|The Eight+ Stages of Relationships, Part 3
The Relationship Stages After the Power Struggle
Two weeks ago we started a series of articles about relationship
stages. To view the first two articles in the series please go here.
This week we will be covering the last topic in this series - what
stages a couple will experience if they do not successfully negotiate
the power struggle period of their relationship.
To recap what a power struggle stage entails, please read article
one in the series by going here. (especially read the last part of the
How a couple negotiates the Power Struggle determines what
happens to their relationship and what stages they will encounter
next. I cannot say enough about how important it is to negotiate
the power struggle stage successfully in order to keep your
relationship alive and thriving.
At this point in your relationship you will follow one of two
tracks. Track one was describe last week. For recap go
Couples who did not negotiate the power struggle successfully
and who require work in their relationship are more likely to
follow Track Two, described below.
Track Two: What Happens When the Power Struggle is Over?
Stage 5: Anger
If the power struggle is not negotiated successfully, at some point one or
both partners give up struggling. They, however, do not give up on the
issues, on their needs or their positions. They simply give up struggling.
Because nothing has been resolved during or after the power struggle, they
only have one choice - anger. Anger can look obvious and belligerent, or
quite and passive. Either way, it is unmistakable.
When it starts and how long it lasts: This stage starts after the power
struggle has gone on too long. One or both partners have burned out from
not getting their needs met continuously. This often does not start for years,
but once started, is very difficult to turn around.
The joy: There is not much joy in anger.
The stumbling block: One or both people can be depressed, numb and
miserable - a difficult place from which to affect change. This stage can
kill a relationship. This is one of the stages where people tend to have
What to do: Get help! Find a therapist, a coach or other relationship
assistance and be both willing to give the relationship another few good
tries. This is not a stage you can fix by yourselves or with a book - you
need a good solid third party perspective.
Stage 6: Peace with a price
Even anger can burn out after a while, leaving behind nothing but silence
and often indifference. The couple, if they have made it together this far,
will typically live parallel but separate lives. They will still interact on
necessary issues, such as child rearing and household responsibilities,
but will share little else. They will finally have peace, no longer demanding
anything from the other, but love and passion may be all but lost.
When it starts and how long it lasts: This stage can take years to develop
and is often found in long term marriages and relationships. Very
occasionally, this can be a phase in a fairly new relationship. Once in
this stage, the couple normally does not grow out of it, unless something
drastic shakes them up.
The joy: At least there is peace.
The stumbling block: One or both partners may be having affairs, which
makes reconciliation much more difficult. One or both may have built
too much of a separate life to allow for change and improvement.
What to do: If you are in this stage and miserable, get help. Even if your
partner is not willing to do anything to improve the relationship, you can
still go to a therapist or a coach. You can single handedly improve your
life and perhaps your relationship.
Stage 7: "The Child"
A "child" can be real children or it can be an idea, business, or an
involvement both of you share. For couple on track two such involvement
or an actual child is rarely a choice. It is either something that binds them
together out of circumstances, or it is something one partner devised in an
attempt to keep the other one from leaving or straying too far.
When it starts and how long it lasts: For many couples, this stage can be
the last attempt to save the relationship. This stage can happen at any time
the relationship is deeply threatened.
The joy: The joy is the actual entity you create together, especially if it
is a child. This third entity can change your relationship dynamics
somewhat, some of the time.
The stumbling block: A child, or a mutual involvement will not save the
relationship without addressing the deeper unresolved issues from the power
What to do: If you can, try to work through the underlying issues that are
preventing your relationship from working.
Stage 8: Life Crisis
Very few people live a charmed life without life crises. When your
relationship is in ongoing crisis, actively or silently, change of even
small magnitude can feel like life crisis. A true life crises, such as
health of financial issue can be downright overwhelming.
When it starts and how long it lasts: Life crises can happen at any time.
The joy: If there is joy in life crisis it is the chance to shake your
relationship up, and perhaps remind each of you how important the other one
is or used to be. It maybe your last chance to save your relationship.
The stumbling block: Because you are already in crisis, any additional
crisis runs a risk of immobilizing you. You may no longer be able to
function within the relationship. You or your partner may simply leave.
What to do: Use this as an opportunity to support each other and reconnect.
Come together as a team against the situation.
Beyond Stage 8: Life Happens, But Separately
What happens to a couple who never resolves the power struggle issues?
They may go their separate ways. They may stay together but effectively live
separate lives, and be involved in other relationships. One of both may
stay and suffer silently, holding on to the hope that something will change.
Regardless, they do not derive many of the benefits and joys for which
people get involved in relationships. They often do not function as a
couple at all.
Do you want more on this topic, more insights and exercises to help you deal
with these stages in your relationship? It's all available right now at RCN
Plus - that's Relationship Coach Newsletter Plus. It's not free, but it
only $1 a month, or $12 a year right now. That's 25� an issue - almost free!
To get RCN Plus right now, click here. To get more information about
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Your Relationship Coach
(c) Rinatta Paries. Do you know how to attract your ideal mate? Do you know how to build a fulfilling relationship, or how to reinvent yours to meet your needs? Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries can teach you the skills and techniques to attract and sustain long-term, healthy partnerships. Visit www.WhatItTakes.com where you'll find quizzes, classes, advice and a free weekly ezine. Become a "true love magnet(tm)!"
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