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The Five Stages Of Love

Can Love Be Casual

A relationship comprises friendship, sexual attraction, intellectual compatibility, Emotional Connection, Commitment, Physical Attraction, Selflessness, Respect and Trust and, of course, love. Love is the glue that keeps a relationship strong. It is deeply biological. But what is love, and how do you know if you are truly in love?

It isn’t easy to define love because everyone’s perception of real love can be dramatically different. People often get confused between lust, attraction, and companionship. Hence, there is no one best definition of love. However, love can be summarized as an intense feeling of euphoria and deep affection for someone or something.

This love definition or love meaning might only encompass some of the emotions that comprise how you feel when you are in love. Research has identified several different stages of love. Not only have we found that there are distinct romantic phases, but they are also tied to different hormones! In this article, we will examine the five stages of love and how they shape our relationships.

Stage One: Attraction

During this stage, you experience strong sexual desire and attraction. The hormones testosterone and estrogen play a major role in this stage. Testosterone increases sex drive, attraction, and mating tendencies in both men and women. Both genders display higher levels of testosterone and estrogen to showcase their fertility and attract a partner. You may not necessarily want a long-term relationship, but you feel a strong sexual attraction to the other person and can’t get enough of them. At times, this intense desire can override your rational thinking. This is evolutionarily driven as nature pushes you to reproduce!

Stage Two: Romance

During the romance phase, couples are heady in love and overcome with their feelings. Typically, people can’t think of anything else—forgetting to eat and sleep. There are important neuro-transmitters that come into play during this stage.

Dopamine –Is released in the rewards centre of the brain and makes us feel like we are winning a prize when we are with our beloved.

Norepinephrine –This is also called adrenalin and it causes us to literally feel our love by getting our heart pumping, making us blush and sweat around our new beau.

This stage typically occurs after expressing and receiving mutual attraction. In the initial stage, the focus is mostly on sexual attraction, but in this stage, we begin to experience emotional connection. We enjoy spending time together so much that we want to be with each other constantly.

This stage is often referred to as the honeymoon phase. But it’s also dangerous, in that you develop a distorted and idealized image of the other person instead of seeing them for who they are. Want to spark instant chemistry? Watch our video below to learn the 20 best icebreakers for dating:

Stage Three: Disillusion

This is the stage where the honeymoon period wears off. Your rose-coloured glasses have become clear, and all of a sudden, the person you are dating is no longer seen through rose-coloured glasses as a perfect being, but as a normal human. You start to notice their quirks and imperfections in a way you didn’t before. Like, why do they always show up a few minutes late to our dates? And why do they always chew with their mouth open? And why do they never talk about their feelings?

These challenges, which used to feel like no big deal, are starting to feel bigger. And this person isn’t endearing all the time anymore. Sometimes, they even get on your nerves. But don’t let this portrait bring you down. The disillusion period is actually a good thing. As your projections of the other person fade away, you start to see them for who they really are. And they see who you really are. As a result, the capacity for real intimacy opens up. You have the opportunity to really get to know and accept each other. This stage is a crossroads in many relationships.

It’s a time when many couples break up. Either because people mistakenly wanted their honeymoon version of their partner to last forever, or because they realized there was a red flag in the relationship and they simply had to break it off.

Stage Four: Attachment

First, there was physical attraction, then emotional connection, then disillusionment, and next comes attachment. The attachment phase helps couples grow bonds and feel connected to each other. It is where people decide to depend on their partner. Two hormones come into play here:

Oxytocin– This is also called the ‘cuddle hormone’ because it is released when we are touched, make eye contact, and feel connected to someone.

Vasopressin – This little chemical comes into play to help us feel a long-term connection with someone and preceded commitment.

In this stage, we start to learn to trust the other person, navigate conflict together, and build something more lasting and sustainable. Did you know that throughout these stages, you might unconsciously push your partner away because of your attachment patterns (based on childhood experiences)?

Stage Five: Stable Love

Once you have formed a strong emotional bond with your partner, you will enter the stable love stage. This is when you both feel a deep commitment to each other and have established a significant amount of trust. In this stage, things feel calm and secure. You won’t experience the intense excitement and uncertainty of earlier stages. This is the phase where you can rely on the other person as your life partner. For many couples, it may be challenging to maintain physical intimacy at this stage, but there are numerous strategies to keep the relationship exciting and sustain mutual attraction.

 

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