A committed relationship is where you and your partner explore and discover the strengths, assets and wonders of each other, and agree to love, support and protect each other through good times and bad. It is where you behave as described in many wedding vows:
“I, take you, to be my wedded (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn
vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally; to support you in your goals; to honor and respect you; to laugh with you and cry with you; and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.”

A truly committed relationship is not easy to attain. It takes openness, trust, support, commitment, safety, security and belief in the value of the other person and the partnership. It also takes into account caring, protection and support for your partner no matter what may happen along the way.

In most couple relationships there are 5 phases of growth, or dissolution, that unfold as the new partnership moves forward.

Sometimes one partner is out of synch with the other for a brief period of time, but that may not be a serious issue. Further, some phases may be repeated if the partners are not fully committed to positive changes, or if there are unresolved issues.

Regardless, this developing relationship may be the most powerful influence in the life of a maturing adult. It often is more powerful then relationships they have with family and friends.

Successful long-term relationships go through most of the following 5 phases although there may be exceptions. All relationships are unique, so some unusual behavior and results may to be expected. Depending on the individuals involved and their life experiences, there may be major differences from what is described below.

Phase 1 - Dating, Romance and Courtship

• You meet frequently in person, by video conference, telephone, text or email.
• You find emotional attachment to each other.
• You become excited every time you think about, talk to, or are with them.
• Some people experience love-at-first-sight.
• Both of you search for and recognize common interests, experiences and desires.
• You try to please each other with interesting activities, gifts and personal attention.
• You are on your best behavior around the others; bad habits and conflicts are minimized or avoided.
• You limit or avoid contact with others who previously were attractive to you.
• You may initiate or allow sexual relations with each other.
• You consider the other person to be your special friend, partner or significant other.
• Some people say that they have met their soul mate and can’t live without them.
• Time distortion, mental lapses and bliss are words people use to describe how it feels to fall in love.
• Both of you have a happy, positive outlook and want to be together as much as possible.

In the first phase we usually experience exciting and fulfilling emotions and situations with our new partner. Our self- worth soars and we are excited about life.
However, within 6 months of starting that relationship we encounter a new reality.

Phase 2 - Awakening, Familiarization or Adjust to Reality
After some time both of you relax and begin to let your guard down. Soon you notice:

• Your partner is not the person you imagined them to be. They have some quirks, faults or limitations that begin to annoy or concern you.
• You and your partner disagree about what are acceptable activities, contacts with others, or the use of mutual resources.
• Emotional excitement begins to fade a bit as you both establish routine behavior patterns, expectations and physical behaviors.
• There may be less frequent or satisfying sexual relations between you.
• There may be a breach of trust between you as something unexpected happens or a challenge threatens your relationship.
• One or both of you begin to feel stress, confusion or depression about how or why your relationship is changing.


You or your partner contact previously attractive people and rekindle a past relationship whether in person or virtual through the telephone or Internet.


If you and your partner are confident, honest and emotionally strong you can learn to openly discuss differences of opinion; you resolve conflict; strengthen mutual values and trust; and solve relationship problems together. Couples at this stage can usually avoid phase 3 and jump to Phase 4.


People who are dishonest and/or emotionally weak may fight over the smallest issues, problems and threats. One or both may become emotionally withdrawn and will block attempts at affection or caring by their partner. The combatants move into Phase 3.

Phase 3 - Open Conflict, Disappoint, and Power Struggles
This can be an emotionally charged phase where couples may cause emotional injury or stage a breakup. Some of the things that might occur are:

• Both minor and major annoyances become constant and serious issues.
• You or your partner thinks the other is not listening, is uncaring, self-centered or a bully.
• You or your partner may question everything about the other and the relationship.
• Trust breaks-down and is replaced by fear, anger, resentment, or even an overwhelming desire for revenge.
• Physical, mental and emotional boundaries are created and defended at all costs.
• Affection and sexual relations between you and your partner become infrequent or may cease. In some cases rape is alleged when a partner declines to participate, but is threatened or forced to have sex anyway. This is often described as a sexually abusive relationship.
• You or your partner “cheat” on the other. Previous commitments to your relationship are abandoned or forgotten.
• A crisis occurs and rather that solving or preventing more problems you or your partner terminate the relationship (breakup).


