Stages of Relationships- Creating Norms

This week we are discussing stages of relationships. This can be any type of relationship from work to romantic love. Christy discussed The Gathering and Learning Stage, Tamara discussed the importance of The Conflict Stage, and now we will look at Creating Norms. 

Creating norms is the part of the relationship that is comfortable, the calm after the storm. Everyone can take a deep breath and exhale, knowing what is expected from them now.  In a healthy relationship, everybody now knows their role in the relationship and what to expect (from what they learned in the conflict stage). Both parties know the boundaries and what will happen if the boundaries aren't kept. 

Because the relationship weathered through the conflict stage and each person shared how they felt  and what they need, they can successfully move into creating norms. It's because of having healthy conflict that you can feel comfortable and safe in a relationship now and figure out what "normal" will look like for your relationship. No one has  to play a guessing game or walk on eggshells because what is expected and hoped for has been discussed in the conflict stage. 

Some examples of norms in friendships or romantic and work relationships:

  • Giving someone who may be more introverted space when needed
  • Ways people like or dislike affection
  • Boundaries on time for meetings at work if people are running late. What's expected?
  • Does someone like to spend time outside of the relationship with friends or family? 

Many people want to get to this stage but have difficulty getting thru the storming to get there. Once the conflict is dealt with in a healthy way, creating norms is a lot of fun and more relaxing. Everyone can breathe and move toward the next stage Joleen will discuss tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.