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You’ll Go Through These 6 Stages In A Long-Term Relationship

You’ll Go Through These 6 Stages In A Long-Term Relationship

All relationships begin differently. Every couple has their own story. Maybe you were friends for years before you started dating. Or maybe the two of you connected by swiping right on the infamous dating, Tinder. Successful relationships can stem from a number of different instances and they all follow their own particular path. Still, there is a common pattern of stages that almost all long-term relationships follow.

These stages are categorized by the things you’ll say while you’re in them.

Many of them are positive, filled with infatuation and enthusiasm. These stages usually occur at the beginning of a relationship, when you just can’t get enough of each other. The later stages require the most time and attention, whether it’s with your partner or with other people in your life that your relationship has caused you to neglect.

It’s important to acknowledge which stage you’re in (especially during the tougher ones) and to understand that they are all normal.

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1.The “I Told My Friends About You” Stage

As soon as you tell your friends about the girl you’ve been seeing (or hooking up with), and then go back and tell that girl that you told your friends about her, that’s when you know things are getting serious.

This is also known as the infatuation stage, in which you find yourself bringing them up during random conversations. You find yourself wanting to see them on your lunch breaks or at ridiculous hours of the night. This is also the stage when your friends might complain about how you’re spending your time. People in your life will start to miss you, but will hopefully be supportive of your newfound happiness, and wish to be involved.

2.The “I Want You to Meet My Parents” Stage.

Meeting the family is usually a big deal in a relationship. It’s a subconscious way of welcoming that person into our lives and making sure they fit. This stage comes along with a sense of comfort. You’re comfortable enough to introduce them, and know that they will be comfortable enough to be introduced (without feeling freaked out or pressured), to the people who matter to you most.

It also means that you want to seek validation that you’re with the right person. You’re interested in gaining the approval of the people whose opinion you value.  While this stage is often a joyful experience, it can also spark a lot of anxiety for all parties involved. If you’re experiencing stress, it just means that you want it to go well.

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If you’re lucky, and have found the right person, your family and friends will approve and be both loving and supportive.

3. The “I Love You” Stage.

It’s difficult to put a timeframe on this stage since we all experience love differently. It takes some people a lot of time to get there, while others throw the word around carelessly. My suggestion for this stage is to draw it out as long as possible. Don’t drop the “L” bomb the first time you feel it. Waiting to say, “I love you” will only make it mean more when you finally do.

4.The “It Bothers Me When You…” Stage.

For me personally, this stage has always occurred about nine months into the relationship. At this point, you’ve had enough time together to see that, as much as you hoped, your partner isn’t perfect. (Nobody is…not even including you…) It might be the first time they’ve displayed jealous or a lack of patience, or they’ve said something you don’t agree with.

If you find yourself in this predicament, it is absolutely critical that you address it. Right now! Before you go and vent to all your friends about it and self-sabotage the entire relationship. Most concerns, at this point in the game, are minor and only become larger if you ignore them.

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Communication is crucial. You have to realize that, although you work well together, you are still different people. And that’s OK. Can you accept or learn to appreciate these imperfections? If the answer is yes, you should be able to navigate smoothly in and out of this stage into the next one in your relationship.

5. The “What Do You Want?” Stage.

This stage occurs after a year, or multiple years of being together. It’s when you find out if your goals match up. It’s when you start considering moving in together. It’s when you start discussing a future together and deciding if your desires in life coincide.

This the most pivotal stage of a long-term relationship. It will make or break you. Communication and absolute honesty is key when you are addressing the future. This is not the time to sugarcoat or lie about anything. If you do, you’ll likely find yourself unsatisfied in the future.

6.The “I Want That Too” Stage, also known as the “I Still Love You” Stage.

This is the most fulfilling stage of all. If you have reached it, take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.

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Long-term relationships are not easy. Just look at the increase of divorces every year. We are all different, and we live in a time of social media and online dating. Many relationships are destined to fail from the get-go, but long-term relationships are not impossible. Figure out what it is you want out of life, and then find someone who wants the same thing.

Once you’ve found them, learn their imperfections, and if you still love them at the end of the day, don’t let go.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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