Every relationship is unique and different. You go through different milestones at different times and your new relationship won’t be anything like your last. However, even if your relationship is different, if it’s a happy and healthy relationship, it’ll still go through the same stages. We all know how a relationship is supposed to naturally progress but we don’t always recognize important moments that can help shape your relationship into one that is not only really healthy but happy, too! Now, even if your relationship seems different from others or moves at a quicker pace, you still hit each of these stages at some point and if you don’t, you may want to backtrack in order to make sure your relationship is headed down a path of happiness and not despair. Those that miss these important stages in a relationship may end up hurt down the road. Here are 15 stages of a happy relationship
15A Good First Impression
Believe it or not, but your relationship begins the second you meet this person. You may not even realize it at the time, but your meeting can shape your relationship for the better or the worse. Just think about it. If you met and your first impression of them is awful and they seem mean and hurtful, you may not even start anything with them. However, if you meet them and they’re charming or flirty and you feel a connection, it’s going to change the pace of your entire relationship. On the other hand, you may meet someone and not really see them as a potential partner and this is going to make the growth of your relationship a slower one until you get to know them more and your feelings begin to spark. The very first stage of a happy relationship is when you meet someone for the first time and it’s a great first impression.
14Building a Friendship
Way too many people jump into relationships after just going on one date… or even after just meeting someone for the first time. They think their feelings have developed to the point of starting a relationship without even having a friendship first. Those relationships almost always end shortly after beginning. You have to build a friendship with your significant other before you can even call them that. If you do not have a friendship, you have nothing to build off of. If you do not have a friendship, you do not even know your partner well enough to know if you could possibly be with that person long term. When you have a friendship before an intimate relationship, when you finally get to that point, it will be much more fruitful and fulfilling. Be friends before you jump into something more intimate if you want to have a happy relationship.
13The Dating Stage
So, you’ve met them, you’ve become good friends with them, and now you’re finally going on your first (of hopefully many) dates. Congratulations! So far, you’ve done everything right. Now, the dating stage does not mean you are exclusively in a relationship with them yet. Sure, you may not be seeing anyone else and you may want to be exclusive with them, but you have to date them first. After building a friendship, you now have to turn your relationship into something more intimate and that isn’t always an easy process. If you’ve been friends for a while, it may take some getting used to before you feel comfortable in this stage. Go on tons of dates. Get to know them on a more personal level. Learn things about them that nobody else knows. This is the stage that builds the chemistry and connection that will make for a healthy and happy relationship.
12Meeting Each Other’s Friends
Now is the magical and very vital time in your relationship where you’ve been dating for a while, your friends know all about them and their friends know all about you and it’s time to actually meet them. The most important people to the person you’re dating other than their family is their friends. They’ve told them details about your dates, how they truly feel about you, and they know way more than you do about the person you’re dating. That being said, it’s obvious why this time is so important for a happy relationship. If you meet their friends and act like a snob or don’t even engage with them at all, it’s not looking good for the relationship. If you do meet them and hit it off and try to get to know them, you’ll score major points in the eyes of your soon to be boyfriend or girlfriend.
11Defining the Relationship
Well, sure meeting the friends is super important, but the moment when you define the relationship (or DTR as it’s usually called) is way more important. After dating for a few weeks, getting to know them, and meeting their friends, the both of you are probably feeling pretty good about the relationship. In fact, you’re probably wondering when you can finally make it official. This is so important for a healthy relationship because both of you have to be willing to go into an exclusive relationship. You can’t be ready to go and them not ready and then force them into it by giving them an ultimatum. That will basically poison the relationship and it’ll be ruined before it really begins. Have a discussion about it in detail. Tell them why you want to be exclusive with them and ask how they’re feeling about it. If one of you isn’t ready yet, then don’t do it yet and just keep dating and getting to know each other before making it a for sure thing.
Notice how this is a number of stages after meeting this person for the first time. It’s because you can’t just meet someone, become intimate, and expect to build a healthy relationship off of that. You have to be friends with someone, get to know them inside and out, and actually be exclusive with them before getting in the sheets with them. It should never be the basis of the relationship, friendship should be. So if you’re trying to have a healthy and happy relationship, then it has to come after meeting, becoming friends, dating, and defining the relationship. You’ll notice that if you wait to do this, it’ll be that much better and you’ll feel way more sure about getting naked and hopping into bed with them. Sure, it is a very important thing in any relationship, but if you jump into this stage too fast, it can make building a friendship and even dating them a lot harder.
9The Honeymoon Stage
This is a very important period in your relationship purely because it’s nothing but awesomeness all the time. Your relationship is new, you’re being intimate all the time, everything they do is adorable and you love it, and you think they may be The One. The problem with this stage is that it is just that: a stage. These feelings don’t last forever but they’re really important for the relationship to grow and for you to get close and comfortable with your partner. This phase is also pretty mandatory because you can’t really control it. The chemicals in your brain do a happy dance and basically force you to act and feel this way. Nevertheless, if you don’t feel like you ever had or you aren’t in the honeymoon phase, your body and mind may be trying to tell you that something is wrong and you’re not head over heels for this person.
