Phases of a Relationship

Payton Kramer

By Payton Kramer

Est. Reading Time: 14 Mins

Phases of a Relationship

If you’ve been in a relationship before, especially in a longer relationship, you probably have an idea of what the phases of a relationship are and what they entail. However, if you’re new to relationships, it’s something you want to know more about. Below you’ll find all the information about the five main phases of a relationship.

Phases of Dating

Before jumping into any relationship, you usually go on a good amount of dates with that person. Just like there are phases in a relationship, there are also important dating phases you should be aware of.

1. Initial attraction.

In this first phase of dating, you experience the very first attraction to that person. It’s when they’ve caught your eye and somehow have managed to captivate most of your attention as well. This isn’t a very deep attraction, but it’s enough to open the possibility of dating this person.

2. Deeper interest.

In this second phase of dating, you’re getting to know this person, you may have seen them a couple of times now, and you’re developing a deeper interest in them. You want to get to know them even more and look forward to doing so.

3. Weighing your options.

If you experienced the first two phases, you’ve likely been on at least 3-5 dates with this person by now, and you’ve gotten to the third phase, which is where you start weighing your options. You’ve given this person a chance, and you’ve got the opportunity to get to know them well enough to figure out if you want to try to exclusively date them or not.

4. Final decision.

If you make it past all of these phases while dating, the next one you face will be making the final decision about whether or not you want to be with this person and take on something more serious. If you don’t make it past all these phases, you’ll eventually go through this process with someone else.

Phases of a Relationship

Thinking about the different phases in a relationship.
Different phases in a relationship.

There are lots of different phases in a relationship, but these are the ones that are most important and that you should be aware of.

1. Attraction and romance.

This first phase in a relationship is similar to the first phase you go through when you’re initially dating someone. It’s this feeling of immense attraction when you’re finally in a relationship with someone you liked so much while dating them. This is also when there is the most romance between the two of you because you are happy to start something with them.

  • Happens when you become more serious. You may experience this phase a little bit before officially being in a relationship with them. It can happen when you transition from casually dating each other to exclusively dating each other, as well as when you’ve begun your relationship.
  • Lasts about one and two years. The length of this phase truly depends on how fast you move in your relationship. The faster you move, the shorter this phase is. There is no right or wrong way for this phase to happen. It can be different for every relationship.

2. End of the honeymoon phase.

The first phase can otherwise be known as the honeymoon phase, and this second phase is when that honeymoon phase is over. The initial attraction and infatuation have settled in, and you’re exploring more in your relationship. This doesn’t mean you’re bored of them, just that they’re not a new addition to your life anymore.

This phase may take longer for couples who don’t see each other often and those who don’t talk a lot throughout the day because they don’t spend enough time together to be done with the first phase of a relationship.

  • You’ve now gotten used to them being in your life. You’re experiencing this phase because you’ve settled into your relationship and are used to having them in your life now.
  • You might appreciate them less. Some couples might experience this issue of lack of appreciation. Because they feel safe in their relationship, they might not be as appreciative of their significant other as they once were. Be careful, and try to avoid this as best you can to avoid bigger issues.
  • Happens once you feel comfortable with them. Again, depending on how fast you move in your relationship, it may have only been a couple of months, or maybe it’s been a couple of years, but you now feel very comfortable with them, and you wouldn’t be easily embarrassed about something around them.

3. Disillusionment and uncertainty.

Now that you’ve gotten really comfortable with your partner, and you’ve been with them for some time, you may realize that you’re starting to get easily annoyed with them, you’re facing more issues in your relationship, and you’re thinking about whether or not you want to continue pursuing a relationship with them.

  • A make-it or break-it time in the relationship. This is when you decide if you will push through the uncertainty and hard times and allow the relationship to survive, or if you’re not up for the challenges that being in a relationship comes with and break up. It’s difficult to go through this phase of the relationship, and it can be very confusing because you have a lot of love for this person.
  • You start noticing all of their flaws. You may not be looking for them, but inevitably their flaws start sticking out to you because you see things for what they really are now.

Tip: The trick to surviving this phase is to remember that despite having issues and noticing your partner has flaws, there are also really great things about this person that most likely outweigh the more negative things you’ve been noticing recently.

4. Stability.

If you make it past phase three, which is usually the hardest phase to go through, then you make it to one of the most reassuring phases, which is the stability phase.

  • You know how to argue properly. Once you’re in the stability phase, it’s because you know how to navigate an argument properly and how to argue to find a solution and not just to create a bigger problem.
  • You understand how to navigate the relationship. Not only do you know how to navigate arguments, but the relationship in general. When something is wrong, when you don’t like how something is going, or other issues may arise in the relationship, you know how to get through them.
  • You’ve accepted your partner completely. You know they’re not perfect, you’re aware of their flaws and things they may have to work on, and you accept all of it because you love them for who they are.

Tip: Although stability is nice, remember to be careful not to get too comfortable in the relationship and fall into a boring pattern with one another, or stop trying in the relationship because you feel like nothing can go wrong.

5. Life building.

For most, this is the best phase and the one they wait for the most. It’s the phase in a relationship where you’ve gone through all the ups and downs, yet you’re certain this is the person you want to build a life with.

  • You have a future in mind. You envision a future with them, whatever that looks like for you and your partner, you’re certain you want a future with them, and you can envision it. 
  • You’re talking about the next step in the relationship. You’re excited to pursue that next step in the relationship, which depending on how fast you have been going, may look different for different people. It could mean moving in together, getting married, or starting a family. 

Surviving Disillusionment and Uncertainty

Disillusionment in a relationship.
How to handle disillusionment in a relationship.

Since the third phase is the most difficult to overcome, here are some things you should know in case you don’t make it past that phase.

  • Resolving your issues. If things aren’t working out and you’re not making it past this phase, you might need to take a moment to yourself away from your partner to figure out what your problems are so you can attempt to resolve your issues. 
  • Trying again. If you break up during this phase, you can always try again at another time. This isn’t the best idea for everyone, but sometimes after discussing things, if you’re able to identify the problem, it could be worth it to give it another opportunity. 
  • Understanding not everything can work out. Although many times you hope that there is a solution and that it works out, sometimes you have to accept that that may not be the case, and that’s okay too.

There are lots of phases you go through with a person, even before you’re in a relationship, like when you’re first dating them. The most important phases are really the relationship phases because they will determine what’s in store for your relationship as you go through them.

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