Relationship STAGES

You mean I have to wait?

PREVIOUS: Results of abuse (the LL)

These 8 stages show the ‘normal’ progression for people to move from stranger to long-term partners, & apply to all types of relationships.

NOTE: The columns are not about ROMANTIC connections (as developed in Stage 6), which is given below the chart

Stages 1 & 2 are the ones most people fall into – in relation to each of us. They have to do with the people we pass every day & barely notice

#2 thru 5 are the stages we should go thru to form any connection, regardless of gender or sexual interest.  This can take anywhere from a year, to 4 or 5 ys, depending on how often you communicate, actually see each other & each person’s level of emotional availability

#6 should come after some of the other steps have been worked thru, but with sex added in, steps 2-5 usually come later, if there’s enough to hold our interest. Those stages should still be given lots of time

#7  As we becomes more aware of others (moving further down the continuum), the more of ourself comes onto play. This level of commitment needs to be the result of other steps, rather than the beginning – like how ACoAs do it!

#8 If the other stages have been worked thru as honestly as we can, this one will be a mostly functional & happy one, because we’ve done our due-diligence, picking a more suitable partner & being less reactive ourselves.


1. “HONEYMOON”  (2 mths – 2 yrs.) When we idealize the other person. It’s wrapped in an air of excitement & optimism, when anything seems possible

2. POWER STRUGGLE – The couple begins to see the differences between them & notice things they don’t have in common. This is when people can easily pull apart, even divorce

3. STABILITY – This is available if the power struggles (“Who’s in Charge?”) can be resolved amicably & fairly, so neither partner is the underdog

4. COMMITMENT – If marriage has not already occurred, it’s likely to occur at this stage. Partners know each other well, & realize they don’t ne-e-e-d each other, but want to be together

5. CO-CREATION – When partners move out into the world, from having children to participating in joint business or other kinds of ventures.  (MORE….)

NEXT: Relationship CONTINUUM chart

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