*No men were harmed in the making of this journey through the three stages of love…however I do want to acknowledge them for their gifts to me in my life. If we parted because of my own actions; I’m sorry. If we parted due to yours; thank you.
Many of us know at least one or two couples who got it right the 'first time'. They’ve been together forever, are an absolute image of what love looks like even with their ups and downs. They’re couple goals.
The truth is that for most of us coming to that sort of love is a journey. For some of us it’s a short one- we learn the lessons quickly and meet the 'right' partners that help us move through the stages quickly. For some of us it’s a little longer, bumpier and convoluted- we learn the lessons a little slower, we unwittingly recreate our parent’s marriage dynamics in our own lives. We get stuck in relationships that keep us trapped in certain stages, or some of us simply tap out of relationships entirely because we just don't want to get hurt again.
If it gives you any assurance at all, know that I was the latter. Slow, stuck and eager to repeat my mistakes!! You can read about how I came to embrace my femininity and appreciate myself as a woman HERE.
David Deida describes a transformative path of the three stages of love a woman goes through in her journey to loving and honouring herself before being able to fully experience love in another. I recall pivotal experiences and relationships in my life where I personally moved through these stages myself. And I’ve found these same experiences to be true for many of my coaching clients.
There is no easy ticket through the first two stages of love if this is where you recognise yourself as being.
It takes practice, self-awareness and a commitment to honour our desires over pretending they don’t exist. And that is a frightening concept for many of us – to feel sadness and loss at what we don’t have, to acknowledge what is missing that would light our life up. I see so many men and women shut themselves off from feeling into their desire to be in an extraordinary relationship because the prospect is too painful. They don’t want to be disappointed or hurt again, they feel safer when they don’t expect too much or anything at all.
Rather than remaining stuck in one of the first two stages of love I’d love for you to ask yourself instead – “What do I need to do to grow into the next stage of love?” And when you have your answer- do that. Be patient with yourself through these three stages. Don’t try to rush yourself through them or pretend you are further ahead if you are not. Life is a journey and success is finding joy along the way.
Allow yourself to move through these three stages of love with kindness, fun and self-love. And please note moving through the stages of love doesn’t necessarily equate to you having to leave an existing relationship to do so. It is possible to move through these stages within the same relationship.
STAGE ONE: “I need to get the love from someone else”
Most women's first attempt to get the love, appreciation and self-worth they need, so they feel whole and good enough, comes first from a man choosing them over love for themselves. I certainly did this. I looked to men for all my self-worth, answers, my certainty and my validation as good enough. When I look back I can see I yearned for love because I lacked appreciation for myself and in order to stay in some relationships I chose to ignore and downplay some behaviours. I know that most of us can all resonate with that sentiment at one time or another. Man