The Relationship Cycle
Being apart of many Facebook support groups I noticed a lot of adolescents suffering from some sort of depression caused by break ups and relationship drama. I believe by understanding our emotions and human behaviours we can be armed with a good understanding of how we act as humans. With this ammunition we can better train our minds to prepare and look for some behaviours to understand some of the situations life throws at us. In past posts I went into some common emotions we see as negative to see how they can help us; In this article I am going through what I believe is a basic cycle of many relationships. I cannot speak for all relationships but I have noticed these common behaviours in a large number of relationships my friends, family and even I had.
Stage 1: Attraction / Infatuation.
This to me is the stage of a relationship a lot of "love" songs are sung about. That lovely feeling of butterflies in the stomach. During this stage the sun is always warm and bright in the sky. We perceive very few faults in our partner. This is the first phase of all relationships, an initial attraction. I personally like to think of this as infatuation or lust. When I type, "define infatuation" into the Google search bar I receive this as a definition:
an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.
During infatuation our brains are releasing a large amount of two hormones: dopamine and adrenaline. This creates a natural high and euphoric feeling we often feel during initial attraction. Although many hormones are released in our processes these two are most prominent. This feeling can last a few days up to two years. This may be the reason why in some relationships can be going well and then one partner suddenly loses interest.
Stage 2: Confrontation of Faults and Differences.
As we get further into the relationship the natural high ends. Like life we are full of ups and downs and our relationships are no different. It is inevitable to never argue or get upset at our partners. We are all humans and we all make mistakes. We are, by no means, perfect.
During this stage we may realize our partner isn't perfect but we can make do with these stages.
Stage 3: Crisis of Disappointment.
As I stated in stage two we are not perfect and we all mistakes. This can be the beginning of a number of arguments. We begin to truly see our partner for what they really are and how they live. This is, in my opinion a crucial stage. How we handle these arguments can make or break the relationship. This is why I have made stage 4 have two parts: Love or the Acceptance of Separation. Hoping all relationships work out I will cover Love first. Communication is the key in this part of the relationship to grow as a person. How you handle this part of a relationship can make you grow as a person no matter the outcome.
Stage 4a: LOVE
To me love is peace. Hoping we handled our differences properly we can nourish our relationship into a sub cycle of love and commitment. We can make peace with any argument and grow together as a couple. We begin to have a deep affection towards one another. In my opinion we need commitment towards our partner to maintain love, and we need love to maintain commitment.
My advice in this stage is to remember all the little things you liked about your partner in stage one. We all have our ups and downs and this will certainly reminds you why you two are together. In my experience its the many little things that can make or break a relationship, not the big ones.
Stage 4b: Acceptance of Separation.
I hate to be the negative person but I need to be realistic for a moment. Not all relationships can succeed. There is a point where there is so many differences in stage 3 it may be better to cut our loses on the relationship and move on. We can cry, go through stages of denial, sadness, anger and more sadness. We are cutting what is left of our natural high so our hormones may be a little out of wack here. Don't worry practise some of the strategies in this blog, learn and grow as a person and you can have another relationship coming your way soon. Just... don't forget to grow as an individual too.
Stage 5: Attachment
I originally called this stage a cycle of love and commitment as you can see in Stage 4a, however recent studies have show we eventually become attached to our partner and have a co-dependancy on each other. As I explained in my article, How to Change, neurons that wire together fire together. Often this stage develops over time and is literally a physical dependancy on our partner. This however is a full study in its self.
I wish you the best in your relationship and hope that this simple blog post can save a great deal of dwelling in depression in post break up or push you forward to even better relationships. Relationships are a tricky balance, so is life. Life isn't always great but we can make it alright.