Every relationship has different stages. The initial nervous excitement breaks into a casual, comfortable familiarity. For some people, realizing there are stages of a relationship and that each stage is normal can be helpful. Just because you’ve lost that nervous excitement doesn’t mean you’re not in a good relationship worth keeping.
In the infatuation stage, you’re just twitterpated. You’re nervous and excited; your heart’s pounding at the thought of asking him/her out. There’s a rush, and you’re simply exhilarated. People can look at you and know you’re in love (whether or not it’s love at this stage remains to be seen.) But the excitement’s there.
The trick to remember is that you can’t stay in the infatuation stage forever. Just like the first bite of pizza is the best one, and the cookies fresh from the oven are the gooiest, the first days or weeks of a relationship are often the best. But it’s infatuation.
When you’re dating, you’re dating. You’re not sure if the person will call or not; you wait and see whether you have plans. Will you have a date for New Year’s Eve? You hope so, but things are uncertain, which means you’re still in that twitterpated, exciting time.
Once you’re officially a couple, things begin to change. You’re fairly certain your main squeeze will accompany you to that wedding. Whatever your plans are for the weekend will probably include him or her. People recognize you as a couple and may start to think of you as a couple — they invite you to a party and it’s understood that your date will come, too.
A familiar couple has been together a while. Think Brangelina. You’re always together, there’s nothing that new about the relationship, and people expect to see you together. If you’re not together that’s when the questions come. Be careful to avoid getting into a rut.
Congratulations, you’re engaged! You’re nearly official. Now your family recognizes you, if they didn’t fully before. You’ll meet family members on both sides, and there will be a whirl of parties and invitations and registries. Enjoy.
Newlyweds are almost like the new couple. There are still a lot of fun, new things — a new home, new gifts, celebrating special occasions with family members. Maybe even a baby on the way?
Old and Married
Once you’re married and settled in, you know each other well. It’s important to avoid taking each other for granted. Be sure there’s a give and take and keep your sense of humour. Remember to go out on date nights — you might be surprised that that twitterpated rush can still be there if you look.
Whether you’re in the beginning stages or the middle or late stages of a relationship, it’s important to have give and take, to treat your partner with respect and keep a sense of humour. Even as an old, married couple when you know (nearly) everything about your spouse, you have the opportunity to enjoy your life with the person you’ve spent so many years with.
Look back on the old days and look forward to the days ahead. And chances are you’ll see that that spark that brought you together in the first place is still there - and has been all along.