While every relationship is different, they all tend to go through similar stages. There are five common stages of romantic relationships: romance, power struggle, stability, commitment, and bliss.
Also known as the honeymoon phase, the romance stage is the first stage of any relationship and it is characterized by infatuation. It’s a foolish type of love that lets us overlook the flaws of our partner or the relationship. It is common for people to hide parts of their true self out of fear of rejection by their partner.
During the power struggle phase, the honeymoon feeling has worn off and those flaws you overlooked start to come into view. You’re more likely to argue as you get to know each other’s true selves. This can lead to people pulling away from the relationship or become very clingy for fear of losing their partner. This is definitely the toughest phase, and many couples will break up or divorce if they can’t find a way to compromise or argue constructively.
If you make it through the power struggle phase, you’ll hit the stability phase, which is characterized by mutual respect and an acceptance of your partner and relationship as real and flawed. All of that acceptance leads to the commitment phase. You love each other no matter what! You’re willing to work through tough times because you appreciate what you have.
The final stage is bliss, also known as the co-creation stage. You’re comfortable, a team, and ready to focus on things together outside of the relationship. It typically involves a project that targets a specific cause or giving back to the community. You’re happy together, so you share that happiness with others!
So, knowing all of the relationship stages, there are important questions to ask along the way. Here are some you should be asking at each stage:
The romance stage is all about finding out if you’re on the same page:
- Do you see yourself in a long-term monogamous relationship?
- Do you see yourself getting married one day?
- Are you interested in having children?
During the power struggle stage, here’s how to know if your partner is willing to fight for the relationship:
- Are you willing to sacrifice certain things to save the relationship?
- Are you willing to compromise in order to move past your problems as a couple?
- Are you willing to be in a relationship after the fun, easy romance stage?
If you and your partner are not able to fight in a healthy way or are not able to let go of things from the past, your relationship will not survive this phase.
It is easy to get stuck in the stability phase of a relationship, which can often lead to boredom. To avoid this, you need to know that your partner is committed to evolution. Ask your partner:
- Are you willing to keep getting outside of your comfort zone?
- Do you want to continue to have new experiences together?
During the commitment stage, ask your partner:
- How do they plan to maintain your emotional connection to one another?
- How do they plan to continue to grow as an individual?
Having open discussions about how you will keep the relationship alive and fresh is a super important part of a mature relationship.
During the bliss stage, it’s important to ensure that you and your partner are on the same page about continued growth. Asking them things like:
- How will we continue to grow together?
- What are things we can do together for the rest of our lives?
- How do we avoid growing apart?
Remember, staying honest and open about your feelings and needs in the relationship will help you stay committed and excited about being together. These questions will help keep the communication flowing and on track to a healthy, long-lasting relationship.