Relationships: past, present and future

Most relationships won’t stay the same forever, but change over time. Knowing the stages of a relationship – whether it’s a stage in the past, present or future – can help ease concerns about any new feelings you might encounter as things progress.

Getting to know each other

The first stage of relationship can be fun and exciting as you discover new things about a partner. You may have lots of questions and so conversation can seem easy as you find out more about their family, friends, hobbies or work.

Dating and finding out what sex turns you both on means spending lots of time together. There are no set timings on how long different stages of relationships last – everyone is different and every couple is unique.

Keeping your relationship healthy

Relationships aren’t fairy tales and a satisfying relationship takes effort from both partners. At some stage in your relationship you may feel like things have calmed down, or that it is not as passionate as it was at the start.

Relationship enter different phases as you become more comfortable with each other. This is perfectly normal but if it starts to cause concern it’s important to communicate.

Relationships involve strong emotions and talking and listening in a non-judgemental way can help you reach agreements. You won’t agree on everything, and that’s OK, but talking lets you understand each other’s point of view.

Staying physical is important too. And it’s not just about sex. Contact, kissing and being close to each other can let someone know you care about them. Some guys find a regular date night keeps a relationship healthy and ensures you are spending time together, sharing important moments.

Planning together for the future

According to psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, relationship goals are a necessity. He believes that in order to be happy, couples need to have goals that they are moving toward.

That doesn’t mean you have to share all of your life goals, just that any individual goals need to be supported and aligned for a life together. For example, working towards individual career goals that will enable you to share a house together – if that is what you both want.  If you respect each other’s goals, you can provide an encouraging, supportive and inspiring environment.  It is great to see each other succeed if you are working towards a life-long relationship together. So be proud, and celebrate your achievements.