The Stages of a Relationship

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female
My boyfriend and I have been dating for 14 months, both of us divorced twice, and he with 3 children (2 grown, 1-3 yrs old-lives with mother) and I have a 9 yr old that currently lives with her dad. I would like to know the stages that relationships go through. We now live together, but before we did, there were phone calls, pet names, more sex, etc.

I understand that the beginning of a relationship is always more exciting. But I don't know if I should relax enough to know that we have both reached "a comfort zone" and all the "hoopla" is no longer necessary. That we have reached a point in our relationship that we know each loves the other and now we move towards sharing our lives together (without marriage).

Could you please explain or give references to what stages a relationship does go through and if you think we have reached a comfort zone? I guess after two failed marriages, I'm afraid of letting myself go 100% and getting hurt and failing (again). Advice
I have a general list of stages here -

but the key is really that every relationship is incredibly unique. What one person feels, another person may never feel. It's like asking "how do you paint a picture". Some people plan it out for months. Others just throw paint at a canvas. Your relationship with this man is very different than relationships you've had with other men - and is very different than relationships other women have with other men.

Hoopla is NEVER necessary. You do it because you want to, because it's fun to see the reaction on the other person's face. Saying "I love you" should never be something you just "do" because you're in a certain stage! And getting flowers is something that even people who have been together for 20 years do for each other.

So really the question you should ask is just WHAT do you want to stop doing and WHY do you want to stop doing it? Is the reason you were doing it really gone? Why would you do it in the first place if you didn't want to? To do things because it's a "part you play" is NEVER a good idea in a relationship - because the core should always be honesty. If you trick someone into believing you are a certain way - and then try to figure out when you can "drop the charade" and start being your real self - you're going to be in for serious trouble.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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