The Three Phases of Every Relationship

It's been said that "Life was so much easier when you clothes didn't have to match and boys had cooties." Maybe it was. But we can't really back there. Puberty has kicked in and your hormones are in full swing.

Boyfriends and girlfriends are in your future. And when you eventually have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can be sure that every relationship will move through 3 phases.

The beginning of every relationship is an exciting time. Wow! She said yes! He wants me to be his girlfriend! It's exciting. It's so exciting, in fact, that you overlook each other's faults during this phase. This is also called "infatuation," which is a word used to describe an intense, yet short-lived passion for someone.

Infatuation actually makes chemicals release in three areas of your brain. That simultaneous release gives you an adrenaline rush, makes your heart rate go up, and decreases your attention span. In other words, it seriously messes with your judgment! That's why people who are in this phase think that if the other person breaks up with them then their whole life will be over. They have no idea what they're thinking because they're infatuated with the other person.

But people don't stay infatuated forever. They move on to phase two.

After anywhere from a week to a year, the infatuation begins to wear off. This is where the other person comes down from the pedestal you had built for them in the clouds. You thought they were just so perfect, but now you're seeing some ways in which they aren't so perfect.

Welcome back to reality. And in reality, no one is perfect. And now you're noticing it.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to breakup. It just means that you're about to enter the next phase of the relationship. And here's the thing: people get to this place in the relationship at different points. Like I said, infatuation wears off somewhere between the first week and the first year.

I know a guy who went all they way from Phase 1 to Phase 3 with a girl in two weeks. He broke up with her and she was still "oohing and aching" about how wonderful he was.

It's when you're at drastically different phases in the relationship that the breakup seems like it's going to destroy you. Of course, it won't destroy you, but it just feels like it for a while - especially if it happened while you were still getting high on the hormones of infatuation.

The infatuation has worn off and reality has kicked in. What are you going to do now?
You have two basic options:
a) The first option is to accommodate the person you see standing in front of you. Now you know that they aren't perfect. But that's okay. The imperfections they have today are things that you can learn to love about them tomorrow. And that's what you decide to try.

My wife and I have been married for almost 8 years. We argue about some things. I do things that she thinks could be done better. She bites her nails, which I really don't like. But we learned those things about each other when we were dating. And when we each got to Phase 3, we both decided to accommodate rather than evacuate.

But that's not the right decision for every person or every relationship. Sometimes the flaws you see are too big to let go. Or sometimes you recognize that there really isn't any chemistry between you. Or sometimes you just change your mind. All of those things and fine and understandable. That's the time to breakup.

Related Posts:
A Quick History of Dating


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