Key Tips for Successfully Dealing with all 5 Stages of a Relationship

by Elaine Sihera - Date: 2007-04-20 - Word Count: 1044 Share This!

As described in my other articles on this subject, there are 5 key stages to any relationship between two people seeking love:
1. Selection
2. Besotment
3. Familiarisation
4. Alignment
5. Reinforcement

Relationships break up because people are unskilled in dealing with the different stages of getting to know one another and then bottle out when things get rough. The only guaranteed stage of fulfilment is the SELECTION stage. This is very exciting and it feels great when we believe we have selected the right person for us. If that is the case, the besotment with one another is likely to become more intense, occupying each other's time and thoughts.

The main thing to remember at this stage of selection is that all that glitters is NOT gold! Keep an open mind here, no matter how difficult it is to do so. Keep expectations to a minimum too. Don't burden this selection with your expectation of permanence because that person might just be there to boost your confidence and esteem for the next stage of your journey. Just be patient and allow the reason for the friendship to unfold. It could be magical as your anxieties are then reduced to a minimum. Rather than fretting about anything at all relating to your choice, whether it is the right choice, or how long you both might last, you will merely enjoy that person AS THEY ARE. You will enjoy each day without worrying about tomorrow or next year, and allow the both of you to get used to each other and gradually appreciate what you both desire. Instead of wondering where you are heading, GIVE THANKS for someone being in your life to love you, for no matter how long, and enjoy every single second. It's a desire to control things why we worry about the future when today could be all we have! That's also why you get hurt - unrealistic expectations or too much negativity.

This is obviously the most fulfilling stage in a relationship with all the sexual and intimate activities which tend to dominate. DON'T try to control anything either by dictating the direction of the friendship or exactly when you should see each other. Let that evolve and unfold too, but with enough space between you to miss each other sometimes. Don't question your partner's movements when you are apart or try to dictate what should happen when you meet. Again, concensus is very important. Allowing new friendships to breathe through a lack of control will enable greater respect and commitment to develop. Sometimes we are so keen to move things along quickly, we kill their potential. Just letting things develop at their own pace is likely to be more enjoyable, and surprising, than just wanting development to conform to individual expectations as soon as possible. Above all, BE YOURSELF at this stage. Do not allow the heady feeling of love to encourage you to be what you're not to suit a partner. You will regret it badly later on when truth is out and you are perceived as a fraud or liar. If someone truly loves you, they will like you for who you are, not what they wish you to become.

This is the worse stage of a relationship as two virtual strangers try to get used to one another in the same confined space. This is also the time when parents are likely to interfere and give their pennies worth, making matters worse. You both have you keep your cool, to resist blaming and accusing; to stand up for each other against pushy parents: to allow yourselves the time to appreciate each other as people with faults and not superhuman, perfect beings. This is the time to be more compromising and amenable, not just to insist on what you each desire, but to genuinely try to see the other's point of view. It is also a time not to make rash decisions, especially after arguments, but to try to LISTEN to the other person, no matter what you are hearing. If you are only listening to your own voice, how can anyone hear what you have to say too? They will also be switching off. As a rule, do remember that if we wish for respect we have to give it to others. Compassion, real care and understanding are the hallmarks of this stage because this is the time when most relationships don't make it because if a natural break down in seeing eye to eye. Patience and much give and take are crucial in this phase.

This is a danger time for taking our partners for granted; for just accepting their company without reinforcing them or giving gratitude for what they bring to our lives. Praise and reinforcement are crucial here. As alignment comes after a long period together it is easy to treat partners with less respect than they deserve. Closer friendship is required during this time, especially spending quality time together and being loyal and committed to one another. Outside interests should never be allowed to take over home life neither should meanspiritedness be allowed to develop to prevent you appreciating loved ones in your life regularly and sincerely. This is a time for rekindling any romance and really enjoying each other as the children leave home and more time for love becomes available.

This period can have a sense of regret to it, especially if you look back on the past (not advised!) wishing you had done certain things in your life and career, but that needn't be so if each partner is reinforcing and appreciating of the other. Often this can be a sexless and loveless experience too where partners just exist as companions instead of lovers, creating feelings of low esteem in those who seek more love and appreciation. But with the freedom to do as you both please, this could be the most exciting times for doing just that and you should take advantage of it to enrich your existence.

Remember that relationships are meant to enhance us. If you don't feel enhanced by your current relationship, what stage is it at and what else could you both be doing to significantly increase its value to your life and your level of enjoyment?

Related Tags: friends, friendship, commitment, happiness, respect, quality time, interests, alignment, congruence

ELAINE SIHERA (Ms Cyprah - and is an expert author, public speaker, media contributor and lifestyle columnist. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University. Elaine is a CONFIDENCE guru and a Personal Empowerment, Relationships and Diversity Consultant. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise and Managing the Diversity Maze, among others (available on as well as her personal website). Also the founder of the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Men and Women of the Year Achievement Awards. She describes herself as, "Fit, Fabulous, Over-fifty and Ready to Fly!"

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