There Are 5 Stages Of Love & Intimacy In Relationships — Here's How To Know Which You're In

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couple snuggling on couch

We've all heard of the five stages of grief according to the Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Believe it or not, grief and intimacy mirror one another — the intensity, the dullness, the gains, and the loss.

Although there are no typical couples, all types of relationships go through five corresponding stages of love based on the development of intimacy and emotional connection.

And just like with grief, whether you are dating or already married, these stages don't always happen in the same, particular order, and some are likely to repeat.

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Take a look a look at the following five stages of love and intimacy in relationships to find out which stage your your own relationship is currently in.

Stage 1: Infatuation

"OMG, I just met the love of my life. I want to marry this person. I can't believe we have so much in common. Oh, I should eat something. I think I'm going to throw up."

Oh, the sweet, syrupy stage of infatuation. It's so wonderful and so difficult to resist. Hormones and logic rarely coincide, so we find ourselves doing things like checking email 12-24 times an hour, not eating, buying pajamas to match our bed sheets, and so on.

Infatuation makes your level of love hormones soar, producing a full-body euphoria that causes us to seek out their new love interest again and again.

The infatuation will ebb and flow at different points It may get more intense or it may become less so. But all those lovely feelings are that of a first swim in the cool, crisp pond of falling in love.

How many movies could we watch about that? Billions. It's pure poetry; love magnified; a revisit to the warm womb of security. Then the negotiation between security and autonomy, that life-long struggle, crawls in and we begin to land.

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Stage 2: Landing

"OMG, they tell the worst jokes. I didn't think about them at all yesterday. I hope we're OK."

The landing from that fantastic flight can feel scary, as we begin to see things more clearly.

Nationally recognized family therapist and author Terry Real says, "I go around the country speaking about 'normal marital hatred.' Not one person has ever asked what I mean by that. It's extremely raw."

That moment when you look at the other person and think it's all been a terrible mistake ... "I call it the first day of your real marriage," quips Real.

This is the day when the veil of infatuation lifts and the 20/20 vision of everyday living comes in. The landing can feel light and sweet, or rocky and discombobulating. But eventually, the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella must run home before the stage coach turns back into a pumpkin and her dress returns to rags.

Oy, so bittersweet.

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Stage 3: Burying

"I'm too busy to think about this relationship."

This stage happens when all the to-do lists of life come toppling into the relationship. Before you know it, conversations focus on things like who's doing the laundry, your boss, or your crazy relatives.

During the burying stage, other things — like, oh, life — begin to encroach on your beautiful oasis of a relationship.

Burying isn't always bad; it's a sign that the relationship is real and weaving it's way into your everyday existence.

The important thing to remember here is to "unbury" yourselves. Do something that allows real life to take a back seat for a even a moment and allow the gentle, sweet intimacy of the early days of your relationship resurface, bringing us to the next stage ...

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Stage 4: Resurfacing

"Wow. I forgot how hot they are. I love this person so much."

Resurfacing happens when your relationship has reached a point of resolution: this person is a mixed bag, but so are you.

You start thinking how lucky you are to have someone in your life who always has your back.

This stages usually happens after the two of you have resolved a major problem or have overcome anything that jolted you awake, such as a death in the family or even the birth of a child.

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Stage 5: True love

"Oh, I have it really good. I'm blessed and love this person more than I could ever imagine."

This is what it's really all about, right? The part where we look across the dinner table, fight over the remote, and know we'll be with our forever person through thick and thin.

True love blossoms around year five, then the stages of love go back into rotation, sometimes rapid and sometimes slow, with intimacy ebbing and flowing for as long as the relationship lasts.

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Zoe Rose Hicks, MA, LMFT provides interpersonal, psychodynamic counseling and therapy services for young adult individuals, couples, and families utilizing techniques that include dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation.​