Relationship Life Cycle

By Waqas Rafique

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Ah love! Love is the most simple and yet very complex of human emotions and every person appears to have their own definitions of how love feels to them as do they have their own experience of being in love.

But can you think of any relationship you were or are in currently that does not require any effort to continue? How many times have you stifled your inner voice that keeps on telling you it’s over but you knowingly drag with it? Have you ever totally escaped the suffering that you endure realizing that it was you or your significant other who messed it up and ending up confused and not being able to coherently describe what led to the collapse of the otherwise very promising fireworks kind of connection.

Zodiac gurus might tell you it just wasn’t in the stars for the both of you and so next time you hook up try so or so sign for an everlasting bond. Relationship experts will try to talk sense into you: you went too fast, there were too many red flags that you ignored with the bottom line that you should’ve known better. And you end up feeling ravished, let down, asking yourself a lot of questions and then suffering from the torture of low self-esteem making a reluctant decision inside never to go near anyone ever again.

Well, these things happen because its life. Just learn to enjoy the game!

Here I present to you the concept of Relationship Life Cycle. As the name suggests it is quite similar to the Product Lifecycle. Yes, to begin with, be very clear that relationships are finite. They have a life span however you can actually increase their life expectancy if you work on each stage of your relationship.

According to this concept every relationship goes through different stages. You can manage your relationship if you are aware of the stage of the cycle you are in. Let’s take a look at each of these stages

Introduction Stage – This stage of the cycle is usually the most expensive emotionally speaking .Here, you are planning a new relationship. You have realized that you need someone in your life. You might feel you have a list of people to choose from yet end up feeling that size of the market for your product, which is your heart and soul, is small. This happens likely because you are not sure about who is right for you. Will it work or not. A lot of “What ifs” in your head. This stage is tough because it involves researching/stalking potential mates, some people testing and of course marketing yourself. Remember the relationship market is very competitive so make sure you put your best foot forward. But first get ready to take some risks if you want to move to the next stage!

Growth Stage –Growth occurs when you begin to feel the love and you love the feeling. It is like the spring season when everything is booming and blooming. You start to enjoy the company of your significant other and you invest as much as you can. Knowingly or unawares you give your best. Emotions flow and you become generous with your wallet too. At this stage everything you do appears justified. There is a lot of will and so you see a way forward. The growth stage is typically characterized by strength in every dimension of your relationship and you start noticing and detecting benefits. Congratulations are due to you!

Maturity Stage – So you are going out now. You could be engaged and you could also be married. The form of your bond would largely depend upon your socio-cultural status .During the maturity stage, the main aim for you; the manufacturer is now to maintain what you have built up. You will be doing everything to keep the heart you have won sensing fear and hope. This is probably the most competitive time for you and it requires you to be wise. Mind games, honesty, speaking your mind, jealousy and blind faith-you try everything possible to stay in.

Decline Stage – Eventually, things will no longer be the same as they were before if you did not work or realize the needs of the previous stage. This is the time when you can make lists of things you hate about each other and you begin wondering if what you felt throughout was love or anything close in the first place. This is what I call the decline stage. May be both of you have other people in mind now. The good news is that you might be done with and over your significant other but you can still love and be loved but it has to be another person. What is important is to retain your ability to love. Please let go of the current lover/beloved who is almost your ex now. Don’t be scared or lazy. Just do it! Get into the cycle all over again.

So, don’t worry if you can’t figure out what crashed your previous relationship or if you feel stuck in a committed bond. All you have to do is to work on the new promise of love with this lifecycle model in mind and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying the game that is called the life!