No two relationships are alike. However, they do have one thing in common. Dr. Susan Campbell, P.h.D., studied the evolution of hundreds of couples over several decades. She concluded that the average relationship goes through five different stages: romance, power struggle, stability, commitment, and bliss. Each one containing their own unique challenges and feelings. Depending on the current state of your relationship (or former relationship), these stages are worth reflecting on. Luckily, we’ve gathered some of our best advice for each one.

1.Romance Stage

Characterized by euphoria and infatuation, the romance stage is both exciting and intoxicating. Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone,” is pumping through our veins, which is why it is important to stay grounded. Take a break from the rose-colored glasses, and don’t let your new relationship get in the way of your work, friendships, or hobbies.

2.Power Struggle Stage

The power struggle phase is when things start to get serious. We start to question whether or not the person we’re with is right for us. Which is why so many breakups occur during this stage. To avoid this, you should practice effective communication with your partner. We know that might want to steer clear of any conflict during this period. But if you aren’t addressing any of your concerns regarding their behavior or habits, you will build resentment for them.

3.Stability Stage

If you’ve made it through the power struggle phase, hooray! You’ve finally accepted your partner for who they really are. As a reward, you will experience a period of calm, stability, and intimacy. To move forward, it’s important to set boundaries, develop mutual respect, and explore new areas of your relationship. By doing so, you will protect the longevity of your relationship,

4.Commitment Stage

When you and your partner reach this stage, you two know how to navigate your relationship. Couples should marry at this stage because they’ve devoted themselves to each other regardless of their imperfections. This stage is both liberating and romantic, but you need to prioritize your personal space. Go out with friends or practice a new hobby, just remember to address any issues as they arise.

5.Bliss Stage

This stage is what we all dream of. You’ve come to terms with your differences and worked through your issues. Now it’s time to give back. This can be in the form of starting a family or creating a community project. But, just because you two are in the “final” stage, it doesn’t mean you can stop putting effort into your relationship. To maintain a healthy bond, you should communicate often and have regular check-ins.