Stages of Dating: The Infatuation or Merge

The Five Stages of a Relationship that Every Couple Goes Through


Did you know that every couple goes through five distinct stages in their relationship?

It’s true.  In fact, some couples move through these dating stages several times over the course of their relationship.

In this series, we’re going to explore these relationship phases so that you can understand how to navigate these each dating stage and building a successful and fulfilling relationship.  Let’s look at what these stages are.

There are five stages in each relationship.  They are:

  1. The Infatuation or Merge

  2. Doubt and Denial

  3. Disillusionment

  4. Decision

  5. Wholehearted Love

dating stages 1 matchingEach stage has its own complications and challenges and if you are going to successfully navigate your relationship, you must know which stage you are in and how you should proceed.

Over the course of a relationship, it’s possible to visit the various stages of a relationship again and again.  They are not linear like a magical relationship timeline.  In fact, they are cyclical.  It’s best to think of these stages not as a series of stepping stones toward a final destination but rather as seasons that we all move through in an ongoing cycle.

Some couples stay in certain phases longer than others.  And some, unfortunately, never make it past the first few.  A successful and fulfilling relationship is not easy; it take time, energy, and work on the part of both partners.  It’s not easy but by understanding the pitfalls, you quite possibly can minimize the risks and build a strong foundation.

The ideal, romanticized picture of relationships is often portrayed in movies and television.  It’s appealing to believe that an intimate relationship begins with the initial stage, the meet-cute or honeymoon phase, where we explore giddy, childlike infatuation.  Next, it moves into a series of trials and tribulations until, finally, the couple finds a blissful state of happily-ever-after.   It’s a satisfying narrative that neatly wraps up a relationship into enjoyable entertainment.  But it’s not as easy as Hollywood makes it seems.

stages of dating

In reality, love is a journey and not a final destination.  We shouldn’t expect to arrive at some point and look back at all the past challenges and simply say, “That’s it! We’ve arrived!  We made it.”  The truth is, there’s always another obstacle or challenge to overcome.  And in between those challenges are great moments of happiness.  It’s easy to let your guard down during those good times, but beyond where you are now, another hurdle awaits.

So what do these relationship phases look like and how should you approach them?  Let’s take it step by step.

Introduction: The Infatuation – First Relationship Stage

In this first article we will talk about the infatuation or merge  stage.  This is the part when you meet your potential partner and decide if you want to pursue something more serious.  It’s an exciting time filled with possibilities and hope for the future.  But you’ll soon see that if you don’t go into new relationship with your eyes wide open, you are liable to make some serious mistakes early on.

In a current article, you will learn:

  • What happens during the infatuation stage

  • Whether or not you should take this stage seriously

  • How to enjoy this stage of the relationship

  • How to avoid typical mistakes and not become frustrated or disappointed

  • How to make informed decisions that lead to a more fulfilling relationship


The Infatuation or Merge: Stage 1

stages of dating 1 matchingThe Infatuation is a strong feeling of attraction, fascination, and fixation toward someone.  Oftentimes, the infatuation may happen without really knowing the other person all that well.  During this phase of a relationship, our feelings can feel very intense.  The Infatuation is often based on physical attraction or an imagined fantasy about who this other person is.  This phase is sometimes also called the merge phase.

People in the infatuation stage in a relationship will often feel as if they have found their “perfect match”. 

They would like to believe this other person shares their same interests and values or may be a compatible match.  They fixate on wanting to be together with this person and, as a result, boundaries seem to melt away.  The truth is that the focusing on a fantasy of an “ideal match” is usually a big mistake.

In the media, we are fed a steady diet of what relationships look like.  There’s a fantasy of the “happily-ever-after” relationship.  We meet the right person, fall in love, and then live happily ever after.  Sometimes when we meet someone else, we are fed by this false image of what a relationship should be.  Sometimes we give in to our needs and wants. 

stages of relationship dating stages 1mathing

We may feel lonely or incomplete.  We may see our friends who appear to be in successful relationship and wonder why we are unable to find the perfect person.  When we do meet someone, we believe they could be the answer to all of our problems or frustrations.  And so we begin to explore what’s next.  We enter into the beginning stages of a relationship.

In the early stage of a relationship, our emotions often drown out the rational part of our brain.  Research shows that the infatuation stage is marked by biochemical changes in our brain.  A cocktail of dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins triggers and drives this state of the infatuation. 

This brain glow can lead us to becoming addicted to our partner.  That’s why it’s often called the “honeymoon phase”.  Everything seems new and exciting like you’re on your honeymoon.

