Romantic relationships go through stages, and it’s sometimes difficult to determine what stage your relationship may be in, especially if it’s a relatively new one.
The five stages that relationships go through are: initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, and bonding.
So, what exactly is the integrating stage of a relationship?
The integrating stage is a very important phase in a relationship, as it signifies that a couple is becoming quite serious about each other.
They could be planning to move in together, or they may already be living together, as integration means coming together or unification – which is exactly what couples do in this stage.
Couples whose relationships are in the integrating stage are also preparing for the next stage, bonding, which could ultimately lead to marriage.
Here is an overview of each stage as well as tips for creating the best environment for the relationship to thrive in so you can easily move on to the next stage.
This is the stage when a prospective couple first meets and no official relationship has formed yet.
This is a very crucial stage because two people are talking for the first time and getting to know each other.
If one or both people do or say the wrong thing, then it could mean that the initiating stage will fail to move further, and the relationship will end.
People in this stage of a relationship should proceed with caution, as they don’t want to do anything to offend or turn off their potential mate.
Since a relationship is so new in this stage and the potential mates don’t yet know much about each other, it’s important to move slowly and carefully.
When you don’t know a person well, it’s easy for things to be misconstrued or misunderstood, which is why you should be careful until you get to know each other a bit better.
Another important aspect of ensuring that the initiating stage is successful is that both parties are relaxed and as honest as possible with each other.
Some people believe that going out of their way to impress the other person is best, but this can sometimes backfire, so it’s best to simply be yourself.
If your date isn’t impressed with the real you, then move on to someone who will be.
Although you should be on time regardless of the stage your relationship is in, being on time in this fragile stage is imperative.
Being on time includes both showing up for dates as well as responding to text messages or phone calls.
If you fail to respond to text messages in a timely manner or show up for dates, your prospective mate could believe that you’re not interested, which could be the complete opposite of how you actually feel.
If your fledgling relationship reaches this stage, then you’ve made some progress. However, things are still new and you’re still getting to know each other.
While you still need to tread carefully, you can relax a bit more than in the initiating stage.
Obviously, you’ve done something right since your potential mate is still interested, so continue doing what you’ve been doing.
One way that people grow closer in relationships and fall in love is to spend quality time together.
You don’t have to spend time together doing anything in particular as long as you both enjoy the activity.
Something as simple as a quick picnic lunch at a park or an extended coffee date at your favorite coffee shop can suffice.
During the experimenting stage, it’s a good time to try to imagine having a long-time committed relationship with your potential mate.
Does this person have the ability to make you laugh and feel good? Does he or she share some of your life goals?
If so, then you might want to mentally prepare yourself for the next relationship stage if you feel you want to proceed with this person.
During this stage of your relationship, you and your partner know each other a lot better, and things are starting to become significantly more serious.
The two of you are likely planning a future together and may have reached the “I love you” point in your relationship.
You and your partner are starting to spend more time together and you’re growing closer and closer as each day passes.
If you have reached this stage, then you have evidently been doing things right up to this point.
All you need to do once your relationship reaches the intensifying stage is continue to be yourself.
You definitely don’t have to be as careful at this point, so you can make certain jokes without risking scaring your partner off.
Now that your relationship has reached the intensifying stage, you are likely feeling the lovebug.
Couples in love usually start discussing plans to share a future together, and if this is something that you’d like to do, this is an ideal time to do so.
By discussing future plans together, you’re showing your partner that you love them enough to want to spend your life with them, so it’s a surefire way to ensure that your relationship successfully moves on to the next stage.
Once your relationship reaches the integrating stage, you two are very much in love and are implementing plans to begin a future together.
Perhaps you’re moving in together, or at the very least exchanging keys for each other’s homes.
Things have been successful up to this point, and that increases your chance of reaching the next stage in your relationship.
The integrating time is a great time to reiterate to your partner how much you love him or her.
There are several ways you can do this, including something as simple as buying small but meaningful gifts.
You could also do things for your lover, such as plan a special romantic date (or even a weekend getaway) or cook a delicious multicourse meal for your sweetheart.
Congratulations! You and your partner have made it to the final stage and are completely bonded and are either planning to get married or have already married.
There is obviously no next stage, but it doesn’t mean that all your work is done. Relationships require constant work in order to remain happy and successful.
Loyalty is extremely important in a relationship, which is why you need to ensure that you remain loyal to your partner.
As long as you practice treating your partner as you would want to be treated, you will be able to remain loyal.
Open, free communication is essential in every stage of a relationship.
Communication is the key to making any relationship effective, so be sure that you’re communicating honestly and openly with your partner.
If you’re communicating openly, then your partner will likely follow in your footsteps and do the same.
After couples get married and start families, it’s easy to forget about the importance of date nights.
However, date nights are important for keeping your love alive and for ensuring that you two remain on the same page.
Date nights can also relieve stress and enable you two to focus on your relationship or marriage instead of the numerous other things that require your attention.
As you can see, each stage of a developing romantic relationship is equally important.
The integrating stage is an important stage because it’s a transitional time in a relationship.
Couples whose relationship is in the integrating stage are more or less becoming an official couple who are unintentionally (or intentionally) trying to make it to the final stage of bonding.