As time continues that a couple is together, one may find that the relationship is like a process. This process, however, is not like a straight line, but more like a circle. Relationships consist of endless cycles of going forward and then back again, of increasing and decreasing in intimacy. This cycle looks like this:
Phase 1: There is a burst of romance, perhaps lust. This is a time when attraction and interest are at their peak. The relationship seems limitless and full of dreams and promises.
Phase 2: A point comes where personal insecurities and old fears arise. The relationship does not appear as it did before, and the realities surrounding the relationship resurface. At this point partners often pull back and reanalyze the relationship on an individual level. This is the phase that not all couples can survive. If the couple does pull through this phase, this is done by openly confronting their differences, working out conflicts, and making accommodations for one another. The couple comes to a mutual understanding of one another.
Phase 3: If phase 2 has been worked through successfully, the couple enters phase 3. Within this phase of the relationship cycle, resolution of conflicts and issues have been sorted out, and the couple maintains a healthy relationship.
Being in a relationship is a continuing process that cycles through the phases listed above. It is unrealistic to expect that a relationship is "stable" at all times. This cycle continues again and again, providing a process that actually can keep relationships healthy, growing, and fulfilling.
If you feel like you and your partner may be stuck within phase two, or feel that you would benefit from couples counseling, feel free to set up an appointment with FGCU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).