Jeannine Lee Mar 30, 2021

The Romantic Stage

Are you ready to learn more about the stages of a relationship? Spring is just around the corner. Sap will be rising. Romance will be in the air. It’s good to know these for whenever the moment strikes.

The Romantic Stage is the first of the five relationship stages.

It is not only the first in the list, it is also the most rewarding, the one most sought after. Of all the relationship stages, this is the most familiar culturally. We like this one. It feels good.

All relationships begin with this stage, including friendships, with a new baby, and even on a new job. It is characterized by its dream-like qualities, fantasies, hopes for future possibilities, and the asking of “what if.” Everything is wonderful, beautiful, fun and exciting. It may seem like the fulfillment of long-held hopes and dreams.

The need during this stage is love and belonging.

The relationship is viewed through rose-colored glasses or likened to looking into an off-focus camera lens where all is softened and romantic. Details are obscure and specifics are not discussed. In the romantic stage, the couple focuses on similarities and they do things to please each other. Differences may endanger the connection so they are denied. The perceived dream is so precious that each will do anything to get along. The emphasis is on how well the two fit together and they may soon they look like they’re glued together at the hip.

The Romantic stage is a lot like the bonding between mother and baby.

They stare into each other’s eyes. The rest of the world disappears. They are riveted in the longing for each other. The hormones involved in the romantic stage are powerful and purposeful – designed to cause you to fall in love with an imperfect person, and provide enough of a connection to navigate the conflict/separateness stage that comes next. 

The romantic stage allows you to take chances and risks while still feeling loved and safe.

One of the greatest benefits of the romantic stage is that the Inner Critic is virtually non-existent. With a beloved actively telling you how wonderful you are the words of the Inner Critic just don’t stick. Paradoxically real love cannot begin at this stage so one must fall out of love to learn to love. The Romantic Stage is time limited but does important work. It allows for the building of a foundation for the relationship to feel grounded upon when facing the inevitable challenges ahead.

This stage lasts, on average, two months to two years.

Many people assume that they have selected the wrong partner when the hormones of romance fall away. Not true. Hang in there. Romancing takes up a lot of energy with all the courting and pretensions and trying to maintain the connection. Eventually one or the other of the partners begins to tire of what has begun to feel like a charade. Melding at the hip becomes uncomfortable. When the cost to your individuality becomes too great you try to change the other person. You are, of course, met with resistance and when you insist, there is a fight. This is the beginning of the next stage—the power struggle, which we will talk about next time.

As you learn about these stages, you might want to write down thoughts or remembered experiences. That will help you ground the stages in your understanding. 

Until next time…