lessons from the five stages of relationship22 Sep 2016
this blog post is effectively a paraphrase of the brilliance in this point on love at first fight by bruce muzik.
there are five phases/stages in all romantic relationships. this may apply to even non-romantic relationships, but i haven’t thought that out really. the five phases are:
- power struggle
the best way to get a full run-down of each stage is in bruce’s post. in this post i just want to highlight some of the takeaways that resonated with me the most.
the romance phase
- the romance phase is effectively the only phase you can observe in popular media. most romance movies that i’ve seen barely make it through the romance phase. and even if they do, it’s a pretty superficial progression.
- the feelings experienced during the romance phase are great AND strategic. your body literally produces chemicals that make you ignore the parts of someone that would normally repel you. i believe this is an evolutionary tactic designed to help us form close bonds for the purpose of creating and raising children. however, our societies are changing much faster than our physiology can and so our bodies still do things that our society has evolved past… (there are many implications of this, but that’s for another time).
the power struggle phase
- most relationships in the us end in the power struggle. muzik calls this phase the love hangover. basically, all the chemicals have worn off and we start to recognize that the person we fell in love with doesn’t exist. once that sets in, we start doing all sorts of crazy things that don’t make sense. if we’re unable to recognize what’s happening, we tend to end things. either because we’ve hurt each other enough to make it not worth it or because we realize that what we thought we had, we didn’t actually ever have.
the co-creation phase
- almost every relationship mentor i’ve ever had was in the co-creation stage. in this stage, a partnership ceases to be inwardly directed and becomes outwardly directed. this doesn’t mean there isn’t energy spent inwardly (date night, communication, mutual appreciation and support, physical attention, etc.). what it means is that the purpose of those things is to allow the individuals and the couple as a unit to be loving outwardly as well as inwardly.
- the phases aren’t always linear. sometimes couples cycle back to the power struggle phase repeatedly. other times, life changes (adding kids, losing kids, job changes, location changes, parent care-taking, whatever) can push a couple into a different phase. having a shared language and consciousness of the phases, where you are, where you’ve been, and how to move towards the co-creation phase is super important.
ok. that’s all i got.
if this stuff is interesting, really really check out the original post from which i learned most of these lessons.