While these feelings can be both intense and rewarding, they can also lead us to ignore red flags, warning signals, incompatibilities, and other issues that may cause problems down the road.

stages of dating 1matching

The majority of people base their view of a relationship on this early dating stage.  But this initial infatuation stage doesn’t last long.  In many cases, it can be over within a year.  If the entire relationship is based on infatuation, then it may be very difficult to weather the storm of challenges that will eventually crop up.  If your only attraction to your partner comes from these feelings of the infatuation, then the relationship may be doomed from the start.

There’s a saying that men love with their eyes.  When a beautiful, sexy woman shows interest, many men will forget about everything else while he tries to seduce her as fast as possible.  If he is successful, he will feel like a winner.  On the other hand, if his advances are met with resistance, he will begin to look for another woman.  This is the male nature.

Women, on the other hand, evaluates a potential partner by completely different standards.  She will appreciate his intelligence and self-confidence.  Appearance may be important but it is often secondary to these other characteristics.

In any case, basing your entire relationship on these early observations can lead to trouble later on in the relationship.

Read Also:

Stages of Dating 2d Stage-Doubt
Stages of Dating 3d Stage-Disillusionment
Stages of Dating 4th Stage-Decision
Stages of Dating 5th Stage- LOVE
Proportional Relationship & Roles in relationship
Signs he doesn’t want a relationship with you

The Signs of The Infatuation:

There are several signs of infatuation.  Not all of them apply in every situation, but if you find that some of these apply to you, then you are in the infatuation stage.

  1. You constantly think about the person.

  2. You have strong feelings for this person despite not having many real interactions or deep conversations.

  3. You believe the person is an “ideal” partner or the perfect match.

  4. You feel that you may be obsessed with the person.

  5. Your feelings of physical attraction may distract you from exploring other facets of this person.

  6. You don’t know the person on a personal level.

  7. Most of what you know about the person is based on appearance or on their behavior and interactions in a group setting.

  8. What you know of this person is the same as any other acquaintance.

  9. Your information comes from social media or hearsay.  Your knowledge doesn’t reflect actual conversations or experiences with the person.

  10. You fantasize about the person despite not knowing them on a personal level.

  11. You feel disappointed when the person doesn’t meet your expectations or you pass it off as just a fluke.

  12. You ignore early signs of incompatibility that may go against your fantasy.

  13. You are concerned about making a positive impression on this person and take extra steps to ensure they see you in a positive light.

  14. You are overjoyed at the idea of “having” this person or being “chosen” by them.

  15. You form strong feelings about this person.  It feels like you “knew instantly”.

  16. Everything is moving very quickly.  You reach, or want to reach, relationship milestones as fast as possible.

What to Do During the Infatuation Stage

stages of dating 1 mathingYou can enjoy this stage to the fullest, especially if you are not pursuing a serious relationship.  The feelings you experience during this stage are what makes dating so delightful and intriguing.  But there are some things to keep in mind as you explore this stage.

Be Aware of What’s Going On

Try to have a heightened awareness of your feelings and emotions.  It’s helpful to step back and take a rational approach during this stage of the relationship.  Observe your emotions and actively question whether this person is the best match for you.  It’s a good idea to think about what you are looking for in a serious relationship, even while you are having fun during this early, enjoyable time.

Seek Advice from Friends

You may also seek candid advice from your friends.  Their perspective may allow them to have some insight that may help you see any truly worrisome red flags while under the effect of the biological love potion that is happening in your brain.  It’s often hard to see the warning signs in the beginning stages of a relationship.

If You Need to Break If Off

Remember that a relationship that is based solely on the merge or infatuation stage may not have enough to sustain it during the difficult times that will inevitably come.  You may have to make a difficult decision before moving on to the other stages of a relationship.  It may be better to break off the relationship now, before it gets much more serious and you start having relationship struggles.

Know that if you decide to break off the relationship, it will be painful and difficult.  But it may be easier to do at this stage than later when you are much more emotionally invested.

A break up at this stage may also be much more painful if you are a woman.  Most men consider a break up to just be another negative experience but they quickly recover.  A man, by his very nature, is a hunter.  Once the desired goal is achieved, his interest will rapidly begin to turn elsewhere.

Women, on the other hand, become much more invested and may experience it as a traumatic loss and find it much more difficult to get past.  As a woman, you should be careful not to cross over and completely surrender to passion during the infatuation stage.  It’s easier to hope and imagine that your potential partner is “the one” and to begin picturing a happy future together.

