5 Stages of Relationship Development That Couples Go Through


We are surrounded by multiple relationships right from the beginning of our life, aren’t we? This clearly indicates that relationships are an integral part of our life. Whether it is emotional needs or physical ones, we have many familial and non-familial relationships to fulfill them.

Our biological relationships are more of a blessing since we do not have to develop them actively; however, other relationships need time and effort for development.

Romantic relationships go through a number of stages of relationship development before the initial passion and attraction turns into commitment and lasting bond. Not all relationships get through all the stages of relationship development. These stages are nothing but a way in which people identify who they truly want to be with, which extends beyond the way the other person and carries themselves.

Here are the 5 stages of relationship development given by Mark Knapp.

1. Initiation – The starting

The first one on the list of stages of relationship development is initiation, where the major focus is on making a positive impression. People get to know each other at this stage and talk about primarily the good things about them.

Both the parties try to come off as funny, successful, and polite so that they may win each other’s approval.

Initiation is a tricky stage since it decides whether two people are compatible enough to develop a relationship or not. When you are at the stage of initiation, try to avoid bragging as it will put off the other person.

2. Experimentation – Getting to know the other

Nobody wants to jump into a relationship and jeopardize their mental health and emotional effectiveness, right? To avoid such haste, it is better to do a little bit of experimentation, which is what this second stage of relationship development is all about.

There is some more getting to know each other, and people start analyzing each other more closely.

They meet frequently and take slow but sure steps towards each other. It is just seeing each other at the parties or over coffee once a week. This gives both people some break from each other, and they get to think about each other more clearly. Both parties like to test things like similarity, proximity, and self-identity during experimentation.

3. Intensifying – Developing feelings

Intensifying is one of the trickiest stages of relationship development since people start getting emotionally invested. They share details of their past and plans for future letting the other one see deeper into them.

This is the relationship-high stage, where everything seems beautiful, and there is this immense happiness.

People find it hard to stay away from each other and keep thinking about how to grow the relationship further.

Commitment begins to develop at the stage of intensifying as well. People start to see the dark sides of each other at this stage too and try to resolve any conflicts that arise.

There is an active effort to solve problems and make the relationship work since it is all new. People also begin to question the kind of relationship they are headed to and what do they expect from it.

4. Integration – The start of something more

Integration is a beautiful stage since people are quite sure of their relationship and are hopeful of making it work. They have cleared any doubts and know what they want from each other and what they themselves can offer. It is the peak of love and compassion in the stages of romantic relationship development.

There is a stronger connection at this stage, and people look for commitment during integration.

They should, however, be considerate and talk seriously about the future prospects of their relationship.

5. Bonding – Fortifying the relationship

Bonding is the final one among the stages of love relationship development since people get to legalize their relationship at this stage. Couples get married and take up each other in front of their friends and family to ensure a stronger bonding.

At this stage of relationship development, there are almost no conflicts since they have been resolved in earlier stages, and people tend to be highly optimistic about their relationship.

Tying the knot in case of romantic relations and strengthening of the bond to the deepest level in case of platonic relations is the crux of this stage.


All of these stages of relationship development are integral and need to be taken seriously since they help you get into relationships that are meaningful. The people who like to throw caution to the winds and hurry into a relationship need to slow down and see things through properly.

Attraction and intimacy are highly significant in making the stages of romantic relationship development smooth and more enjoyable. Keep curiosity alive too when you are developing a new relationship so that you may get to know the little things about each other that make relationships stronger.


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