Healthy relationships experience a total of five stages: Infatuation, Limited Commitment, Permanent Commitment, Marriage, and Recommitment, according to psychotherapist Dr. Nancy Wesson, The first stage of a relationship is known as the Infatuation stage. This stage begins when a couple starts dating and usually lasts for approximately a month, or three to four dates. Physical intimacy often begins during this stage because the couple is excited about the new relationship.
The second stage is known as the Limited Commitment stage. It is during this time that the relationship becomes exclusive. Conflicts also begin to arise as the couple gets to know each other better. Deeper feelings also develop, and couples often begin living together during this stage.
The third relationship stage is Permanent Commitment, and this is typically when the decision to marry is made. Dr. Wesson notes that many couples buy a house together, even if they do not decide to marry.
The fourth stage is known as Marriage. The couple actually marries during this stage and also decides whether to start a family. A second type of conflict, known as the power struggle, also emerges during the first four years of marriage.
The final stage is known as Recommitment. This stage occurs during marriage, after a couple has dealt with the power struggle and established themselves in the relationship. Either they commit to each other permanently or they choose to separate.