Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, every couple goes through certain stages in the dating experience. At each stage, they can make a decision to end the relationship or to proceed. Not every couple takes the same amount of time to go through the different stages, but each stage provides the opportunity for evaluating themselves and the relationship.
The initial meeting, infatuation, reality, commitment, and engagement are the common stages of dating. As the relationship goes through each stage, couples progressively find out more about each other and decide if they are meant to spend a lifetime together.
Initial meeting and attraction
Introverts may meet someone in many different ways, such as through a friend or social group, at a bar or in church. Today many introverts meet their partner through online dating sites.
If there is an attraction at that initial meeting and an interest in pursuing a relationship, they arrange a second meeting. People meeting online may chat for a while before deciding to take it further and meet in person.
There are so many online dating websites today that it can be difficult to choose one. It is important to choose one that offers the right opportunities. For instance, people who want a serious relationship shouldn’t go for sites that promote casual hook-ups. For those looking for websites to meet sugar daddies, not all sites are created equal, and it is important to find reputable sites.
Early attraction often involves physical appearance, and there has to be some element of attraction for a romantic relationship to develop. There’s a curiosity to find out more about each other, but each person is putting their best foot forward.
This is called the ‘honeymoon’ phase of the relationship. Everything feels exciting and seems almost perfect. Couples tend to only see the good in a partner and want to spend as much time together as they can.
As each one is trying to make a good impression, there isn’t usually much conflict at this stage. It also means there isn’t yet much depth to the relationship. This stage often lasts a couple of months, depending on the maturity and ability of each one to self-reflect.
As the relationship starts to grow, they will usually start reflecting about whether they’re right for each other and where the relationship is headed. The initial honeymoon stage can be great fun, but it is not sustainable.
Reality sets in
This is when the hormones released by the initial attraction start to settle down, which can actually be a relief for introverts who are easily overwhelmed by emotional highs and lows.
At this point, reality sets in. The heady elation starts to wear off, and the relationship doesn’t seem as perfect as it was in those first few months.
It’s not that the couple is no longer in love but that the endorphin rush that comes with a new relationship isn’t sustainable. Without the ability to communicate and work on the relationship, couples often can’t get past this stage.
As couples become more relaxed with each other and start to show their true selves, flaws and weaknesses become more apparent. They may start to notice things that irritate them, such as a partner being wasteful with money, untidy, or having some bad habits.
For example, according to a recent love and debt survey by Credello, 35% of respondents have hidden debt and/or a large purchase from a romantic partner. Out of those, one in five men (19%) say they have hidden debt from a romantic partner compared to only 9% women saying they have.
Her generosity now seems irresponsible, and his reliability starts to feel boring. If the flaws or differences do not end up derailing the relationship, a couple has the potential to start to develop a deeper, more intimate relationship. They know it’s worth putting in the work because they love each other and that resolving conflict is a normal part of a relationship.
At this stage in a relationship, each person knows more about a partner’s lifestyle, values, and future goals. They are likely to have met each other’s families and friends. Discussion about issues such as what they feel about having children and what they want in the future has taken place. They recognize their differences and sometimes fight, but they know they love each other and that they can work through their conflicts.
When two people decide to make a commitment to be exclusively with each other, they can start to develop true intimacy. They become more vulnerable as they let their guard down and really open up to each other.
Even though a couple is engaged, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be some highs and lows in the relationship. A couple has to work together to overcome challenges and strengthen the relationship. Mature and sustainable love is possible because the couple has chosen to be with each other, flaws and all.
They have a vision for the future together as a couple and would rather be with each other than anyone else. They don’t even hanker after the romantic, heady high of a new relationship because what they have is much deeper and more significant.
If you find yourself at this stage, it’s important to continue prioritizing, while also maintaining your own friendships and hobbies. It’s all too easy for introverts to rely on their partner for all their social and emotional needs but this can lead to stagnancy in the relationship.
Whatever stage you find yourself in at the moment, try to stay present and enjoy it for what it is, rather than overthinking it.
I told my kids. Don’t marry anyone you have not lived with for a year or traveled with for three months.