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Relationship Stages You Should Prepare For

~TheGuardian, Nigeria. 

Relationship starts rosy, perfect setting, the mood is magnificent. You feel like you have found your soul mate and nothing can go wrong. You always want to talk or spend time with your partner and you feel its just the two of you in paradise. Well, questions start popping into your head like 'is this love', and 'could he be the one.' You wish to move in with him or get married to him, but darling the romance stage can not last forever. Relationships can be sunny, filled with rainbows and life but there are also stormy days. But as they say, after the rain comes sunshine. Relationships are dynamic, the four pillars of a successful relationship is trust, understanding, tolerance and love. There are usually 4 stages of a healthy relationship, at each stage there is often a decision to move forward or to end the relationship.

1.Romance Stage

Nature designed the Romance Stage to have us fall in love. In fact, nature forces us to fall in love, but not with just anyone... Nature's bias is towards survival of the species. Adaptation and growth are nature's way of ensuring survival.You are driven in this stage to idolize your potential partner. You experience the emotions of joy and excitement. The novelty of a new love leads you to think about your partner day and night, imagining all the possibilities of how this person can fulfill your deepest desires. You want to spend every moment of every day with your new partner in the bliss of newly discovered love.

2. Realistic Stage

In this stage, the couple get to know each other better. when we fall in love, we don't see our partner's flaws. As the months pass by, both of you know what to expect from each other, and you make an assumption about your partner's commitment towards the relationship. It is most often in this stage that people get stuck. Idolising your partner diminishes and you begin to see who your partner really is and they begin to see you. All your flaws are exposed to each other and it is here when couples start really being challenged in the relationship.When these opinions and expectations about your partner differ now and then in real life, it can either leave you ecstatic or depressed.

3. Conflict Stage

The Conflict Stage is an important and unpleasant part in any relationship. By learning to resolve conflicts and working through problems we grow and mature. This is often a make or break stage in the relationship. Sometimes one partner is doing all the work to keep the relationship together and ultimately this strategy results in feeling depleted and frustrated. This is such a painful time for most couples as the illusion that 'romantic love will last forever' falls away and is replaced with feelings of disappointment and anger. Instead of seeing your similarities (like you did in the Romance stage), you begin focusing on your differences and your partner's flaws. Effective communication and professional guidanceis needed to keep the relationship safe.

4. Stability Stage

This stage is marked by safety and security in the relationship. The only way to obtain mature love is to work through the previous stages: there are no shortcuts. In this stage you and your partner know each other at a deep and intrinsic level. You accept each others flaws and you have each other's backs for better or worse. Each stage of love is wrought with mistakes; the important thing is that the two of you commit to working through the mistakes and build safety together. In this stage, love is an action and a feeling word. No longer worried about losing the relationship, you can experience this type of love as safe, satisfying and passionate.

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