In the beginning of a relationship, it's not unusual to feel high on infatuation. However, as much as you would like to hold on to the feelings of euphoria and excitement that occur during the early phase of a relationship, the reality is that they won't last forever. Much like other parts of life, relationships go through stages -- ups and downs. It’s important to know what to expect so you know what’s normal in your relationship.
The Smitten Stage
The thrill of a new relationship comes with rapid heartbeats, often endless thoughts about your new love interest and the constant need to be around him. This is commonly referred to as the “honeymoon phase,” where you cannot get enough of your partner, notes Dr. Marty Tashman in an article for the Family & Marriage Counseling Directory website. The highs we feel when in love give us the same feeling as using cocaine, according to meta-analysis study conducted by Syracuse University and discussed in a 2010 article on the university website. At this early stage in the relationship, you might believe that your partner can’t do much wrong, while you exaggerate his good qualities in your mind.
After the honeymoon phase begins to fade, reality starts to settle in. When you come down from your love-high, you begin to notice your partner’s flaws and annoying habits. It is during this stage that you learn more about who your partner really is and begin to notice the differences between the two of you. You learn what makes her angry, how to communicate with her and how to solve problems that arise.
Once you accept your partner’s shortcomings and experience challenges in the relationship, you enter into a comfortable stage in the relationship. This is when everyday life starts to get in the way and excitement in the relationship starts to dwindle, according to an article on the Psych Central website. You don’t experience the same thrill at the sight of your partner, but he becomes a normal part of your everyday life. To keep the relationship fresh at this point, you might want to do something new together like taking a cooking class, learning to tango, or planning an adventurous date or even weekend.
Rekindling and Rebirth
After going through the ups and downs of the relationship, you typically come to a stage where you remember why you fell in love with your partner, notes the Psych Central website. A variety of reasons, negative or positive, can trigger this phase. For example, an argument that made you both consider ending the relationship, might cause you to realize how much you need your partner, or an exciting time in your relationship might remind you why you enjoy her company. Whatever happens, at this stage, you realize that you appreciate your partner, love her, and really want to be with her.
True love typically happens around the fifth year of being together, according to the Psych Central website. After that, the relationship cycles through the stages again. However, keep in mind that the stages don’t always happen in order. The stages might also happen faster or slower than they did the first time around.