Back to Home
STAGES OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
© Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.
Stage I: Infatuation
After three or four dates:
- Frequently sexual relationship begins.
- Thrill of someone new who gives me positive attention
and likes me.
- I finally found the person I have been looking for.
- I love the feelings: love; being in love and desired.
- Enmeshment: No differences/people pleasing.
- Arent we compatible!
Question: Is it chemistry or do I really like this
Stage II: Initial but Limited Commitment (6 weeks to
Many relationships never leave this stage even after
- Only one partner: relationship is exclusive.
- Conflict: real self in each person emerges.
- People pleasing ceases: May feel annoyed by person's
habits when they were not noticed before.
- Differences emerge: infatuation ends and is replaced
with deeper understanding and appreciation of the partner.
- Problems emerge: when differences emerge. These differences
are either worked through/negotiated with a compromise
or ignored with more distance such as seeing less of the
person or avoiding certain subjects. Many couples break-up
over differences and may even perceive these differences
as a personal attack on them. (Example: you are not talkative
or cheerful in the morning because you are not a morning
- New partner is integrated into network of friends and
family/ with feedback and support from them.
- Couples typically live together somewhere in this stage.
(One study showed partners who live together more than
two years frequently do not marry each other.)
- Can stay in this stage indefinitely.
Major questions of this stage: Is
this relationship the "right" one for me ? Do I
want a permanent commitment with this person?
Stage III: Permanent Commitment
Stage IV: Early Marriage/Commitment
Planning the future together.
Settling into marriage, developing routines and accepting
Acknowledgement by the world that you are permanent (ceremony).
The Power Struggle/Conflict emerges again.
This power struggle must take place and leads to the
question: Can I be me and still be in this relationship?
Stage V: Recommitment
Exits are blocked. Recommitment to marriage or permanence
and to your partner as the chosen one. This takes place only
after each partner has determined they can be who they are
and be in a permanent commitment.
Is this love, comfort, fun, and support or is this boredom?
(There is boredom if true self has been submerged, conflict
has been suppressed, and the lack of tension and increasing
distance has killed the closeness.)
RECOMMITMENT IS A LIFELONG, ONGOING, REWARDING AND GROWING
For an appointment for counseling for relationship issues, shyness,
self-esteem issues, codependency, or other psychological concerns call or text:
Dr. Nancy Wesson at (650) 965-7332 • E-mail Dr.
Professional background & approach to counseling
of Nancy Wesson, Ph.D.