Developmental Stages of Love

Developmental Stages of Love

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1-4 Physical non-cognitive expression of love (caring)

4-10 Platonic, emotional sensory expression without verbal comprehension
10 – 18 Hormone driven, need driven – first love
21-30 Coming of age. Sorting out who I am – From need to want – procreation
30=45 Procreation – hormonal time clock – mature selection – cognitive choice
21-45 Parenting years
45 -60 Mid – life – Deeper awareness of needs and desires in a partnership
60-70 Seeking companionship and recognition of unfulfilled needs
60-70+ Grand parenting years
70=90+ Acceptance and Resolution =comfort

There are two ways to look at the development of love –the first is by the above life stages and how they affect love or love affects them, while the second is from within where we emotionally struggle with what love is and how the experience of expressed- the stages of the love experience.

The Stages of the Love Experience
The love experience can be very frightening and overpowering to many people. After all it is a situation where you don’t have control of part of your life and that is a vey uncomfortable feeling. If you are very young and this is your first experience it totally preoccupies you. Your immediate goals may be affected. Your concentration is disrupted. Your life focus is thrown off kilter for awhile. The initial experience blindsides you because up to this point in your life you had full control of your life and didn’t have to think about anyone else. This experience is very different for older individuals, after you have had a first love situation. There is an absence of caution in this first relationship because you have never experienced devastation of rejection or the failure of the relationship. Indeed, you are quite convinced that it will last a lifetime.

A new relationship in your late 20’s or early 30’s is approached quite differently. There is much more caution because rejection hurts and we protect ourselves from it whenever we see the possibility of it. We often have developed issues around trust and find it more difficult to trust our feelings and those implied by the new relationship. We may run when we shouldn’t or we may stay when we shouldn’t. These doubts don’t affect the love but do affect the experience of love and what we do with it.