So many people mistake intensity for intimacy, and so their relationship begins at high speed and then they experience the painful crash and burn that inevitably ensues. Intensity, as lovely as it might seem initially, isn’t sustainable. It damages the prospects of a mutually fulfilling, loving relationship. This is especially because we’re highly likely to breach our boundaries. We won’t practise the self-care we need to understand genuine compatibility and whether we can meet our emotional needs. In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I break down the five stages of relationships. I love this topic!

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Some nuggets from the episode:

  • If our intention is to meet somebody and share a mutually fulfilling relationship with love, care, trust and respect, where we’re compatible, where our emotional needs can be met, we can’t opt to ignore vital information that suggests that that cannot happen.
  • Stage 0 (Preamble): Introduction.Haven’t met yet or been on the first date yet. Stay grounded. 
  • Stage 1 (Dating): Prime discovery phase 1, mainly superficial knowledge, be yourself, no auditioning, co-interview process. Use this stage to pick up signs of incompatibility!
  • Stage 2 (Establishing): Prime discovery phase 2, committing to emotional and sexual exclusivity.

The real getting to know begins at Stage 2 when you embark on a relationship. Genuine intimacy can only start from this point onwards.

  • Stage 3 (Evolving): Committed to spending your future together. Intimacy at this stage supports ‘big ticket’ commitments. Intimacy continues to deepen.
  • Stage 4 (The Long Haul): Committed to remaining together. Intimacy continues to deepen.

If one or both of you haven’t really shown or said “no” and moved on from that in a very positive manner, you’re still at Stage 2.

  • Even if you’ve bought a house together and goodness knows what else. If you’re afraid to have boundaries in your relationship, if you’re afraid to be you, if all the time you’re thinking “Oh my god, if I do that then maybe they’re gonna finish it”, you’re still at Stage 2. There isn’t that security because you just haven’t reached that level of intimacy where you’re OK with being you. 
  • If one or both parties are caught up in keeping things really intense and not moving on to the normality of an actual relationship, then they’re always going to want to stay in the early stages (Stage 0-1), so you’re never going to get past Stage 2 with them.

Links mentioned

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