to know more about one another before you decide whether to take things to the next level.
Stage two is reality, and it tends to creep up on you slowly and can last for around six months. This signals the end of the honeymoon phase and is the point at which you might start to see flaws in your partner and notice things that annoy you.
This doesn’t mean you no longer like or love each other; it’s just reality and life setting in and you tend to become more aware of your partner after the rush of hormones has subsided. For example, you may find that as you start spending more time together you notice little quirks or habits that you might not have noticed at first.
Unfortunately, it is this second stage where lots of relationships fail. But the good news is, if you make it past this stage this is a good sign of things to come.
Once you get past the reality stage, you enter the commitment phase. At this point, you express a desire to be with each other exclusively and you have grown to not only recognise but accept the flaws that may come with your partner.
This agreement to commit to each other regardless of circumstances also means accepting their dreams, goals, wants and needs in life. This could mean things like deciding where you want to live together, helping them to achieve career goals and discussing plans for the future
Stage four is intimacy and this typically involves nurturing the true love that has been cultivated over the last year or so. Contrary to popular belief, this stage doesn’t just relate to physical intimacy either, it’s also about connecting beyond the superficial.
Once two people have bonded with each other, this is when true love really begins. This stage usually means opening up to one another and really letting your guard down. For the first time in the relationship, you will become vulnerable without holding back, learning about each other’s pasts and deeper feelings and seeing their true character in a new light.
The final stage is engagement and blissful love. This is where you ultimately decide to pledge a lifelong commitment to your partner and take things to the next level. This level of commitment comes with working together to plan a happy and fruitful future with each other.
Even though you have made a commitment, it doesn’t mean that your relationship will be without its ups and downs in the future. The important thing is to learn to apologise and forgive when things go wrong and instead work together as a solid partnership to overcome any challenges that life throws your way.