Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Stages of Luuuuurrrrvveee

"Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love."
- Leo Tolstoy

Ah, Valentine's Day...
I do love a day where you can call people Shmoopie Pie and Honeycrumb Cupcake Blossom and not be judged for it.

Me and my valentine have not seen each other all day, but in about an hour or so we get to hang out in our pj's and be lazy, which is the very best way to celebrate after a long day!

 Valentine's Day should ALWAYS be on a Saturday in my opinion. None of this middle-of-the-week business. Even if it totally undermines the historical significance of the holiday.

I am someone who loves to know the inner workings of just about everything, especially when it comes to humans and all the things we do.

So naturally, one of my favorite topics to research (because I'm never content to just experience things...research is completely necessary) is love.

I spent years actually convinced it didn't exist. I loved my family, I loved my friends, but love love?

Nah. That's the stuff of Hollywood romance fairies.

But after researching, (and okay, actually falling in love), I know that it's a legit thing and I can stop trying to disprove it.

That's always the way, isn't it? The universe loves proving us wrong.

Something I have recently enjoyed looking into are the five phases that romantic relationships pass through.

There are a few good articles on it, but I particularly like this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The article is worth a read, but to some it up in about a paragraph each, it states that romantic relationships naturally progress through five stages:

1. Courtship and Infatuation

"This phase of enchantment involves plenty of laughter, playfulness, sexual energy and excitement. Everything about the other person is interesting, and there is a desire to reveal as much as possible about one's self. Most experts agree that this phase generally lasts anywhere from two months to two years, and is the shortest-lived of any of the stages of a committed relationship."

2. The Power Struggle

"...this early conflict is healthy and perhaps even necessary as both parties are instinctively jockeying for position in the new status quo, and it helps the couple separate a bit from the over-connectedness of courtship. This is when couples must learn the skills to be able to solve problems, listen to each other, negotiate and resolve conflict. The main goal is to build trust. Many couples never move beyond this stage, and many divorces occur at this point."

3. Re-evaluation and Identity Formation

"'This is the famous 'U' chart of marital satisfaction...For marriages that last, the satisfaction starts high, drops to low as the power struggle starts. It stays low...and rises again in the later part, usually after the children are out of the home.' There is a danger of entering a relationship 'dead zone' at this point, where a person becomes bored with their partner and life, in general. They may bury themselves in work or a hobby. The feeling of connection is greatly diminished."

4. Awareness, transformation, synergy

"If the relationship has survived until this point, there is an interest in reconnecting. Each partner must realize his or her own fear of intimacy, and how present behavior is shaped and influenced by what he or she learned and experienced as children in their family of origin. They begin to see their own projections and distortions upon the other person. The war is over, and there is a desire to begin the work needed to build peace and understanding. There is a desire and willingness to learn how to work through conflicts and issues to achieve a satisfying resolution."

5. Reconciliation, Acceptance

"Research suggests less than 5 percent of couples make it to this final stage of completion. Each person is able to take responsibility for their needs and also support the other person. There is a great deal of warmth, mutual respect and a balance between autonomy and union. The couple has figured out how to resolve conflicts quickly. They work together as a team, and resentments are few. They have chosen to be with their partner, flaws and all."


So what do you think?

Do you believe all relationships go through these phases? 
Have you seen it or experienced it yourself? 

Not the most uplifting of all Valentine's Day posts, but I find it totally fascinating!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you found someone who makes you believe in LOVE love :) And those are some interesting articles!


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