Wouldn’t it be great to have a road map to love? Well, thanks to modern psychology, there sort of is. Love is a confusing and often dizzying journey, but many of the relationship stages people experience are based on hormones and basic body chemistry. While you’re the one logically deciding “yay or nay,” your body is busy releasing oxytocin, vasopressin, and dopamine to keep you craving more even after you’ve been with someone for many years. Kelleher International explains the five stages of new love – and how to navigate them for a strong, successful relationship.
Passion. During this initial stage of infatuation, oxytocin causes dopamine, a reward-seeking neurotransmitter, to be released. During this stage it’s easy to find your brain fighting your heart. You are still getting to know your date and certainly don’t want to become too committed too fast. Don’t let butterflies obscure your perspective. Force yourself to be logical during this stage and determine whether your date is someone you see yourself with long-term.
Differentiation. If your partner gets on your nerves after a few months, you’re in good company! This second phase is a chance to recognize you and your date are two different people with two different mindsets. This stage is potentially the most difficult because you notice quirky habits but are not yet completely committed to your partner. Use this as an opportunity to practice patience and compromise. Your date is not perfect, but neither are you. Relationships are about embracing all of your partner – the good, the bad and the strange.
Normalization. During this stage, work and social obligations encroach on your relationship. You return to “life as usual” with one small addition – your partner. At times it will feel like your partner has forgotten you or that you simply don’t have time to date. Although you may feel the relationship is faltering, this is actually a sign your relationship is capable of blending with your everyday life. You can spend time doing business as usual and still enjoy a romantic date when you see each other again. This is an important stage where you learn to trust each other without constant contact.
Commitment. This is what most couples refer to as being “comfortable,” but that doesn’t mean the romance goes away! Warm feelings of infatuation you had in the beginning of your relationship return and it’s easy to remember why you started dating your partner. You might be struck by how attractive your date is or how kind they are. Positive qualities they had before will become more desirable and you will feel confident in your decision to date this person. This is the phase where relationships are strengthened and couples make a conscious decision to commit to one another.
True Love. Science says true love doesn’t usually happen until couples have been together for three to five years. This stage encourages your brain to release that feel-good trio (oxytocin, vasopressin and dopamine) to make sex better than ever. Lucky you! This strong emotional bond reaches out to other aspects of your life, too. You are more likely to look out for your partner’s best interests and make decisions as a couple instead of making plans as a single person. Teamwork comes naturally at this stage. It’s been a long, emotional journey but you made it!
Love is not always logical, but it is important to balance your head and your heart to decide when a relationship is worth the time and commitment. Once you’ve decided it’s a compatible match, enjoy the experience of falling in love! The reward is in the lasting relationship and strong emotional bond you feel after passing through the five stages. If you are ready to begin this emotional journey yourself contact us today and allow us to introduce you to life-changing matches.