• Both of you commit to swallowing your pride, stop fighting, learn to value each other and save your relationship.
• Both of you stop previously unacceptable behavior and do things that create a feeling of mutual safety, security, support and pleasure.
• Both of you break whatever contact you may have started with other attractive people.
• Both of you maintain friendships and family ties only with understanding and supportive people who celebrate and/or support your relationship.
• You and your partner accept and actively participate in coaching or therapy from qualified relationship experts who help you strengthen your ties.
• Last and most important, both of you forgive yourselves, and each other, for real and imagined shortcoming, conflict, stress, fear, pain, or injury.

Phase 4 - Stability and Re-Commitment to the Relationship

• Your relationship crisis has passed; you and your partner agree to resolve differences, re-establish trust and harmony. This is a restful and peaceful phase compared to previous stress, fear, conflicts, disappointments or power struggles. Both of you feel at ease.
• There is a fresh feeling of friendship, support & commitment.
• Both of you re-establish outside interests and friendships put off in phase 1 and 2.
• You are loyal and faithful to each other.
• The current reality is accepted, as you both recognize that romantic make-believe is temporary.


You and your partner may drift apart or become bored if phase 1 feelings not re-established. If this happens your relationship may revert to phase 3.

Phase 5 – Commitment, Acceptance and Real Love

Now begins a truly committed relationship, real love and perhaps marriage.

• You and your partner accept the other as you really are. There are no illusions, games or false pretenses.
• You and your partner experience genuine affection and desire to be together.
• You help and support each other in the daily challenges of living.
• You both make a choice to be with the other, no matter the cost or hardship
• You are loyal and exclusive to each other. There is no cheating of any kind.
• You want to share in mutually fulfilling activities.
• You try not to disappoint or control the other.
• You defend and protect each other.
• You do loving things for each other –even if friends or family don’t like it.
• You and your partner are a team – you have mutual goals and desires.
• You and your partner are “Best Friends.”
• Every day there are fewer nasty surprises, disagreements or arguments between you.
• You and your partner overcome issues and challenges without resentment, anger or revenge.
• In this phase you may choose to be married or to live as a committed couple.

Some researchers say that fewer than 15% of couples make it to Phase 5. If you do, congratulations! You have beaten the odds.

Author's Bio: 

I help people survive, thrive and achieve their dreams. I specialize in helping them diagnose their present situation and showing them how to leap the gap from “getting by” to “ethically getting ahead, NOW!”
My team and I help clients improve their work roles and performance; relationships; products, services and careers. Most clients are in the high-tech, entertainment, lifestyle, communications, social media, health and medical services fields where they can influence millions of people, worldwide. Most would say after working with me that their lifetime earning capability and satisfaction has increased more than they could ever imagine.
I do these things as President of Blue Pie Productions USA, a new media music and entertainment company; CEO and President of Blue Vault Digital USA, a software development company; Chairman of Ordior, a communications company; Chairman of GravityStars, an extreme sports and musical entertainment company; Founder and President of Magic Blue Property USA, a property development company.
I'm also an author, publisher, coach and public speaker.
I’ve been a “disrupter” (I shake-up the status quo) and a key leader for 50+ years.
Success has not always been easy. I’ve encountered my share of life’s challenges including a few business failures, bankruptcy, loss of loved ones, life-threatening health issues and other problems. Regardless, by applying all I’ve learned I’ve survived and recovered from every setback. Each recovery resulted in me thriving and achieving so much more. Today I’m more healthy, energetic and resourceful than at any other time in my life. I workout daily, take no meds and have the stamina of someone in their 20s.
My first leadership opportunity came at age 15 as an Explorer Scout and I’ve held dozens of key leadership roles since then. In addition I founded and been the CEO of 15 companies in over 12 industries. I was also a guest lecturer and seminar leader at 36 colleges and universities and speaker at dozens of business and professional conferences and workshops. In those roles I conducted more than 360 presentations about improving leadership and interpersonal communication skills for thousands of people.
Another role I’ve played was that of a licensed hypnotherapist for 17 years, helping people deal with life’s challenges using powerful mind altering techniques.
On a more personal note, I was married for 42 years to my high school sweetheart, who died in 2008. We had two wonderful children, Suzanne and Stephen, who are in important leadership roles and who have spawned numerous grandchildren. I’ve very proud of all of them.
If you want to leap the gap from “getting by” to “ethically getting ahead, NOW,” send an email message with your contact details to: I will respond within 24 hours and I will find a way to help you survive, thrive and achieve your dreams.