The Stages of Love
While researching this topic, I googled “Stages of Love.” I found some interesting articles and diagrams detailing the stages or phases of love. My favorites were the scientifically written clinical models done by psychology researchers. Just so you know, there are auto repair manuals written with more love and compassion than any stages of love written by a researcher. Stages were
Stage 1: Initiation
Stage 2: Contact
Stage 3: Courting
Stage 4: Challenge
Stage 5: Decision
Stage 6: Love
Sounds like real romance right there! This left me with the impression that The Stages of Love should never be documented by a totally left brain analytical researcher
And then, I read the stages of love written by jaded, Millennial bloggers.
Stage 1: OMG He/She/It/They/Them is the most awesome (person, thing, object) I’ve ever met! Stage 2: Why did he/she stay out all night? Did I just get ghosted?
Stage 3: That f**ker just broke my heart and shattered my life, I never saw this coming, and my life will never be the same!”
Somewhere in between these models, is the truth about The Stages of Love. I have decided to come up with my own Stages of Love, based on my experience, and know that any step along the way, one or both of you may leave for greener (or browner) pastures:
Stage 1: Attraction / Romance
This is the stage where you first meet. You’re excited because you found someone who seems to like you. They check off many of your boxes: has a job, not a stalker, likes cats
Stage 2: It’s Been Two Weeks And He/She Is Still Here
This is the stage where you’ve gone on 2 or 3 dates, and things are going well. Expectations are being met.
Stage 3: It’s Been A Month, WTF Is Wrong With, This One I Can’t Figure It Out
This is the stage where things have been going well for awhile, and you keep waiting for the chinks in the armor to appear and they don’t.
Stage 4: We’re Both Lonely, Why Don’t We Move In Together and Save Some Money
This is the stage where you begin to (left brain researcher term) “assimilate.” You begin to live life together, and you are seen as a couple.
Stage 5: Uh Oh
Something has happened between you two, and now you have to deal with it by solving the problem or kicking the offending partner out.
Stage 6: Bigger Uh Oh
Something really major is happening between the two of you. You start asking questions like “What happened?” and/or “Can this get any worse?”
Stage 7: Analysis Paralysis
After the “Uh Oh” and the “Bigger Uh Oh” has passed, you’re now having to make some real decisions about your future. Should you hunker down stay in this relationship? Did your partner rise to the occasion? Would now be a good time to cut your losses?
Stage 8: Hunker Down (Acceptance)
If your partner handled things to your liking, it’s time to hunker down. You continue to ask yourself questions like “Is there anything else out there I’d want to date?” “You begin to see your partner, and yourself, for the flawed individuals you are, and resolve to make this relationship work.
Stage 9: Trust And Stability
If you get to this stage, your partner has passed several “life tests” to your satisfaction, and you’ve passed several “life tests” to their satisfaction. You ask questions like “Maybe this is the real deal?” Your job in this stage is to avoid doing stupid shit to your partner and yourself, and trust that you’re going to be okay.
Stage 10: Love
You’ve found an understanding within your partner and within yourself. You’ve committed to lifting each other up during the difficult times, and being nice to their family members. You listen to your partner tell the same story 8000 times and love the story each time they tell it a little more. You see your partner for who he/she truly is, and that is enough. You feel gratitude that you’ve found such a person to spend the rest of your life with.
I’m sure everyone’s stages of love may vary, but I hope this generates a fun conversation for you and your loved one this Valentine’s Day. If you are in a relationship that seems to fall short in some ways, consider what you can do to make it better. If you are single, remember to be good to yourself and share your love with friends and family.
As for me…
I’ll be spending a hot and heavy Valentine’s Day with my fiancé working on Stage 11, which is attending a condo association board meeting.
Happy Valentine’s Day!