All relationships including the romantic ones are unique. However, all of them have certain stages of development. Knowing a phase of your relations can be useful because it helps to understand better what is necessary to do to move further and feel satisfied. Unfortunately, even this information does not save from conflicts that occasionally happen. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to apply the knowledge about the stages of romantic relationships and conflict resolution in order to analyze my own relations. The goal will be achieved through a careful examination of all eight stages of relationships and study of the conflict that I have experienced.

Stages of Relationships

Relationships have eight stages. They are initiating, exploratory, intensification, stable, declining, repair, termination and reconciliation.

Initiating stage refers to the period in relations when a person meets someone for the first time and establishes the first contact. It can happen, for instance, in the classroom or in the store. I first saw my partner dancing at the party. Our first phrase was “Hey! What’s your name?” Then, we decided to exchange the phone numbers. This phase is important because people usually decide whether they want to move toward the next stage or not. The following decision is usually based on the first impression. As for my relationships, I am sure we have already completed the initial stage because the first contact was two years ago.

The second phase is the exploratory stage. At this stage, partners try to get some superficial information about each other. For example, they may ask about a favorite film or kind of music. Besides, they tend to observe the behavior of the potential lover. This period is important because people usually evaluate all the drawbacks and benefits of further relationships during it. I also experienced it with my partner. It did not last long, but during it, I learned about my partner’s main interests, behavior, general values. For example, I realized that my lover is extrovert, sociable, honest and likes watching romantic films, listening to rock music and travelling.

The third phase is intensification. It starts when relationships become intimate. Partners start giving pet names or other informal names to address each other. They also use “we” instead of “I” talking to each other. Partners understand non-verbal communication between each other and want to share their affection. For example, people may say that they cannot live without each other and want to stay together forever. As for my relationship, I believe that they have already completed the intensification stage. Like other couples in this period, we started addressing each other using pet names such as “kitty” or “honey.” We also began using “we” while talking about our relations. For example, we said, “We are going to the party on Sunday.” I started understanding the mood of my partner just from the facial expressions and gestures. I also could realize whether my lover lied or told the truth without words. Finally, we started talking very much about our affection to each other. We were sure that we would always be together. In fact, all these things are common for relations even now, but the latter have evolved.

The fourth level is stable. The stable stage means that partners do not consider their relations temporary. They know a significant amount of information about each other. Their attitudes are based on realistic perceptions. Besides, the partners know why they are in relationships. Romantic relations at the stable stage continue to develop. Scientists divided this period into two substages that are integrating and bonding. The integrating one denotes the period when partners “become one.” For example, they may try to have common friends, develop the same views about the things. They can both like a certain film or book or share possessions. Society also treats them as a couple. People invite them to the parties not separately but together. Bonding means that partners start sending symbolic messages to the society to state that they are together and are proud of it. For example, they can inform about their engagement, buy a house or get married. As for my romantic relationships, I believe that they are at the stable stage, particularly at the integrating substage. We also try to get the same friends, and our opinions about many things are similar. For example, when we watch new films, we usually give others the same review. In addition, our friends always invite us to the parties as a pair. As for sharing property, we do not do this because we study at school and live with our parents. Nevertheless, we sometimes purchase some small things such as CDs or books that we share. Unfortunately, we are not mature enough for the bonding substage.

If the partners do not work on their relations, they experience the declining stage. There are some signs of this period. First, a person can feel that his/her partner criticizes him/her more often. Second, a partner does not agree to talk about the things important for the other person. Third, a person can experience the situations when his/her partner talks aggressively. In other words, negative behaviors happen more often than the positive ones. Scientists distinguish three factors that cause the declining stage. They are unmet expectations, interference and uncertainty events. My romantic relationships did not reach this stage because we try not to criticize each other very often, talk about things that worry each of us and treat each other with respect and love.

However, relationships in decline can be repaired. Partners can achieve this by improving their communication, trying to focus on benefits, considering a partner’s perspective and accepting outside support. My relationships are not at the decline stage, so they are obviously not at the repair one as well. However, tactics used in this phase can be useful for preventing the decline one.

In the case if repair is not effective, relationships reach the termination stage. There are two ways of finishing relations such as passing away and sudden death. Passing away denotes a gradual termination of relationships, whereas sudden death means their abrupt ending. Fortunately, my relationships are not at this stage because we value our love and try to save it.

However, even after reaching the termination stage couples can be together. It is called reconciliation stage. It can happen when ex-partners spend much time together due to having common children, stay friends, avoid each other and start missing being together. My relationships were not at this stage because they were not terminated.


We have had only a few conflicts during two years of our relationships. One of them happened when I refused to go shopping with my partner. My lover enjoys buying clothes and can spend hours searching for the desired goods, whereas I hate shopping and usually buy the first things I see. Nevertheless, the conflict was productive because we learned how to talk to each other in the difficult situation. The conflict also was a declining stage in our relationships due to the continuous debates, temporary avoidance of each other and criticizing of each other’s opinions. The trigger was errors in perception. I thought that my partner wanted to control me, whereas the partner was sure that I did not want to spend time together. After a long discussion, I understood that my lover wanted to hear my opinion about new clothes, whereas my partner realized that I feel frustrated and bored during shopping. There was also a gender factor. Since females and males have different attitudes to their appearance, they do not understand why one is very worried about clothes and another one is not. Nevertheless, applying cooperative strategy allowed us to solve the conflict and repair the relationships. Besides, we used such tactics as explaining the big value of positive outcome and telling each other about our good intentions. For example, I said that our relationships were very important, so we needed to resolve the conflict productively. In addition, I told my partner that I had a bad taste, thus my recommendations would only interfere. All these helped us to find a compromise. As a result, we agreed that I would assist my partner only during quick shopping and not more often than once a month.

To sum up, relationships have eight stages. The application of effective tactics at each of them allows moving forward. Moreover, if the relations are finished, reconciliation is possible. However, even happy romantic couples sometimes experience conflicts. It is important not to avoid discussing problems and looking for a compromise. In the case of a positive outcome, partners learn how to solve problems, and their relationships grow.

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