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Sep 24, 2018

The 5 Stages Of Love – Unfortunately, Many Couples Get Stuck On Stage 3

We all want real, lasting love, whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. Yet too many marriages fall apart and most people don’t know why. They mistakenly believe that they have chosen the wrong partner. After going through the grieving process, they start looking again. But after more than forty years as a marriage and family counselor I have found that most people are looking for love in all the wrong places. They don’t understand that Stage 3 is not the end, but the real beginning for achieving real, lasting love:
1: Falling In Love – Everything is New and Exciting
2: Becoming a Couple – Falling Harder and Settling Down
3: Disillusionment – Life Takes Hold
4: Creating Real, Lasting Love – A Deeper Understanding
5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World – Moving Forward Together

If your love can persist past stage three, and onto stage four and five, you will emerge with a relationship that is stable, secure, and honest. Knowing these stages are normal and expected can help you to navigate through them.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu.

1: Falling In Love – Everything is New and Exciting

Falling in love is nature’s trick to get humans to pick a mate so that our species carries on. It feels so wonderful because we are awash in hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen. Falling in love also feels great because we project all our hopes and dreams on our lover.
We imagine that they will fulfill our desires, give us all the things we didn’t get as children, deliver on all the promises our earlier relationships failed to fulfill. We are sure we will remain in love forever. And because we are besotted with “love hormones,” we’re not aware of any of this.
When we’re in love, we dismiss naysayers like curmudgeon George Bernard Shaw who cautioned:
“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”

2: Becoming a Couple – Falling Harder and Settling Down

In stage two, you have officially entered ‘couplehood.’ You have decided this is the person you love and have committed to each other.
Sex might still be frequent, but like the rest of life, has become more routine, but more profound and more meaningful. Marriage and children generally happen during this stage.
Routines start to take the place of spontaneity, and you have let down your walls and are comfortable being your truest selves around each other. Adult responsibilities begin to creep back in as you figure out your roles.

3: Disillusionment – Life Takes Hold

This is the reality check. And not the good type of one unfortunately.
This is when most of the passion of the previous stages has worn off.
By this time a lot of the care, love, romantic affection has kinda worn off, and it has been replaced by things like anger, resentment and dissatisfaction.
Most couples throw the towel at this point, thinking nothing can be salvaged and they rarely ever even want to try to. But if one is willing to work, even miracles are possible!
This is the stage where most relationships fail and marriages end. But it is very important to get past this stage!

4: Creating Real, Lasting Love – A Deeper Understanding

If you make it through stage three, you will start to see each other for who you really are. You might not be the same people you were during stage two, for a lot has likely happened since then – career changes, children, moves, or other life events.
You no longer expect the world of each other and have gotten better about communicating your needs and wants. Stage four allows you to acknowledge the unhappiness you felt in stage three, and find methods for moving forward together, flaws and all.

5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World – Moving Forward Together

Once you have succeeded, you help others work through their issues and overcome them. You try to use your love to actively change the world around.
You let others see the story they want in their lives and in doing so, you inspire them into bettering their own selves.
Maybe you make a commitment to travel more or to prioritize playing together. Finding ways to grow individually, while also spending time together, is a beautiful way to rekindle a romance.
THIS is the fullest potential of love!
New love is the brightest, and long love is the greatest, but revived love is the tenderest thing known on earth. —Thomas Hardy

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