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De Keyser explains, "This is the stage where you realize you two are best friends and lovers.
You are partners to each other in life—you can spend hours, days, weeks, months side by side with this person, and you only better each other and feel as though you are one unit." Every couple is unique—there isn't an exact time stamp you can put on reaching the partnership stage of a relationship.
When is it best for couples to start getting serious? Does falling out of the honeymoon phase mean falling out of love?
To help provide some clarity, we asked two dating experts, Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy, and Nora De Keyser, matchmaker for Three Day Rule, for their takes on the most common stages of a romantic relationship.
It's incredibly tough to be vulnerable with another person and to reveal—openly and unequivocally—parts of yourself that aren't ideal.
"This is the part of dating that is true and raw," De Keyser explains.
This is a golden period where, as Gandhi puts it, "You're lit up like a chandelier around this person." You recognize all of your partner's good qualities and "want them to fall deeply and madly in love with you." The honeymoon phase is just that: a phase.
You are realizing that what you have is deeper than 'fun, exciting, and sexy.' It is a bond and trust that keeps you together." It's after relating to each other on a completely open level that couples can move on to the final stage of commitment in a relationship: the partnership stage.
After this stage, things get less awkward and you can finally start feeling comfortable around the other person." The biggest key to success is open communication.
If you've made it past the initial awkwardness, couples enter one of the most exciting periods: the attraction stage of a relationship; also called the honeymoon phase.
Moving on from falling in love to contemplating long-term exclusivity, however, is a scary, albeit exhilarating, step to take.
This is where the uncertainty stage of a relationship sets in.