Understanding the Stages of Romantic Love, Part Two

In last week’s post I delineated the stages of romantic love.

I also promised to provide some additional principles and actionable steps to help you make the most out of your relationship opportunities the next time love comes to town.

This week’s post fulfills that promise.

The stages of romantic love are pretty much the same for everyone.

A brief summary of last week’s post is included to save you time.

That said, I recommend reviewing last week’s post when you can.

The four stages of romantic love are:

  1. Romantic Feelings
  2. Physical Attraction
  3. Emotional Attachment
  4. Unconditional Acceptance and Long Term Commitment

Understanding the stages of romantic love can help you to make more mutually empowering choices.

Romantic Feelings

The first stage of romantic love is largely dominated by our biologically.  We are instinctively driven to find a partner and procreate.

You naturally tend to see your new partner as perfect, ideal, custom made for you: the sky is the limit.

You feel exhilarated and even “high”.

This stage of love can best be summed up as infatuation.

Physical Attraction

During the second stage of romantic love your experience continues to be largely shaped by your biology.

You begin to see the possibility of a new life with your new love and therefore try to begin to exercise some control over his actions.

“Power struggles” begin to emerge as you try and shape your new partner into your ideal love.

The idea of “mutual commitment” begins to form as your infatuation begins to wear off and you return to reality.

Emotional Attachment

This is the stage where things become progressively more practical and focused on the long term.

It is in this stage of romantic love that you begin to seriously explore commitment, partnership, and may even discuss the possibility of having children together or combining families if you already have children.

You become acutely aware of your partner’s positive and negative qualities.

Fear of intimacy and, ultimately, fear of rejection often prevents many folks from both sexes from becoming more deeply connected and committed.

Arguments, confrontation, and more frequent power struggles often occur in this stage.

This is the phase where folks often ‘bail” and either consciously or unconsciously sabotage the relationship.

This is also the stage of romantic love where folks either consciously or unconsciously begin to move toward a committed, long-term relationship.

Unconditional Acceptance and Long Term Commitment

This stage represents the beginnings of a consciously formed, mutually empowering relationship.

In this stage you have both come to truly see each other much more accurately and have made the the conscious choice to build a long-term, committed relationship.

The above discussion is intended to provide you with a general framework from which to understand the process of of  ‘falling in love’.

I also hope that the information that I have provided has helped you take a step back and have more compassion on yourself and future your current/future potential partners.

Five Tips for Making the Most Out of YOUR Romantic Relationship Opportunities

1.    Become and Stay Curious

Nothing is more engaging than curiosity.

When was the last time someone just wanted to know about you?

Exactly.

Conversations that focus on you and what you’re about –your dreams, goals, secrets and so on are rare.  That’s why we remember them!

Give your new love the gift of your sincere curiosity.

It will tend to put him at ease.

This will help you to find out what he’s really about.

Dating is a process of mutual discovery. 

The sooner he lowers his shields and let’s you see him for the person he actually is, the sooner you will know if he’s a good match.

Another reason to become and stay curious is that it helps to ground you in the land of possibility and helps you to manage your own expectations. 

This is turn reduces the potential for unnecessary disappointment.

2.    Appreciate his positive qualities

Thank him for his interest in you and be sure to acknowledge his efforts.

It truly is the striving that matters.

Appreciating him for the person he is establishes a positive dynamic of mutual acceptance, one of the corner stones of mutually empowering relationships.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude enhances the quality of your experiences at all stages of romantic love and is another cornerstone of mutually empowering relationships.

What we appreciate, appreciates.

3.    Focus on Healthy Ways to Express YOUR Disappointment, Frustration and Anger

Be authentic, own your feelings, and always strive to treat him the way you would like to be treated-with respect and compassion.

It is important to understand that intentions always trump expectations.

Relationship disappointments are often the result of unexpressed expectations.   Sorry, but your love will never learn to read your mind.

Ask and you shall receive.

Learning how to enlist his cooperation and support is another corner stone of mutually empowering relationships.

Learn to make requests instead of demands and to be up front when you slip up and don’t walk your talk.

Owning your mistakes and shortcomings is another cornerstone of mutually empowering relationships.

4.    Focus on cultivating friendship and emotional intimacy

Friends first.

I am no prude.

That said, years of broken relationships and my extensive experience as both a counselor and a relationship coach have taught me the importance of taking your time when it comes to sexual intimacy.

The pleasure and rush of sexual involvement clouds your judgment and makes discerning your true feelings much more difficult.

If a guy continues to pressure you sexually, despite your expressed wishes to the contrary – dump him.

If he doesn’t respect your wishes around intimacy in the early stages of the relationship, how do think he will treat you as the relationship becomes more comfortable?

5.    Consider Professional Support at Any Stage of Romantic Involvement

I cannot tell you how many times couples have come to me for help when it was simply too late.

If things aren’t going as hoped for or expected, try and talk things out.  If doesn’t work get the help and support that you both need and deserve.

Remember, every “breakup” is traumatic to some extent and leaves a scar in your consciousness.

I sincerely hope that you found this post inspiring and useful.

I welcome your comments and questions.

I am here if you need me.

Live, Connect, Love and Prosper

See YOU next week!

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1 Comment »

Comment by stephen light
October 9, 2013 @ 3:32 am

Thank you Ron

Talking about your issues means you have to face them and that can be tough. I love the saying “before it’s too late.” Somehow we never believe it will be too late.

Love & Courage
Stephen Light


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