This is the best stage there is because after you’ve been this “perfect” person to them that has no flaws and that they like a whole lot, you can finally settle into yourself and into them and be comfortable. This is when you finally get to let loose and be 100% yourself and get comfortable with your significant other. You get to learn their weird little habits, what annoys them, and even how much time apart you two need in order to make your relationship work because you can’t spend 24/7 with someone. This is when you can just relax and be with the other person without having to worry about how you smell, what your hair looks like, or even what you dress like. You can just be your scrubby self and let them see you at your worst without fear of being judged or ruining the relationship. This stage has to happen because if you’re always forcing yourself to be perfect, you’ll end up resenting the relationship. It’s too much pressure for just one person.
7Meeting Each Other’s Families
This stage comes understandably later in the relationship because no one wants to just rush into meeting the family without knowing if the relationship has a solid foundation. You can’t just bring home someone you’ve been dating for a few weeks because it won’t look very good for them or for you. Your family also wants to make sure you’re with someone who knows a lot about you and likes you for who you are. Therefore, this stage comes after getting comfortable because once you know someone at their worst, you’re ready to meet their family because that is sometimes even worse than their worst. Be sure to make a good impression in this stage too because even though you’re with your significant other exclusively, many people put great value into what their family thinks of their new partner. You should also, however, be yourself because they’ll like it better if their family gets to see who you really are.
This is usually the point in the relationship where you wonder how your boyfriend really feels about you… and he’s thinking the same thing about you. This is mostly because most of the new stuff is completely over and you’re comfortable being together and living life. Things have slowed down, a lot of the most exciting things have passed, and you’re left to just be with them without all of those factors making you giddy and excited. The point here is that this stage is natural. You can’t always have an exciting and wild relationship. During this stage, you get to just relax and appreciate your partner for who they are and the relationship you have. If you don’t ever have this stage, it’s likely that you’ve missed another stage and your relationship may be a little rocky. This stage is vital for calming yourselves down and just being able to get more comfortable with who they are and with what your relationship is all about.
We all know this stage. It’s the point in your relationship where you feel like you just can’t get along with your significant other and you may even question how you really feel about them. The truth is that arguing is really healthy and good for your relationship. The point of this stage is to find out what makes your partner angry and what they’re passionate about. Most likely, these things are going to be discovered when you get arguing about something that’s seemingly silly to you but important to them. When you argue, you learn. When you learn about what makes your partner tick, you’ll be able to adjust your behavior in order to make sure you’re respecting their boundaries. These arguments are really important because they can highlight the weaknesses and faults in your relationship so you can work on repairing them for a healthy and happy future.
Most people think they know their partner super well. While you may know what their favorite food is and where they love to order coffee from, you probably don’t know their deepest secrets and desires. After you’ve left the arguing stage, you’ll be thrust into the deep understanding stage and you’ll get to know them on a completely different level. In fact, this is probably because of the arguing stage. After you’ve been fighting about things, you have to sit and make up. During those times you’ll get to know things about them that possibly nobody else knows. This is really important in having an understanding of who they truly are as a person. Once you know this, your relationship will be stronger and healthier than ever which also makes it a very happy relationship. When you feel that you know your significant other better than anyone else, you’ll see how much it can help the entire relationship.
3Discovering How To Love Them
This may seem strange because if you’re in a relationship with them, shouldn’t you know how to love them? While this may seem true, it’s usually not. There are a lot of different ways in which you can care for someone. Some people feel loved by getting compliments or gifts, while others feel loved from physical affection and attention. This stage is where you’ve been through the arguing and you understand who they are, now you are discovering how to truly love them so they feel important and special in your life. This isn’t always the easiest stage simply because most people love the same way they’d like to receive it. In reality, you probably won’t end up with someone that feels love the same way you do. This stage can take some getting used to and some adjusting on both party’s sides, but once it gets figured out your relationship will benefit greatly.
This is a lot like the slowing down period, but it’s also slightly different because you won’t question your partner’s feelings, you won’t question your own feelings, and you’ll feel confident in the relationship altogether. When this stage hits, you’ll feel it dramatically. It usually goes hand in hand with the deep understanding phase because once you really understand who they are, you don’t feel a need to poke and prod in their life and figure out every little thing about them. This stage is really important for just relaxing into the roles in your relationship and accepting what the relationship is like as a whole. You’ll feel at home, safe, and comfortable in the relationship and it’ll make being with your partner feel natural and normal. You won’t have to try and force yourself to be happy, it will just be there. The stage of settling down is one that you will generally stay in for the duration of your relationship.
The final stage in a relationship is accepting your partner for who they are. You won’t ever find someone that is absolutely everything you want in a person. They’ll have flaws. They’ll drive you crazy and make you really angry at times. But if you’ve hit this stage in the relationship, none of that will matter because you are happy with them and who they are and have accepted that they will not change going forward. This stage is vital because if you don’t accept this, you’ll be getting angry at them for the same things over and over again and you won’t possibly have a healthy, let alone a happy, relationship. If you’ve been with your partner for a very long time and don’t feel like you’ve been in this stage, then chances are there’s something wrong in the relationship that needs fixing before you can accept them. Either that, or you’ll never be able to accept them for who they really are, which never makes for a happy relationship.