The 5 Stages of Intimacy
(And Why You Need To Know Where You Are)
Although there are no typical couples, every relationship goes through intimacy stages. These stages do not always happen in any particular order. All these ups and downs are leading to something…could it be love?
Take a look. What stage is your relationship in?
“Oh my God, I just met the love of my life.”
“He is perfect….I want to marry him.”
“I cannot wait to see her again.”
“We have so much in common.”
Ahhh, the sweet, syrupy stage of infatuation. It’s wonderfully intoxicating and so difficult to resist. Hormones and logic rarely coincide, so you find yourself checking your messages 24 times an hour, not eating,buying new lingerie,and so on.
Infatuation makes your dopamine levels soar, producing a full-body euphoria that causes humans to seek out sex again and again. Brain scan studies show that the brain during orgasm is 95 percent the same as the brain on heroin. Your brain cannot maintain the high of infatuation; you will fry. How many movies do we see about this? It’s pure poetry, love magnified. Infatuation will ebb and flow at different points. The sex will not always be that good…it may get better or it may get worse. This is where you start to land.
The landing from that fantastic flight of infatuation can feel scary, as we start to see things more clearly. There is a great article in Psychlogy Today that says something along the lines of,”the day you wake up and say you have married the wrong person is the day that your marriage truly begins.” It means that this is the day where the veil of infatuation lifts and the 20/20 vision of everyday living comes in.
“Wow, he is neurotic.”
“Has she always told those annoying stories?”
“I didn’t think about him all day…does that mean we are not ok?”
The landing can feel light and kind of soft or it can feel rocky and knock you off your feet. Either way, it can leave you feeling like Cinderella when the clock struck midnight. The landing can be oh so bittersweet.
This stage happens when all the to-do lists and everyday life comes into the relationship. Before you know it, conversations focus on things like who’s doing the laundry, your boss, or the crazy mother-in-law. During the burying stage, other things, like everyday life, begins to settle down on your beautiful oasis of a relationship. Burying is not always bad; it is a sign that your relationship is real and weaves into your everyday existence.
The important thing is to not lose your relationship during this stage. Relive your first date, take dance classes together, try new sexual experiences. Do something that allows real life to take a break and the gentle, sweet intimacy to resurface, bringing us to the next stage.
Resurfacing is the stage where you turn to your partner and say to yourself,”wow, I forgot how hot he is,” or, “I love her so much.”
Resurfacing is a relationship resolution. You begin to realize your partner has issues or habits that annoy you, but you have issues and habits that are annoying to your partner, too. You start to think,” I can’t believe I have such a sweet person in my life who always has my back.”
A massive problem that you two resolved, a great date, an especially good night of sex, almost losing the other person,or good couples therapy can all trigger resurfacing. Anything can jolt us awake, a death in the family or even a birth.
This is what it’s all about, right? The part where we look across the dinner table, argue over the remote, or go on a great trip together and think,”I have it really good” or “I love him/her more than I could ever imagine.”
Here, the sex is usually better than it’s ever been. True love seems to truly blossom around year five; the rest is a rotation, sometimes rapid and sometimes slow, of the other stages.