Why You Need To Know Which 'Love Stage' You're In So You Can Have A Healthy Relationship
Article by Linda and Charlie Bloom
Thankfully, however, your love stages will grow and change with you. But
What's your love like?
There are different parts or "relationship stages" starting from the time you first meet to when you fall in love, and even after you've been together for a while in a long-term, committed partnership or marriage.
And as you grow together and change, your needs and expectations within each love stage will change as well.
The stages of a relationship, or the stages of "like" — how you feel about your partner — are different the longer you've been together. After all, you can't feel that same infatuation you first felt when you met each other.
how can you tell which relationship stage you're in, and what your relationship needs?
The path of a committed relationship is challenging and rewarding. It helps to have a "map" of the terrain so that you can find your way. The emotional topography of this territory includes deep and passionate longings and fears.
To travel through it, you can practice qualities such as patience, diligence, compassion, trust, strength, and integrity. Your journey may begin in the fire of infatuation, but then you learn to negotiate the challenge of commitment.
If you don’t get lost along the way, you ultimately arrive at a co-creative partnership.
There are a series of stages in relationship. They are infatuation, disillusionment, commitment, power struggle, individuation, intimacy, and co-creativity. Each stage has a corresponding archetypal name.
Carl Jung coined the term "archetypes" and described them as deep patterns in the human psyche that remain powerful and present over time.
The archetypal names corresponding to these stages are: Innocent, orphan, caregiver, warrior, wanderer, lover, and magician.
You're required to complete certain tasks in each stage before you can go ahead to the next. Identifying each of these seven stages and mastering the challenges of all of them will help you to become a whole, actualized human being.
When you find yourself confused, you may think it's your partner, or that you're not cut out for a relationship or that you're inadequate in some way.
The truth is that you're attempting to traverse unknown territory without a map. A map can make the journey of relationship easier and more enjoyable. You can choose to make your journey together a heroic one.
Holding the vision of the two delightful latter stages, intimacy and co-creativity can give you motivation to keep going when the journey becomes difficult.
Here are some relationship stages and what they're like so you can understand what love stage you and your partner are in.
Movement from one stage to another is not linear, like moving from elementary school to middle school to high school. The movement goes in a circular fashion.
You move around to another stage and master tasks in that stage for a time then move on to a different stage. When you find yourself circling back to do more work in a previous stage, you may become disheartened and feel that you haven’t learned a thing; but this is rarely true.
You have done work in the stage that is important and significant, and have returned to that stage to do a deeper level of work.
All relationships begin with the stage of infatuation. The archetypal name for this stage is innocence. A blissful romantic glow surrounds everything. You have the most incredible feelings of well-being that come with falling in love.
You are overwhelmed with the joy of discovery and flooded with relief that you have finally found “the one.” You trust yourself and others, and allow yourself to merge with your partner and experience a sense of oneness.
You feel the protection you felt as a small child and are assured that you're loved. You have found what you have been secretly dreaming all of your life.
You don't know each other very well yet, so you fill in the blanks with your imagination and project your fantasies onto each other. Infatuation can last for hours, days, weeks, months, even years, but eventually, you must face reality.
The challenge of the infatuation stage is to accept the ephemeral quality of all experience. It is difficult to face that you can’t hold onto this innocent joy and happiness indefinitely.
For the relationship to grow, you must develop a more realistic assessment of each other
Movement into this stage can come gradually or abruptly. In this stage of disillusionment, the archetype is the Orphan. The lonely orphan feels abandoned, hopeless, dispirited, and longs for safety.
It is hard for her to trust after being betrayed. Someone wounded in relationships can become bitter and closed in this stage and not move out of it.
At times, you remain in a relationship, but keep your heart guarded, living your life untrusting, protecting yourself from pain. There are many rationalizations for getting stuck in this stance, but they all revolve around some variation of the theme: “Relationships are too dangerous for me. I must protect myself from getting hurt.”
To move through this stage you need to find the courage to not be paralyzed by fear. When you find hope, you are able to reach out to ask for help and risk trusting again.
It requires high levels of consciousness to see that the demons you project onto others are really your own. After being hurt, it is challenging to practice forgiveness and take your projections back.
To be able to do this requires strength and responsibility.
Once you complete the disillusionment stage and now have a keen awareness of your partner’s imperfections, the level of commitment you put into the relationship can be much greater.
You no longer see the person you are with illusion, hopes, and dreams clouding your understanding. In this stage, you learn to sacrifice in a noble way. You learn to commit yourself to something larger than your own concerns about comfort and security.
The caregiver is the archetypal name for the commitment stage. You may make personal vows to attain a deeper level of involvement with your partner, or you may make formal, public vows as in a marriage ceremony. The relationship deepens as the commitment becomes stronger, and you become more loving human beings.
In this stage, you practice the skills of staying present, of being willing to be open, and of taking on the shared responsibility of nurturing the relationship.
The new tasks are to become a more generous person and learn to sacrifice for the sake of something bigger than your own personal desires.
The challenge here is to develop the courage to stay present in the face of difficulty rather than bolting either physically, or emotionally. Here you practice giving with your whole heart, not holding back, but participating fully in the relationship.
You'll learn about the paradox of the freedom of commitment that leads to your experiencing yourself as one interdependent system with your partner as you grow in your love stage.
The question here is are the other person on the same page as you?