The Stages of a Romantic Relationship

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Relationships are never static. All of us experience changes in relationships, but few of us try to analyze why arelationship gets better or worse. Most divorced singles did not enter into marriage with a goal of divorcing.
In fact, most of them were extremely happy when they married. They would have characterized their marital relationship as positive, loving, and affirming. Obviously something happened to the relationship.

By the time they divorce they are saying such things as, “My spouse is unloving and self centered. With thousands of marriages ending in divorce every year, isn’t it time to stop and ask why? Why do good marriage go bad? Why do people become single again?
As a marriage counselor, I am convinced that the answer lies in the misunderstanding that most people have about the nature of love.Western society is largely addicted to romantic love. Ifyou doubt that, listen to our songs, watch our movies, and check the sales statistics on romance novels. On the other hand, we’re very ignorant of the facts about love.

We have bought into the concept that love is something that happens to you. It is magical, obsessive, and extremely exhilarating. If you have it, you have it; and if you don’t,you don’t, and there is nothing you can do about it.
While this description of love can be fairly accurate, it only describes the first stage of a romantic relationship. It certainly does not describe the second and more important stage of romantic love. Let’s look at these two stages of a relationship.

STAGE ONE: THE OBSESSIVE STAGE OF LOVE

Did you know there has been extensive scientific research done on the “in love,” obsessive stage of love? Its conclude that the average lifespan of this stage of love is two years.
During this stage of love, we live under the illusion that the person with whom we are in love is perfect … at least, perfect for us. Our friends can see his or her flaws, but we cannot.

Your mother may say, “Honey, have you considered that he hasn’t had a steady job in five years?” Your response may be, “Mom, give him some time, He’s waiting for the right opportunity.” Your coworker may say, “Have you considered that she’s been married four times before?” to which you respond, “Those guys were all losers before.The woman deserves to be happy. I’m going to make her happy.”

During this initial stage of love, we have other irrational thoughts, such as, “I’ll never be happy unless we are together forever. Nothing else in life really matters.” Such thinking often leads a student to drop out of college and marry his or her lover, or to start living together even though they are not married.

In this stage of love, differences are minimized or denied. We just know that we are happy, that we have never been happier, and we intend to be this happy for the rest of our lives. This stage of love does not require a lot of effort.

It is in this obsessed stage of love that most people get married, and others start living together. The whole relationship has been effortless. We have been swept along by the heightened emotions of the “in love” obsession. ITS NOT ENOUGH TO JUST BE IN LOVE”.

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