Ah, love. It is a really simple four letter word which brings with it highly complex bundle of emotions to torture the peaceful mind and soul of every person. These emotions are associated with the various stages of love (sometimes known as psychological torture to those who have had bitter experiences of it). These stages have been the sole concern of many people, throughout the existence of humanity. It would be a safe estimate to say that love has touched everybody alive in history at some point and in some way, even if they don’t necessarily show it or even recognise it themselves. It has been celebrated by authors and poets; it has inspired storytellers well enough that they have made a whole new genre dedicated to love in movies and books.
A school kid, a college student or a man in his late 30s, all of them go through the same stages of love, which make or tear the couples. Most of them are definitely wondering when will these stages lead me to my ultimate goal of spending the rest of my life with her or when will the discomfort and disagreements in our relationship come to an end? Well, just like our life, love is also filled with highs and lows. Just make sure that you’re dedicated enough to ride the ride and not give up. Remember, there’s always sunshine after the rain.
Here are the 10 stages of love every human goes through:
1. Love At First Sight
You’re walking around the college, office, or randomly in the park. When suddenly, you look up and find this really attractive man or lady coming your way. She doesn’t notice you, but you end up noticing every single little thing about him or her, like the way he/she runs their hand through their hair, how they smile while talking, how this sneaky little dimple of theirs appears every time they give their signature lopsided grin, tight their jeans or tee is, and even the colour of their eyes. You end up visiting the same spot where you had last seen him or her, just to get a glance of their angelic face again, and again, and again, until they notice you and smile back. *BOOM* that leads to you both finally talking to each other.
2. That Big Blush
Our evolution and nature itself has designed this phase so that we’re predisposed towards making our partners feel the same way as we do (if they don’t feel so already). This stage is where you work your mind out trying to plot the perfect date (or ‘lunch’ as you must’ve informed him/her). You make sure that you’ve the right perfume sprayed on, the right outfit picked out and your hair and breath, both smell great too. You try to make sure all your moves are right and respectful and you don’t look like a fool. Once you realize that he/she is falling for you, your ‘lunch’ turns into a romantic candle-light dinner, your trip to the mall turns into a trip to the movies or the arcade just to spend some quality time together and your conversations/texts become more flirtatious and romantic.
This is the stage where you look into your phone and smile, while your parents suspect you being in a relationship and curse your phone 24×7. This happy state of being makes you catch only that which you are attracted to, so you only see the similarities between you and your lover, the brain does a good job of censoring everything from flaws and turn-offs.
This is equally true for your partner, and the both of you will hide each other’s flaws as your brains force you to be nice to each other until you get into bed and consummate your attraction. In doing so, you fulfil your biological imperative to reproduce; and while this may seem a small thing to you, it is what nature intended.
[Read More: How Do Guys Fall In Love]
3. Breathless When I See You
This is that awfully horrendous stage of love, which alters all the chemicals present in our brain. A potent cocktail of chemicals and hormones that floods our brain, throwing Oxytocin, Phenylethylamine and Dopamine straight at every neuro-receptor in the body. This is why your heart beats a mile a minute and your loins – well, enough said.
Every time you glance at that person, your world appears pink, as though you were looking through rose tinted lenses. Everything is soft and beautiful, everything that is ugly or off-putting disappears. Indeed, this description might sound similar for some of you, and we’ll confirm it. The only difference between being madly in love and spectacularly high on drugs, is the fact that being in love isn’t illegal yet.
This is the stage where you both are continuously in touch with each other. You call each other whenever possible, text when her/his parents are around, you can’t resist the thought of being apart from each other and also, you notice that you’re spending a lot more time with her than you do with your friends (a thought which you ignore and the reason why your friends temporarily hate you).
4. I Love You… I Love You Not… I Love You… I Love You Not
This is the stage where you and your partner are so used to each other that things start getting boring. Like you can predict every move of his/her and vice versa. There’s nothing new that will excite you both or ignite the spark any more. So, from the addiction phase, you slowly transcend into this stage, where you start observing the truth about your partner and reality literally hits you in the face like a ton of bricks.
This phase is extremely painful for a large number of couples, especially if they feel that the illusion that was their romantic love is now over. This void of emotional space is fast replaced by feelings of anger and more importantly disappointment. As opposed to the above mentioned stages of love, where you only saw similarity, now you begin to focus on the differences between the two of you, as well as starting to see the other person’s flaws.
A lot of people make the mistake of attempting to modify their partners into the people that they thought they were. Some even punish their partners, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, and some people do a combination of both. This often results in one or both partners pulling away from each other, withdrawing into their own private little bubbles.
