Long-term relationships are not a smooth sail with a “happily ever after” ending, as most couples imagine. The attraction stage of a relationship is only the beginning, and there is much to follow. You need to go through several difficult phases and tests of time to survive a committed relationship. There are times when you feel confused and frustrated. Being aware of the normal stages of a committed relationship helps you understand what to expect and cope better.
Mills & Boon Romance Stage
This is the start of a love relationship, and one of the best stages of romance. It is a typical "romance novel love," where there is intense attraction between you and your lover. You feel you have found “the one.” She is perfect in your eyes without any flaws, as are you to her. You spend time thinking about her, talking to her and losing yourself in her eyes. You ooze love and affection for each other, and believe that this is how your future is going to be; there certainly are not going to be any fights in your relationship, you are sure. You don’t really put in any hard work toward your relationship at this stage, as love comes easy for both of you and you see only the positive in the other person. This stage lasts from six months to a maximum of two years, and is the shortest phase in a love relationship.
You begin to see each other for what you are, flaws and all. Qualities that were once endearing become unbearable in the light of reality. His personal habits disgust you, you suddenly find him dominating and he has become insensitive to your feelings. You feel betrayed because your partner is not the one you expected him to be. Neither of you is willing to adjust; each wants the other to take the first step. Anger, bitterness and eventually resentment for each other creep into the relationship. Differences in opinions arise, leading to conflicts. The reality confuses and frightens you, and you start thinking of breaking off the relationship.
This is the stage where you analyze your relationship. You are wiser about yourself and your spouse. You now know his real nature and where he falls short. Questions such as “Is he really worth it?” and “Will I be able to adjust, and do I really want to?” emerge. Physical and emotional proximity decreases. This stage can result in a breakup or divorce. You also become most vulnerable to extramarital affairs, as there is a stark need for emotional fulfillment; if indulged, an affair can kill any possible chances of rebuilding the relationship with your spouse.
Your relationship is reborn from the ashes of your past debacle, but you are more mature, and have a different perspective of the relationship. Each of you is aware of the differences between you. You make efforts to compromise where possible, and learn to accept differences that won’t change. You learn to give each other space to maintain your individuality, but create and share moments of happiness as a couple.