The normal progression of dating is different for all people. But there are 8 stages that nearly everyone goes through. It’s important to know these stages so you can get ahead of them. The 8 stages of dating can be viewed as a “relationship timeline.” In fact, most people will go through all of these stages in the normal progression of dating.
Here are the eight phases of dating in a nutshell.
The “Honeymoon Stage” is followed by the “Adjustment stage” which is followed by the “Power Struggle” stage. This cycle continues with the following stages: the “Exhaustion” stage, the “Uncertainty Stage”, and the “Decision Stage”.
If both partners decide to marry, then comes the engagement. And after that is marriage.
Let’s look at each stage in more detail.
Here are the best resources that go hand in hand with this guide. (Available on Amazon--Start a 30-day free trial here)
- Preparing for Marriage Couples Guide
- Preparing for Marriage Leaders Guide
- The Meaning of Marriage-Timothy Keller
- Devotions for Engaged Couples- Gary Thomas
Not sure where to start with a premarital counseling conversation, start here.
1) Honeymoon Stage
The Honeymoon Stage: The honeymoon stage of a relationship is the earliest phase when everything is new and thrilling. You want to learn all there is to know about them. Even though no one is perfect, you see them as totally ideal in every respect. If you’re dating, they’re the only person who matters at this time.
The key to making this stage last is not to rush it. This may sound strange, but you must allow time for the honeymoon phase to end on its own. It will only do so when both you and your partner are ready for something more serious.
Related Post: The Purpose of Dating
Characteristics of the honeymoon stage
The honeymoon stage is characterized by. Abounding confidence and optimism, a feeling of oneness and togetherness, and an abundance of positive energy. A sense that your relationship will last forever.
The honeymoon stage is the period in which we make our most intimate connections with other human beings. How we express ourselves during this time can set the tone for our future relationships. It can also have a big impact on the way we think about ourselves.
This stage doesn’t last forever. In fact, it can be gone in a split second. The easiest way to kill the honeymoon stage is by talking about your past relationships or complaining about things that bothered you in previous relationships.
How long does the Honeymoon Stage last?
The Honeymoon stage lasts on average for 4-7 months. Once it ends, both of you can begin exploring what your relationship will be like in the next phase.
Usually, by the time the honeymoon phase ends, you can see which direction your relationship is going. Then comes the next stage- The adjustment phase.
2) Adjustment Stage
The next stage is “the adjustment phase.” Which happens when all the novelty wears off and the couple starts to get to know one another better. We take off our rose-colored glasses and see each other more realistically.
This can be a very difficult stage if one partner is dissatisfied with the situation. But it’s natural for all relationships to go through an adjustment period.
Here’s where you realize that your partner isn’t entirely perfect. You might even get irritated by things that didn’t bother you during the honeymoon stage.
Characteristics of the adjustment phase
The adjustment phase is characterized by increased intimacy, a willingness to adjust and accept each other’s flaws. Increasing dependence on one another, and overcoming insecurities caused by past relationships.
It’s in this stage that couples talk about their past relationships and resolve their unresolved issues. These discussions are often more intense than during the honeymoon phase because your partner is no longer perceived as idealized.
How long does the adjustment stage take
Since it might take a long time for you and your partner to get to know one another and the necessary adjustment that you need to find a balance. This period might range from six months to three years.
3) Power Struggle Stage
The next phase is “the power struggle stage.” Where both partners have different opinions on how a relationship should be run. This is the testiest period of dating, and it’s easy for you to lose your cool over relatively minor issues. You’ll probably pick arguments over things that don’t really matter.
During the power struggle, the couple is in a constant state of tension and conflict. But if both partners can learn to communicate effectively with one another, this is actually a good thing. It shows that there’s a real basis for concern about how they’re going to get along later on.
Characteristics of the power struggle stage
The power struggle phase is characterized by;- a breakdown in communication, an unwillingness to acknowledge your partner’s wants and needs, a loss of interest, and constant tension.
How long does the power struggle stage last
This stage can last for months or even years if you’re not able to work through it?
This period might last until one partner withdraws from the relationship or makes a conscious decision to change his or her behavior toward their partner.
The earlier stages of a relationship are often characterized by conflict, but the more couples struggle in this stage, the more likely they are to split up or move on to the next phase.
4) Exhaustion Stage
Next comes the “exhaustion phase.” This occurs when one partner starts to feel as if they’re doing more than their fair share of the work in the relationship.
This kind of imbalance can make you feel resentful and do things to sabotage your own happiness; it’s hard to be satisfied with any relationship when one partner feels like he or she is doing all the work.
