Stages in dating relationship

While some chance encounters result in instant chemistry, there's typically an initial awkwardness to slough off before the first date—and even during it.

Testing the tepid waters of "do they like me, do they like me not," can be the toughest part.

Gandhi says, "If this person makes your relationship easy, you are compatible, and you like to be together, it sounds like a good foundation to get serious." She warns, however, that "if you are unhappy more than you are happy in your relationship, it is probably unhealthy.

Every relationship takes work, but the work shouldn't be hard—a good relationship should be easy overall." If your foundation is healthy, then there's no limit to the happiness you can experience in your partnership.

While the word may conjure an association with physical intimacy, this stage focuses on vulnerability.

Honeymoon is a quick feeling of excitement, sexual arousal, nuance, and slightly obsessive 'lust'—which can be addicting at first.

Love is a feeling of stability, partnership, deep intimacy and trust, and shared values." Gandhi elaborates on the difference between the two, stating, "Falling out of love will probably mean that even though you truly care for and love your partner, you realize that they are not right for you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually." Although moving on from the initial attraction phase may mean fading sparks, Gandhi says, "You trade 24-7 lust for a safe, comfortable attachment—and it's worth its weight in gold." The act of falling in love is effortless, automatic even.

Surprisingly, both women had similar ideas for what partners can expect as a relationship goes from casual dates to seriously coupled.

Bela Gandhi is the Founder and Director of Smart Dating Academy and a weekly media correspondent as the dating and relationship expert on The Steve Harvey Show with appearances on several other shows.

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