Category Archives: my “original” theory of relationship stages

Relationship Processing

Standard

I have not studied any recent findings on “New Relationships” nor do

I have any recent psychology classes. I have chosen some rhyming

words to include fun in my processing the stages of relationships.

Here’s the rough skeleton of my  own “original” theory:

Forming

Each beginning, “blossoming” relationship involves questions, deep

thinking and seeing if any, or most, of the commonalities between the

two people, line up. Learning how to become a couple is a fascinating

process.

I think everyone enjoys this new phase of a relationship. This is when you

both are running on no sleep, some may say “running on pure adrenaline.”

This is because you stay up online, on the phone or in person talking and

almost “negotiating” your way through the exciting labyrinth of “getting to

know each other.”

Storming

There is such a long “honeymoon” period usually in dating and getting to

know each other that the “first fight” or disagreement can really disrupt or

tip the apple cart! How each individual copes with the disagreement is an

interesting test to the balance and outcome. Hopefully, you will move on to

the next stage.

Reforming

Recuperating from the situation is an important element to growing and

learning more about each other. How we handle stress in a relationship

can make or break it. Sometimes acceptance, encouragement and some

form of apology on both parts can make this stage pass quickly. The roles

in the relationship are reformed to accommodate upheavals, in the very

best of relationships this becomes a seamless process.

Performing

This one was a stretch on the rhyming but I do feel that we have a “part” to

“play” in a couple. It is a process of learning who is the one who likes to set

up the social occasions and keep the couple’s calendar. There is learning

who likes to cook, who likes to clean and other simple tasks can become

part of this performing well and becoming “symbiotic.” Moving forward to

more complicated involvement will include banking, bookkeeping and how

you handle a life together. When two people can totally feel (and understand)

how the other feels they become “empathetic.”

Norming

If the dating, learning all the ins and outs of each other, is successful then

this phase continues for the rest of the relationship. How much time passes

depending on the couple. I have known people who take years to reach the

place they have become balanced and “normed.”

The team work and partnership should proceed to be normalized. Both of you

are handling the best and worst of times without breaking up. There have been

few upsets or discontent. You have become what people call the “perfect couple.”

(But no one really is!) I like to label this “norming.” It could actually be also

termed “functioning normally.”

If, at any stage of your relationship, there is verbal, physical or mental abuse then

this stage will never come about. I have gone into the abnormal relationships in

stories of women I met at the battered women’s shelter; also, the couple (Maria and

Miguel) in my apartment building.

Ideally, partners live together and occasionally will follow this last sequence of events:

Team work = Marriage/ Side by Side