While on vacation at Lake George with family and friends, I’ve been reading John Gray’s Mars and Venus on a Date. In this book, he reveals the 5 stages of dating to create a loving and lasting relationship. If you want to navigate through dating all the way to a committed relationship, understanding these stages is a must. So here they are:

Stage #1. Attraction. In this stage, you want to show up as your best self. That means you want to be intentional about sharing the positive aspects of your life. Be lighthearted, playful and authentic in your attitude and energy. The key here is understanding that “a man is attracted to a woman who can be pleased.” I would add, “to be easily and effortlessly pleased.” When you show a guy that you’re happy with yourself and your life, you’ll naturally increase his attraction towards you.

Stage #2. Uncertainty. This is the stage where you are unsure if he’s right for you. Actually, you could be dating your soulmate and not even know it. Understanding this stage means you can give him and yourself a chance for a relationship. Also, this will help you avoid the common mistake of pursuing a man; that mistake will prevent him from seeing “the one” in you. What you want to focus on instead is what you’re getting from a man (focusing on facts only) and get support from others, like a dating coach. At some point in this stage, you may become more involved. If you do, you’ll move to Stage #3.

Stage #3. Exclusivity. In this stage, you make a commitment to each other to be exclusive. Here you have the most negotiating power and can ask for what you want in a positive way, without complaining, nagging or criticizing. You also want to avoid the common mistake of evaluating him. Instead, focus on bringing out the best in him and yourself. When you understand the purpose of this stage, -creating positive experiences together, you’ll be more likely to move to the next stage.

Stage #4. Intimacy. In this stage, you slowly reveal more of who you are by becoming more intimate. You can open up, communicate and share your vulnerable side more. The most common mistake to avoid here is to not allow a man to pull away. When you understand that men move back and forth in this stage and support his need to pull away occasionally, he’ll come back loving you even more. At this point, when you recognize each other as soulmates, you’ll be able to move to the final stage.

Stage #5. Engagement. In this stage, you know you’re in love with your soulmate and want to spend the rest of your life with him. The most common mistake you want to avoid here is rushing into taking on the responsibilities of marriage. Instead, use this stage to create a strong foundation for sharing your life together. This is the perfect stage to practice being forgiving of your man and trusting that he is doing his best to give you what you want. The ability to forgive is the most important skill you can develop in this stage, in order to create a loving and lasting relationship.

Comment here to share what stage of dating you’re in now. If you have any questions about how to move into the next stage, ask me.