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The Beginning Phases of a Relationship

by Shannon Philpott, studioD

New love can be exciting and anxiety-ridden as your emotions and hormones seem to be on a roller coaster ride. The beginning phases of a relationship can pave the way to a successful, long-term relationship if you are willing to build healthy patterns, according to the University of Texas’ Counseling and Mental Health Center. Learning to recognize the beginning phases of a relationship and how couples act and react to each other can provide the understanding needed to build a solid foundation for a healthy, happy relationship. The more equality and respect in relationships, the more peaceful life will be for all, states Jennie S. Bev in the PsychCentral article titled, "Social Power and Stages of Relationship."

Infatuating Hormones

When beginning a new relationship, it’s common for couples to feel anxiety coupled with euphoria. In fact, at first, when you fall in love, you can feel needy, insecure and obsessed, according to Deborah Khoshaba in the Psychology Today article, "The Early Stages of Falling in Love." As you cope with the increased adrenaline and phenylethylamine, you may even feel as if you are in emotional overdrive. Many couples often welcome the intrusion of a new relationship, even though it can consume your time, energy and focus. You may wake up and go to sleep feeling obsessed about the relationship, according to Khoshaba. The infatuation is often thrilling, exciting and frustrating at the same time, as you struggle to balance work, responsibilities and a new relationship.

Building Blocks

As the newness wears down and you begin to feel more secure with yourself and your mate, the relationship is undergoing a stage of building. During this stage or phase of the relationship, both of you are focused on respectful and appreciative behavior. From kind words to proper etiquette, couples often go above and beyond to behave in a respectful manner toward one another. During this stage of mutual interest, both parties are curious about each other and working to portray positive energy through polite behavior and acts of kindness to make the best impression and to avoid offending or scaring away their mate, according to Bev. This phase features moments of intimacy wherein many couples get lost in the excitement and anticipation of the future with each other, according to Andy Puddicombe in the Psychology Today article, "Mindfulness and the Phases of a Relationship."

Exploring Interests

Early in a relationship, both you and your mate are focused on getting to know each other's interests. Discussions about jobs, family, hobbies and likes and dislikes are bound to happen. This is the opportunity to try new things together to get to know each other better and expand your mutual interests. If you enjoy nature, show your new mate your favorite trails. If he enjoys classic movies, plan a movie night. As you observe each other participating in hobbies and activities, you will learn more about each other's personalities. While exploring interests you may also experience a power struggle with your mate, according to Bev. During this stage, couples explore the power shift within the relationship, which could spark disagreements. Negotiation, bargaining and compromises help to mend any arguments that occur, according to Bev.

Tackling Differences

The more you learn about your partner, the more you may recognize differences. During this phase of the relationship, your infatuation with each other may still exist, but it will be difficult to ignore distinctions between your personalities. From cultural, religious or economic disparities to views on time together, family values and influences of friends, this is a critical phase for you and your mate. At this point, the honeymoon phase has ended and red flags, such as quirks, unexpected behavior and differences of opinion on values and beliefs may have you doubting the relationship or contemplating how to work together, according to Bev. With positive energy and discussions about wants, needs, goals and dreams, couples can successfully move from this phase with resolutions and plans for the future. Work on reaching compromises and at times, agreeing to disagree.

About the Author

Shannon Philpott has been a writer since 1999. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and online copywriter. Philpott has published articles in St. Louis metro newspapers, "Woman's World" magazine, "CollegeBound Teen" magazine and on e-commerce websites, and also teaches college journalism and English. She holds a Master of Arts in English from Southern Illinois University.

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