The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation. This influences where, how and in what order such listings appear on this site.
Advertising Disclosure

Relationship Stages That Most Couples Will Go Through

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
A happy couple smiling at one another while at a festival
The exciting thing about being in a relationship is that it probably won't be the same in a year or even a month from today because relationships evolve over time. If you're just starting a relationship, knowing the stages of a relationship can help you understand what to expect.

If they've been dating for a while, couples may go through a rut and assume that this means there's a problem in the relationship when it's really just the normal waxing and waning of passion. Understanding the stages in a relationship can prevent you from being unnecessarily alarmed if this happens and can help you keep your love strong the whole way through.

The ways in which relationships evolve are not all negative. Often, relationships get stronger over time, and excitement and passion can increase if both people put in the effort. Here are a few common stages relationships go through and how to make the most of each.

Different Stages of a Relationship

What are the different stages a relationship goes through? It will vary from couple to couple, but here are a few common stages.

The Honeymoon Phase

When people talk about the early passion in a relationship that often fades as time goes on, they're usually referring to the honeymoon phase. This phase typically occurs during the first six months to two years of a relationship when two people are getting to know each other and forming a relationship. Usually, it's an exciting time because everything is new.

Couples who have been together longer can recreate elements of the honeymoon phase by spending time apart, taking trips, and going on adventures together to create a sense of thrill.

The Attachment Phase

Once two people get into a routine with each other several years in, they form what psychologists call an attachment. An attachment is a close connection that involves expectations of regular contact and support on both sides. During this stage, people often have a deeper and more intense love for their partner.

The Crisis Phase

Five to seven years in, a couple that has been together for a while often goes through a crisis, whether that is sparked by cheating, a major disagreement, difficulties with parenting, or something that jeopardizes the relationship.

How couples handle a crisis will determine how strong their relationship is going forward, so it's important to practice good listening and communication skills.

The Deep Attachment Phase

After seven years, couples who can survive a crisis often end up experiencing a deep attachment to their partner. This profound love stems not just from attraction and compatibility but also from facing hardship together.

If you have reached this stage, the chances are high that your relationship will last a lifetime.

Important Aspects of Each Stage

Here's what is so important about these stages, broken down one by one.

The Honeymoon Phase

This phase may begin while people are still using dating sites to get to know a bunch of different people. It may be tempting to delete your dating app profiles as soon as you feel this infatuation, but you can extend the honeymoon phase by taking your time before making a commitment.

The Attachment Phase

This is a time when some of the excitement may die down, so it's important to make an effort to continue growing together and learning new things about each other. If you want to get back some of the excitement of getting to know each other for the first time, you can use one of the best relationship apps to connect with your partner in new ways.

The Crisis Phase

How your partner behaves during a crisis reveals a lot about them. If you don't make it through this phase, it doesn't mean your relationship failed; it means you succeeded in discovering what does and doesn't work for you.

You will know when to start dating again by asking yourself what you've learned from the relationship and how you'll take those lessons to your next one. If it doesn't work out, you can always use apps like Zoosk or EliteSingles to find your next partner.

The Deep Attachment Phase

During the deep attachment phase, your relationship will be stable and you'll have made it through a lot, but that doesn't mean it's time to stop putting effort into your relationship. Make a point to continue getting to know each other, trying new things together, and working on your relationship.

Who Usually Pulls Away From a Relationship in the Early Stages?

Some people wonder which gender mostly pulls away in the early stages of a relationship. The truth is that the tendency to pull away is less about gender and more about attachment style, which is essentially how someone forms bonds. Our early relationships with our parents, caregivers, siblings, and peers shape our attachment style. There are four main types, evenly distributed across all genders.

Secure Attachment

People with a secure attachment style generally feel confident in their ability to form lasting relationships and don't excessively worry about losing a partner. They can show affection and put their feelings on the table while also taking time and space for themselves.

Anxious Attachment

Those with an anxious attachment style tend to be worried about losing the people they care about and will often go to great lengths to keep them in their lives. These people may have trouble saying no and may sacrifice their own needs for a partner's.

Avoidant Attachment

People with an avoidant attachment style are afraid of becoming too reliant on others. They often prefer to spend time alone so that they don't have to deal with the unpredictability of relationships and may push partners away so that they don't get pushed away themselves.

Disorganized Attachment

These people have a combination of anxious and avoidant attachment styles. At times, they may chase a partner, and at other times, they may run away.

As you might guess, people with avoidant or disorganized attachment styles usually pull away at the beginning of a relationship. They may be afraid that if they get close to somebody, that person will hurt them. They may also want to appear to care less so that they feel like they have more power.

If this sounds like you, just be conscious of when you might be avoiding your partner or hiding your feelings and make an effort to be vulnerable and get close to them even when it feels scary.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach.