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

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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