Characteristics of the exhaustion phase
The exhaustion phase is characterized by a loss of optimism, resentment, and withdrawal from the relationship.
It’s also in this stage that one partner often begins to feel as if he or she has made a big commitment without any guarantee that it will turn into anything. This can make even the most confident person begin to question their ability to find happiness in a new relationship.
How long does the exhaustion stage last
This stage usually lasts for a few months. It can last longer if the couple doesn’t find a way to address the issues that are causing them to pull away from each other.
In this stage, you might start to focus on your own needs and interests rather than those of your partner. If your partner is doing the same thing, then it’s likely that he or she will feel as if they’ve given up a lot more in order to be with you.
During this time, a couple may decide to split up. Those who want to continue on will eventually progress into the next phase, the “Uncertainty stage”.
Related Post: When is it time to end a relationship?
5) Uncertainty stage
The fifth stage in the stages of dating is labeled and marked by a lot of questioning and doubts. The “uncertainty phase,” is often brought on by the stress of the exhaustion stage. This stage usually starts about six months in when you and your partner have overcome the Exhaustion Stage.
In this stage, you’ll start to wonder if you’re really compatible with your partner and whether or not you should stay in the relationship.
In this stage, most couples wonder if they made the right decision to stay together or if they should go their separate ways. The doubt stage starts when you begin to question the strength of your relationship and wonder if it’s worth continuing on.
Characteristics of the uncertainty stage
Common characteristics of this phase include. Questioning whether or not you’ve done the right thing by staying with your partner. Feeling insecure about whether or not they still love you, and feeling generally unhappy with the relationship.
How long does the doubt stage last
This stage can last anywhere from a few months to a year or more. It really depends on how long it takes for you and your partner to work through your doubts and come to a resolution about whether or not you should stay together.
6) Maturity phase
If you reach the maturity stage, it means that you and your partner have overcome the doubt phase of your relationship. This is probably one of the most important stages because it marks a time when both partners feel as if they’ve matured in some way through the relationship.
The maturity phase is characterized by feelings of growth and commitment to one another. The feelings of doubt and insecurity that come up in the previous phase are replaced with a greater understanding and awareness of the way each partner thinks, feels, and what they need from one another.
Characteristics of the maturity phase
In this stage, both partners feel as if there is more to gain from staying together than there is to lose by splitting up.
Although they may still have occasional doubts, these only last for a short amount of time and don’t pose any real threat to their decision to remain committed to one another.
How long does the maturity stage last
The maturity phase usually lasts anywhere from six months to two years or more; some couples even say that it’s not really over until they’re engaged or even married!
Those who stay in this stage for a long time begin to wonder whether their story is more than just dating. And at this point, they enter the second phase of evaluation, often known as the re-evaluation period.
7) Re-evaluation stage
The final stage in the stages of dating is called the re-evaluation phase. This occurs when you and your partner have been together for a long time, have worked through the previous stages, and are starting to feel as if there is no more room for growth or change.
In this stage, you and your partner will start to evaluate your relationship more closely and ask yourselves whether or not it’s really what you want. This is a time when many couples begin to think about getting married or moving on to a new stage in their relationship.
Characteristics of the re-evaluation stage
Some common characteristics of this stage include a desire to either get married or move on from your relationship. You’ll start thinking about what you want out of life and whether or not your relationship fits in with those plans.
How long does the re-evaluation phase last?
The re-evaluation period can last anywhere from a few weeks to one year. It really depends on how long it takes for you and your partner to come to a final decision about the future of your relationship.
Some couples can go through these stages relatively quickly, while others might take a little longer. The important thing is that you and your partner work through each stage in a healthy and productive way.
It’s here that couples decide to join premarital counseling and start their next step in marriage conversations.
8) Engagement Stage
If you and your partner reach the engagement stage, it means that you’ve decided to take your relationship to the next level. This is a time when couples typically start to plan their wedding and begin to see each other in a more serious light.
Related Post: Premarital counseling before or after engagement?
Characteristics of the engagement stage
The engagement stage is often characterized by feelings of excitement and happiness. You and your partner will start to plan your future together and think about all the wonderful things that are yet to come.
How long does the engagement stage last?
The engagement stage typically lasts anywhere from six months to a year. However, there’s no set time limit and it really depends on how ready you and your partner feel to get married.
Conclusion: 8 Stages of Dating
It’s helpful to be aware of the normal progression of dating so that you’re better prepared for the challenges and changes that come along with it.
As long as both partners are willing to work through the tough stages, they can look forward to a healthy and happy relationship. Thanks for reading!