Recently, I read an article about the 5 stages of a relationship. It talked about the stages that relationships go through. Where most relationships fail. And talks about how you can make it through and have a lasting relationship, if you’re both willing to work on it. You can read more about the 5 stages of a relationship here.
I found the “power struggle stage” or “love hangover” very interesting. It’s what I’ve seen in many relationships such as my previous ones, and the relationships of friends around me that have failed. This is the part of a relationship where you start to get to know each other’s real self and initial honeymoon stage is over.
As the article explains, we are designed to fall in love with the person who is least capable of meeting our needs & most capable of making our worst nightmares come true. When you fall in love, your brain releases a cocktail of chemicals desired to get your heart thumping. It’s similar to being on a drug induced high. You see the world through rose coloured glasses, only seeing what makes you feel good and ignoring the bad. When the high wears off, this is when your brain stops producing chemicals and you become more aware of the person you’re with.
Most couples break up when they get to this stage. Especially when they don’t know how to navigate through it, and don’t know the skills they need to resolve their differences. What this article is saying sounds true to me. It might be why many relationships are tested in the first year of living together. Some often breaking up at this point.
So how can you navigate through this stage?
Speaking not as a professional when it comes to relationships and love, but as someone experienced in dealing with people. I would suggest working on one thing, for all relationships, and that is: communication.
Communication is important for all relationships, not just romantic relationships. How you communicate can work wonders if done well. There are some tricks I’ve learned over the years in my various roles and relationships. And today, I’m going to share some of these tricks/tips with you. You may have heard of some of these before.
My tips for improved communication:
Use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ statements
Saying to someone, “you stuffed up.” Instantly puts them into defence mode. They feel attacked and feel they need to defend their actions. If you were to put the statement into an ‘I’ statement, such as: “I wasn’t happy with the result of what you did”, you take away the attack or blame on the other person and own your own feelings. This also helps the other person feel the impact of what they did rather than focusing on defending their actions.
Be solution focused
Often when we’re arguing or having a challenging conversation, we focus on the issue. Sometimes those conversations go around and around in circles with each person feeling worse and worse, and you ever seem to get anywhere. Rather than entering into a discussion focusing on the problem, try entering with a desired solution in mind. Say, for example, you wanted to find a solution to the fact you feel like you’re the only one who does the dishes in the house. Using the I statement and being solution focused, you could say something like: “I feel like it’s always me who’s doing the dishes. How would you feel about taking turns each night so that we share these duties?”
Listening – REALLY listening
It may sound simple but often times, we listen to respond. We don’t always listen to understand. If we took the time to actively listen to each other, we might hear what the other person is really saying. Where you might be feeling like you’re always the one doing the dishes, they might be trying to tell you that they would rather do the laundry. I don’t know, it’s a crazy example that one. But by really listening to each other, understanding their side, and taking this into account before responding, we can respond better with a more considered solution or response. Something productive and solution focused rather than adding to a further argument.
And that final point is why communicating is so important. Being able to understand our partners and accept them for who they are, that’s how you can make through the power struggle stage. By being able to love them, flaws and all, like they do you. In appreciating your differences and recognizing how your differences compliment or support each other. This can absolutely help you make it through the power struggle stage.
However, if you’re finding you’re really struggling in your relationship and you’re thinking it’s over. You might want to consider going to couples counselling if the relationship is truly worth it to you. I’ve heard great things about the outcomes people have achieved in counselling.
My own current relationship is relatively new in the scale of relationship lengths however, with the knowledge I have about communication, and the respect and admiration we both currently have for each other’s differences, I have no doubt we will get through the power struggle stage. Relationships are never easy, but the best ones are worth fighting for.
I wish you all the best of luck. If you ever need to talk, please contact me on the link above or hit me up on Facebook. I’m always happy to help.
Thank you, Britenay x