The Stages of a Relationship

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Remember that giddy, heady feeling when your heart skips a bit from sheer anticipation? Your thoughts are swirling deliciously with every sensory experience reenacting itself repeatedly in your mind. There is delight in every text and phone call with an analysis of every word and intonation. Adrenaline is at its peak, releasing hormones of hunger and desire of the other person’s presence. It is hard to think and to concentrate on anything else. Just the thought of that person causes a racy sweat that blurs the mind.

Then questions permeate the soul. One tends to relive, recount, recall, and reanalyze every interaction. Does that person feel the same way? Is he/she thinking of anyone else? Are they attracted to anyone else? This creates an urgency if texts or calls are not returned within an acceptable period of time. And then, there is a surge of relief upon reuniting. A sense of unstable assurance that perpetually created and recreates that heady feeling of a new and exciting relationship. Commonalities are latched upon easily and agreeability is at its peak. No one wants to rock this boat of happiness and perfection; one sees what one desires to see. Any annoyances are repressed and everyone is usually on their best behavior in this dance of relationship creation. If you make it to the fourth or fifth date, this usually describes -The First 3 Months or “The Honeymoon Phase.”

Enter months 4-6 (IF YOU MAKE IT). A sense of reality furtively breaks through and a person’s true proclivities and personality preferences begin to surface. Disagreements, although unwelcome and previously avoided, emerge. Differences are more apparent or similarities may prove to be incompatible.

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Who are the Introverts/Extroverts? Extroverts receive their energy from the outer world of people and activity. Introverts get energized from their inner world of thoughts, ideas and reflection. Introverts get drained from too much activity and extroverts become drained from too little activity.  An introverted partner may ask- Why is he staying so long at that party? Why doesn’t he just want to go home and be with me? Why does he need such a large group of friends and have to spend so much time keeping in touch? An extrovert may wonder- Why is she retreating, when we are just warming up and starting to have a fun time?  Why isn’t she more social? She only has a handful of close friends and why are they are constantly in deep conversations?

Is he/she a Sensor or an Intuitive? A Sensor is concrete and focuses on details, where an Intuitive is big picture with an imagination to match. An intuitive may wonder- Why is he (S) always so focused on every detail? He is overlooking the big picture and only sees what is in front of his face! Everything has to be sequential and one step at a time.  Why is he so practical all the time? He (S) thinks, why is her head always in the clouds (N)? She is so impractical. She always overlooks the details. She always has to try things in a new and different way! It’s exhausting! 

This second preference is how a person takes in information. The Sensor (S)  and the Intuitive (N) process information very differently. Both perspectives are essential and of course there is a spectrum of every preference from low to moderate to high. The higher the preference the greater the preference description fits the person. The very way we communicate is highly affected. The majority of miscommunication and misunderstandings stem from this preference. The S/N preference in my opinion, is the greatest predictor of a couple’s future happiness and an indication of the amount of compromise that will be required.  Effective communication is crucial in every kind of relationship!

The third preference that is more obvious and may begin to cause angst in any relationship is the way a person makes his/her decisions. Are they more logical and stick to the facts (Thinker) or T or more emotional and make their decisions with their heart (Feeler) or F? This can be very interesting in arguments and or discussions. The language is very different for both preferences. People will perceive the conversation quite differently if it is not expressed in their “language.” Thinkers tend to use more objective, unemotional, direct verbiage, where Feelers use value based language. You might also be able to tell a Feeler by the way they write. The more exclamation points that are used, the more of a Feeler they usually are. This preference may get hidden or subconsciously overlooked in the first three months in order to maintain and hold onto the relationship. People may acquiesce to the other’s way of thinking and communicating in order to not “rock the boat.” Upon becoming more comfortable in the relationship, arguments may begin to occur because of these differences. A Feeler may complain that the Thinker is being too insensitive and conversely, the Thinker may express that the Feeler is too sensitive.

The Judger (J)/ Perceiver (P) dynamic definitely has its impact on relationships. The fourth preference reflects how a person likes to lead their lives. Are they more scheduled and organized ( J), or more spontaneous and like a more flexible, adaptable life (P)? This preference impacts on everyday life and is indeed the source of where many comedy writers are inspired when creating their material.. Think in extremes of Felix (J) and Oscar (P) from The Odd Couple. A classic source of laughter is the dynamic between Alice (J) and Ralph (P) Kramden for The Honeymooners. The “P” partner will ask the “S” partner- Why can’t you just be more go with the flow? Why can’t you be more spontaneous? Why does it matter if we are a little late? Why are you so uptight if I leave a few items lying around? Conversely, the “J” partner will question- Why can’t you just be more organized; it’s so easy to put things away in their proper place? How come you just can’t make a decision- it’s always perhaps or maybe or we’ll see?

The serious evaluation period (IF YOU MAKE IT), occurs in the 7-9 month period. This is a time of acceptance, avoidance, denial, epiphany, compromise, continued happiness/ joy or the determination to make it a happy/ joyful relationship, when in reality, it does not exist. Change is hard and inborn preferences are set. Does this person match your mental list or is it just too difficult to start over again? There are still many layers to peel and certain layers only reveal themselves when specific situations and variables exist. How does your partner react to outside forces such as extended family, finances, travel expectations and friends?  Do you have the same morals and values? Do you share a love of similar leisure activities? Do you want a soulmate, helpmate, mindmate or playmate? How would you prioritize them and what percentage would you assign to each?

If you are realistic and open your eyes and heart fully and objectively, the end of 9 months may just signal- “The Birth of a Relationship.”  Time and patience will tell…

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Published by susanepsteinlifecoach

I am a certified Life Coach Relationship/MBTI Personality Types Consultant who specializes in finding your authentic self and relationship counseling. I give clarity to who you are and what you are searching for in friendships and relationships. I can help you to hone in on your special qualities and the people who would bring joy into your life. Although, my passion is pre-relationship/early relationship, I can also bring light into established couples and post relationships.

3 thoughts on “The Stages of a Relationship

  1. Wow, an abridged or CliffsNotes version of my absolute favorite class!!! You know how much I love this analysis of relationships and how each partner’s individual personality creates their own unique blend. I wish I knew about the personality types and relationships when I was dating. It would have saved me a lot of stress and pain. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog and it is written in a way that couples can understand. There is so much more to learn from you!!! This is just a smattering of a topic that has always intrigued me and can help foster so many new relationships. Personality types and their analysis can be used in ALL relationships not just when searching for love. I use it daily!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A follower of mine private messaged me her response to this blog. The names have been changed to protect the writer’s privacy. She gave me permission to post.

    “After reading this I wonder how Marc and I were attracted to each other and how we’ve stayed together all these years. He and I are polar opposites in every way you mentioned. I’m very much an introvert and he is an extrovert extraordinaire. I’m an intuitive kind of person and he’s a sensor. We often feel like we’re speaking two different languages and I definitely compromise a lot more than he does. He’s a thinker and I’m a feeler. He always focuses on details to a degree that can make me want to scream. He’s a judger and I’m a perceiver. I’m so much more easy going and “whatever” and he’s a total planner and even reorganizes what I do! I’m sure I made serious evaluations at various points in our relationship and I guess I just accepted the fact that we’re different and I‘d have to be more flexible and able to compromise to make “us” work. Sometimes it does get tiring. I suppose he’s never going to “lighten up”.
    – Ellie

    Liked by 2 people

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