The 5 stages of a relationship that every couple goes through (and how to survive them)

You’ve probably fallen in love at least once in your life.

As you grow older, you come to the realization that falling in love is actually the easy part. It’s being in a relationship that can be quite challenging.

Relationships are not always easy. In fact, it takes a lot of work to cultivate them.

But this is how love grows and lasts. So how do you ensure that you start your romantic relationships on the right foot?

While every relationship is unique in its own way, there are typically five stages every couple goes through.

It doesn’t matter how you met or what your goals in the relationship are.

You will go through each of these stages.

And how you handle them will define the shape — or the end — of your relationship.

Understanding these stages as they happen can help you better navigate your way into a long-lasting and loving partnership.

The 5 Stages Of A Relationship

1. Attraction and Romance Stage
2. Crisis Stage
3. Working Stage
4. Commitment Stage
5. Real Love/Bliss Stage

Each stage is a challenge on its own. In fact, the first two stages often prove to be the most challenging to every couple.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the 5 stages of a relationship, what they are like, and how to handle them (these are different from the 4 bases of love).

1) The Attraction and Romance Stage

This is what movies are made of.

In the first stage of a relationship, you are in complete euphoria.

You’re falling in love, and nothing can go wrong. Everything is perfect – from your first kiss to that electricity you feel around them. They can’t do anything wrong, and you can never find a single flaw in them.

In fact, you go around your day in constant high thinking about this person. And in a way, you are actually high.

Strong levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and even oxytocin are released into your brain when you are attracted to someone. These chemicals make you giddy and euphoric.

Your loss in appetite? And insomnia? All side effects of this little chemical haywire. This feeling can last from a couple of months to 2 years.

You better enjoy this stage while you can, because the next stages are where things get real.

The Good Part About Being in This First Stage

The great thing about this stage is that it’s exciting. There’s nothing more exhilarating than getting to know someone and discovering every amazing thing about them. You will see the other person in the best light. You should try to remember that. Remember the little things that made you fall in love with them in the first place.

Things To Watch Out For in the First Stage

All of these great emotions can make you throw caution out the window. And we can’t blame you. But just as much as you’re soaking the moment in, it’s also important to try to take things slow. Sure, you might start thinking of marriage and kids on the sixth date, but that doesn’t mean this person is “the one.” Remember, most of the time, it’s actually the chemicals on your brain that are talking. We’re not saying you should be entirely closed off, but a little logic and reasoning can keep reality in check and save you the possible heartache later.

It’s also typical to want to show your absolute best on this stage. So much so that you might find yourself not being true to who you are. Don’t pretend you like pineapples on your pizza just to please them. Be you. Don’t make yourself out to be someone you’re not so that another person might like you. If this is the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, then they should love you for who you truly are.

2) The Crisis Stage

As we mentioned before, couples have a hard time going through the first two stages of a relationship. This is because of the contrast between the Attraction Stage and the Crisis Stage.

In the first few months of a relationship, everything seems to be going exceptionally well. However, the dopamine in your system eventually trickles out, and you start seeing things more clearly. Your love glasses are off. You start becoming comfortable with each other, and things are becoming all too real. You found the toilet seat up one too many times, or they said something inappropriate to your friends. The Crisis Stage is where your first arguments and relationship anxiety happen. 

Most couples will go through this stage and sadly, will eventually break up. Suddenly, the other person is too annoying or it’s a one-sided relationship. And one of you might be having cold feet. Are you actually compatible? The Crisis stage is where you’re mettle as a couple will get tested. You’re suddenly struggling for power and seeking harmony at the same time.

The Good Part About Being in the Crisis Stage

It might sound tough, but if you manage to go through it, everything that happens in this stage will only make you stronger as a couple. It can also be a relief to finally show your partner the not-so-glamorous parts of who you are. Your emotional connection is also being developed in this stage. You’ll be seeing how each other reacts to challenges and you’ll learn how to communicate better.

Things To Watch Out For When You’re in the Crisis Stage

This is the perfect time to internalize. How are you reacting to the situation? And is your partner’s reaction something you can respond to well? Things may not always go smooth-sailing, but if you both have the communication tools to come out of this unscathed, then your relationship is made to last. And if you find yourself not willing to compromise or accept your partner’s flaws, then this might be the end for you.

There’s no shame in walking away. In fact, you’ll do both yourselves a favor by giving yourselves a chance to find the right partners for you.

3) The Working Stage

So you’ve conquered the Crisis Stage.


You’ve clawed your way out of the gutter, and now you find yourself in perfect harmony. You’ve developed a routine as a couple. Someone cooks and the other one does the dishes. Everything is calm, and you find yourself in love with this person — in the way that counts.

The Good Part of the Working Stage

You fully accept each other. And instead of trying to change them, you work your way around their flaws. This stage is like a nice long road trip without any bumps along the way. But be careful, this blissful domesticity might just be your downfall.

4) Commitment Stage

You choose to be together.

Even when the going gets tough.

Even when it might be hard sometimes.

You recognize that your partner is a whole other person with their own set of flaws, dreams, goals, wants, and needs.

But you choose them anyway.

This is what the Commitment Stage is all about. It’s all about consciously deciding that this person is the one for you. You might think the Working Stage was good, but the Commitment Stage is where you truly feel like you belong to this person.

This is usually when couples make huge steps in committing to each other – moving in, marriage, or having kids.

5) The Real Love Stage

This is it. This is what everything was for.

All the sweat, hard work, blood, and tears have leas you here. Finally, you are a team. Your relationship is no longer the center of your world. Instead, you go outside of your relationship and create something beautiful.

The Real Love Stage is where couples work together on an ultimate goal or project.

This can be anything creative that means a lot to both of you, or something practical like your dream home. But to a lot of couples, it’s about starting a family. And although there are constant challenges that will test you, you have everything you need to make it through. You’ve learned from your past mistakes. You remember the great times fondly and the bad times make you realize it was all worth it after all.

Conclusion: The Takeaway

Relationships are a journey. But so is anything else in life.

True love isn’t something that just gets handed to you. And these five stages prove just that.

It’s important to know which stage you are in so that you’ll know how to get through it. If you find yourselves in a loop, constantly arguing about the same things, then you’re probably still in the Crisis Stage.

Focus on communicating better. If you’re feeling stagnant, where everything seems fine, but it feels like you’re not moving anywhere, then you’re most likely in the Working Stage. Figure out your next goals as a couple.

Ultimately, being aware of where you are a couple is the key to moving forward.

He doesn’t really want the perfect woman

How much time do you spend trying to be the kind of woman you think men want?

If you’re like most women, it’s a LOT.

You spend all this time making yourself look sexy and attractive.

All this time presenting yourself as fun, interesting, worldly, and not needy in the slightest. You spend all this time showing him just how good you’d be for him.

How amazing his future would be if he chose you as the woman by his side…

And it doesn’t work. It never works. WHY?

Why do you work so hard… And the guy in your life just takes you for granted, if he even notices you at all?

Many women give up on love. They never let themselves get too close to a man, for fear of scaring him off. But other women try a different approach. They get help.

In my new article, I outline why men back away even when you think you’re doing nothing wrong.

I also outline 3 ways you can invite a guy into your life by giving him exactly what he needs from a woman.

Check out my new article here.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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