Relationships Tend To Progress In Phases - Here's What To Know About Each One

Searching for the right partner is difficult, to say the least. It feels like you have to kiss a bunch of frogs before you find your prince or princess. Then one day, after countless failed relationships and bad first dates, you finally find the person you've been looking for. It's like it was a match made in heaven, and you can't wait to start your lives together. And while being in love is a wonderful thing, it doesn't come without its handful of challenges. As they say, love is a battlefield.

Keeping a partnership alive and well takes a lot of work. You have to be ready to handle whatever is thrown at you at any given time. Sometimes, it might seem like an overwhelming amount of work, but the payoff is worth it. Every relationship goes through different phases, and it's important to know about each one of them.

The honeymoon phase

This is probably the most commonly-known phase of any relationship. During the honeymoon phase, you and your partner are obsessed with each other; all you want to do is be together 24/7. It almost feels like being a kid in a candy store — you're so excited to be with this person, and the passion between the two of you is unlike anything you've ever felt. This phase of the relationship typically lasts between six months to two years, according to Brides. And while it's indeed an exciting time, there are some things to be wary of during this stage.

During the honeymoon phase, you tend to overlook red flags or other things about each other that may become a problem down the line. It's essentially like wearing love goggles; all you can see is the good in your partner. In your eyes, they can do nothing wrong. How could they? You've found your soulmate, after all. 

As infatuated with your partner as you are during this time, be sure not to rush into major decisions or life changes just because they feel right at the moment. Take the love goggles off sometimes and really think about the consequences of your choices.

The early attachment phase

The early attachment phase refers to the part of the relationship where things start to cool off a bit and you begin to notice the differences between you and your partner. You learn what the other person wants and needs, and how you can accommodate them. In the honeymoon stage, you were obsessed with each other. In the early attachment phase, the love is still very much there, you're just not thinking about your partner every second of the day. You allow yourself to focus on other aspects of your life in addition to your relationship.

By this phase, the two of you have likely gone through hardships together that really strengthened your bond. You've seen each other at your best and your worst, but that's a good thing! It means you're really deepening your connection with your partner, which is what being in a relationship is all about. Lean into those struggles as they will only make you stronger as a pair.

The crisis phase

This is where things start to get tricky. The honeymoon phase is long gone, and the love goggles are somewhere in a box in the basement. In this stage of the relationship, you're more likely to argue with one another. There is tension and resentment; it isn't all butterflies and rainbows anymore. When you two first got together, you probably let things slide for the sake of not arguing. Now, you're more comfortable bringing up issues, even when you know it will probably lead to a fight. However, this doesn't mean it's time to end things.

Every couple has their ups and downs, and it's important to keep that in mind. When problems do arise, there are healthy ways to deal with them instead of blowing things out of proportion. In fact, arguing with your significant other can actually be beneficial. During arguments, you learn more about each other, so in some ways, the crisis phase actually makes your love stronger.

The disillusionment phase

During the disillusionment phase, you begin to question your compatibility with your partner. Are things really as good as they seem, or have you been turning a blind eye to their flaws the entire time? In this stage, the rose-colored glasses come off and you realize all of your grievances with one another are out in the open because you can't hide them anymore. For instance, you may have issues trusting your partner because of something they did in the past, but you had been trying to push those feelings to the back of your mind. During this phase, that becomes harder — or even impossible — to do.

Unfortunately, some problems become too big to ignore. The more you choose to ignore them, the greater the issue becomes. In some cases, partners feel like this phase marks the end of the road for their relationship. In their eyes, things have gotten so bad, they're irreparable. However, if you take the opportunity to hash things out instead of turning the other cheek, you might be able to save the relationship — if that is what you both want.

The decision phase

This is the time in the relationship when you have to decide if you want to move forward with this person or say goodbye and close this chapter of your life. During this phase, you and your partner are at a breaking point. You're fighting constantly, and you're mentally and emotionally exhausted. In severe situations, you can't stand to be in the same room as each other; it's like a constant battle of whether you should or should not stay together. The tension is at an all-time high, so it's time to make a decision about what to do next.

You might be thinking, "We just have a communication problem. We can work on it and things will be fine." Unfortunately, you're likely in too deep, and trying to fix your problems without any extra help may lead to a breakup. This is the time when couples tend to seek out couples therapy in an attempt to save their relationship. This isn't a guaranteed fix, but it should be noted that 70% of couples in marriage counseling are helped by the practice, according to Open Counseling.

The deep attachment phase

The final stage of the relationship is known as the deep attachment (or wholehearted love) phase. If you and your significant other have made it past the decision phase, you have proven to yourselves that your love can withstand even the toughest times. Of course, this doesn't mean the two of you will never have problems again, it just means you will know how to work through them the next time they arise. In the deep attachment phase, you're both aware a perfect partner doesn't exist, but you are perfect for each other.

There's way less tension in this phase. Both partners seem calmer, nicer, and happier, just like they did at the beginning of the relationship. This is when couples agree that staying together was the best decision they could have made. They're ready to live out their lives with one another, through the good and the bad.