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There Are 5 Stages Of Love, But Sadly Many Couples Stop At Stage 3

There Are 5 Stages Of Love, But Sadly Many Couples Stop At Stage 3

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” – Audrey Hepburn

Ahh, love. It makes the world go around. It has inspired many poems, the most-read genre of books, and movies that make you grab a box of tissues. Nothing in life can compare to finding love. And when you locate that perfect partner, you plan to hold on tight forever. Till death do you part. So why do 40-50% of marriages end in divorce [1]? Couples tend to end their relationships when they become disillusioned, not realizing it is simply one of many steps to a deeper, truer love.

The 5 Stages of Love

There are 5 stages of love that all relationships will eventually experience. Knowing this in advance can save you future heartache and problems.  It also can provide you with hope that the situation you find yourself in will pass. If you face adversity together and hang on, life will get better. You will become closer and love will endure.

Stage 1: Passion and playfulness

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    You meet the man of your dreams. He’s cute, fun and downright sexy. He’s filled your waking thoughts. You can’t think straight and getting a text from him will make your heart flutter. You are falling fast.

    In this first stage of love, your hormones run the show. You flirt, get butterflies in your stomach and heart, toss your hair back often and laugh a lot more. Falling in love makes you glow. Full of playfulness and passion, stage one of love, often called the honeymoon stage, tends to be everyone’s favorite because it’s fun.

    Stage 2: Getting serious

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      Enter stage two. You still make a great couple. You hold hands in the park and cuddle up together to watch a movie, but something has changed. You’ve moved in together, maybe even got married and invested in a house. There might be a new baby in the picture or one on the way. The craziness of that honeymoon phase has calmed down.

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      You still have sex, but it’s more loving, more meaningful. And probably more rushed if you have a child. But now there are bills to worry about. Rent. Babysitters. Adult- stuff. That fun time has run its course and your relationship has entered the serious zone.

      Stage 3: What happened?

      Life seems to have rushed by and left you somewhere in the dust. You have friends living in Bali, others attending fun after-work parties and you are stuck going home each night to clean up a house, do laundry and make dinner that no one seems to appreciate. You feel as if your partner takes you for granted. What happened to those cuddles on the couch? And the last time he held your hand was to show you the mess the kids made in the bathroom. Stage three makes you seriously wonder if you lost that loving feeling!

      What happened? Did you fall out of love? Most couples begin to feel resentment towards their partners at this stage in their relationship. They wonder what they missed in life had they stayed single, and wonder if being single would be a better place to be.

      By this point, all illusions have been stripped away. You find yourself arguing more. The bills may be piling up, and kids proving to be a challenge. Romance seems like work and you can’t be bothered to squeeze in the time. You just want it to end. And most people do just that, end their relationship.

      Stage 4: Climbing down from the pedestal

      If you’ve stuck it out through the tough times of stage three, you will be rewarded. You and your partner have fallen from the pedestals that you placed each other on. You become real people, not gods descended from Mount Olympus. All veils are stripped away. You acknowledge that your partner has dreams and also problems, just like you. Stage three let you see the frustrations in your relationship. Stage four allows you to accept them and work through them.

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      You and your partner can face life and battle adversity as a team. You have reached the stage of real love, not love held up on romance and passion or stuck together because of a child, but love based on mutual understanding and acceptance of each other.

      Stage 5: Working together as a team

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        Now that you’ve both embraced each other’s weaknesses and faults along with strengths and desires, you can combine forces and make the world a better place.

        What social issues are you both passionate about? Do you both believe in healthy food choices? Get involved in a CSA co-op and help out on an organic farm or making farm fresh produce deliveries to people who can’t get out. Love the arts? Join a local cultural club or start a project or take a class together. Collaborate on an e-book. Volunteer at a national park.

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        As the old saying goes: “couples who play together, stay together.” By all means, keep your separate hobbies, but find a common ground and make it a project to work on together.

        Don’t let your relationship become a statistic. When you arm yourself about the stages of love, it will help you get through those tough times to reach the other side. Love can be beautiful, but it is far from perfect. Nothing worth having comes easy. Hang on and love will endure.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pixabay.com

        Reference

        [1] American Psychological Association: Research on Marriage and Divorce

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        Sally White

        writer, artist & blogger

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        Last Updated on February 21, 2019

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

        In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

        Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

        Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

        Conflicts are literally everywhere.

        Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

        Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

        Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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        Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

        Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

        Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

        The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

        Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

        Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

        How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

        Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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        Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

        Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

        How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

        Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

        Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

        Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

        How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

        Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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        Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

        Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

        How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

        Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

        Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

        Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

        How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

        Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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        Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

        Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

        How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

        Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

        Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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