In the case of only one partner exhibiting these kinds of behaviours, then the other one usually responds by showing rampant signs of emotional dependence, they feel and act needy and end up feeling deserted in an emotional sense. What people should be doing in this stage is establishing your own individual spaces and autonomy inside your relationship, while avoiding damaging the connection that you have.
The duration of this stage of love can be anywhere from a couple of months to a few years; or until, as is often the case with a lot of people, you break up.
5. Oh Ho… Seeing Red. Alert. Danger
This stage is considered as the epitome of achievement in the romantic sphere. So, when a couple’s relationship enters the rocky desert, they seem to enter panic mode and start to assume that their relationship is flawed. This is normal and real, because any real, lasting relationship involves a lot of compromises and innumerable sacrifices. But people do it because in the end, it’s worth it.
Well, this stage comprises of two roads which lead to further damage (breakup) or success (endless commitment) of the relationship. If you are not prepared for actual commitment, and are always on the lookout for love without being prepared for any of the work that it entails, then you will obviously only find disappointment, this is where one of the roads takes you.
The other road, the one that should be taken, is where they continue along their path, surviving and dealing with all the frustrations and heartaches that life has thrown at them. They have found the resolve to move past this stage, and continue exploring a future together. You simply need to be smart and make the right decisions.
[Read More: How To Know Someone Loves You]
6. Clear Skies
You don’t need professional counselling services to do this because in some cases it would not be unhelpful. But honestly, the two of you need to work through your problems instead of sulking and leaving them to fester. All relationships are dependent on a lot of work, compromise and sacrifice from both partners. This process is further aided if you not only accept your differences, but also appreciate them. There will always be a bit of a power equation in a relationship, but you should try to make it an equal one, force never works in the ways of the heart.
Passing through this stage is also aided by a better understanding of you. If you know who you are and what exactly you have as a couple, then you will give up unreal fantasies, and realise that there is no harmony without struggle. A lot of people give up at this stage because they are not willing to confront certain aspects of their personalities. Don’t try to control life, take it as it comes, one day at a time.
7. Rock Solid
This is where you’ve learned to resolve conflicts. Here, when you let go of all unnecessary ego, the thrilling aspect of love returns. The flavour of your love will take on a deeper and more mature aspect than ever before. You realize that there is no point in attempting or even desiring to change your partner, and you settle down to appreciate your differences and that is what makes you both as a couple unique.
You have the space for your own boundary in the relationship and you both respect that. We’re not saying that everything is all hunky dory from now, because some people can slip back into the ‘power struggle stage’ from here. You can also get stuck in a pleasant rut in this stage, especially if you get complacently attached to the serenity and stability of this phase.
This is not the end-all of a relationship, there is more to come, and you must not run away from the possibilities of your future. To grow as people, we all need to step outside our comfort zones once in a while; though of course, this is easier said than done.
8. At Ease? Or At Peace?
The ‘commitment stage’ is when a couple truly comes into themselves. It is when the couple realises that they are only human at the end of the day, and not poster children for the ideal; and that no matter how perfect their relationship is, it will always have one or two shortcomings, and that that’s okay. You will start to look past the huge amount of things that people tell you about how relationships should be, and you start to make your own definitions and attain your own understandings of the subject.
You start to become aware that you are with each other, not because you need each other, but because you consciously choose to be together. Such a declaration is not lack of dependence, but a proclamation of actual individual agency. At this point, you will start to experience the amazing harmony that is brought about by a superb balance of love, fun, belonging, power, fun and freedom.
This is also the stage where you both commit to each other. You guys make promises (that are believable) and make sure that through highs and lows of life, you’ll always have each other’s back. You make sure that nothing senseless can separate you both.
The ‘bliss stage’ is aptly named. In the ‘commitment phase,’ you were ready to get married. But now, you are capable of handling being married. You start to register yourselves as one team. You are ready to face the world as one, and the world is all the better for it, trust us. A loving, equal relationship is a boon to not only the couple, but the people around them.
It is here that couples start working together, often getting involved in the same projects, so that they can spend time together. Though of course, here again, you must be careful not to invest too much into the outside world and forget to take care and nurture the relationship between the two of you.
10. Aaand… The Proposal!
This is the final bit in the stages of love. It may be the last one, but it is a gateway to a whole different and new life experience. Here you want to take things on an official level. You want to be legally and permanently attached to this soul and accept all his/her good aspects along with the flaws. You want to move in together and nothing else matters to you besides their very presence. You’re mature enough to handle a married life and take care of her. So, you propose to her/him and then break the news to your family and friends.
Well, that’s it folks. Tell us which stage you stand on out of these 10 stages of love. We’d love to know your story, so please do share it with us and don’t forget to comment!