Move Slowly

During the early stage of the relationship, it’s important to move slowly, especially when it comes to making big decisions.  While in the merge phase, your vision can become cloudy.  You may be tempted to dive into situations that may not be wise or healthy for you in the long run.  Remember that the feelings that happen during the infatuation stage are likely to fade.  Don’t make important decision because you feel like you are “so in love”.  Many couples want to move in together right away or even get married.  Ultimately the decision is your, but exercise caution and try to approach the decision in a logical or rational manner.

How long the infatuation last?

Since it’s like “The honeymoon phase,” “may or may not continue, but the longer-lasting infatuation is typically about four to six months.

It can last longer if it’s sparked by an initial spark of attraction. I don’t think we can control this process, because it is just natural. In fact, I don’t think a person who can feel love for the second time in his or her life has this feeling of “the infatuation”.

But do we have power to stop it? Because sometimes it can even be not safe for a person who is in it’s stage…why? Keep reading ⬇


Why the infatuation phase can even  be detrimental to some people?

Ask yourself: What will you do when the infatuation phase is over?”

It’s not a silly question, because infatuations are like a short spell of a very high fever.

We have a feeling that many men and women are familiar with the feeling of the high fever.

When the fever subsides, it can be very hard to go back to the real world. It feels so unreal and fantastic, just because we all need infatuations every now and then, every one of us. This feeling of being high or a little high may give a reason to the term “the fever”.

Some people ( especially those with a weak mind  ) can’t stop going there to feel better, because this is what they need most. Their real life gets forgotten too.

That is why the infatuation phase can’t be stopped if a person desires so.

If you feel like being stuck and your experience with the infatuation phase is not the best- feel free to consult some of our experts to receive professional support ⬇ 

How to get over the infatuation?

In my opinion, we have an ideal situation if we can get over an infatuation. It’s a situation where we don’t have to do anything to get over. We don’t need any special therapy or any special help. We just need time to mature a little more, to get more wisdom and then we are over. It’s a very different situation than in the past. Back in the day, when we were very young, we needed the therapy of the parents. Because, as young adults, we have so many options to choose from. Many of them were bad. If our parents had tried to guide us correctly during our infatuation, we would have been better off.

This time, we are all grown-up enough to realize the mistakes of our parents and ourselves. We have learned lessons by ourselves. We can choose between many options with a clear mind. Therefore, there is no need for parents or therapists to guide us.

If you are wondering how long will it take to get over an infatuation, the answer will be quite simple. It takes as much time as it takes to get over the other things you’ve done before in your life…

– How long it will take you to mature?

– How long it takes to come to the end of your childhood?

-How long it takes to grow-up into a young adult?

– How long it takes to become a grown woman or a grown man.

In fact, You can’t force it..




Be sure to keep a few key points in mind during the infatuation stage.

A successful, fulfilling relationship cannot be built only on the feelings and emotions that occur during the merge or infatuation stage.

Love is more than just a feeling.  Never compare or confuse the experiences you have during the beginning stages of a relationship with love.  Infatuation happens very quickly and involves a strong attraction.  Love, on the other hand, is a much deeper experience and involves knowing someone fully, feeling bonded and close to them, and caring about that person in a way that is both enduring and not centered on how they make you feel.  This kind commitment often comes in a later stage.

Look at how a person acts and behaves rather than simply listen to the words.  It’s easy to say things that sound romantic, but if you’re looking for a serious relationship, you must take off the rose-colored glasses and take time to see your potential partner for who they really are.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself in the infatuation stage, especially when you are only looking for a casual relationship.  But if you want something more serious, you must introduce rational though while you explore the merge or infatuation stage.  It can be an enjoyable time early in your relationship, but in order to progress to something more serious, your relationship must be grounded in something more than just physical attraction.

Explore the other stages of a relationship in the fallowing  articles.

Stages of Dating 2d Stage-Doubt
Stages of Dating 3d Stage-Disillusionment
Stages of Dating 4th Stage-Decision
Stages of Dating 5th Stage- LOVE

How to improve your dating process?

Katerina ElHello, I’m Kate!  A practical psychologist and founder of

Over the years, I’ve watched so many happy persons struggle at being happy in a relationship. This isn’t because they are bad people, but because certain things are missing in the right places.

At 1matching, we guide you through your dating journey, by helping you understand what works and what should come first.  So if you struggle to build up healthy relationship or simply to find the right match- we are here to help!

Get connected with us today to find out more  ⬇

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