The first stage of a healthy relationship is excitement.
The excitement of a new relationship comes from not knowing where the relationship will lead, from getting to know each other better each day, and from the sexual tension so often found at the beginning stages. This stage is important because it allows two people to discover if there is true chemistry between them, which is important in any lasting relationship.
Getting to know one another better means two people learning each others' flaws, as well as good points.
Nobody is perfect, as people discover as their relationships progress through the stages. The acceptance stage is deciding whether the good points about the person are enough to make up for those inevitable imperfections .
Trust is a key stage in any relationship.
It does not happen overnight, but is built as two people get to know each other. If two people find they cannot trust one another, their relationship will likely not have a realistic future.
Meeting the Family
The next stage involves two people being comfortable enough around each other, and confident enough in the relationship, to introduce each other to their friends and families.
While the most important point is that the two people in the relationship like each other, many people seek the approval of their friends and families in regards to their significant other. Meeting the family is a big step, but an important one for any relationship with a true future.
Commitment is a stage that two people can only reach once they have gone through the previous stages, perhaps with the exception of meeting the family.
There are many ways to show commitment, from moving in together, to an engagement. When two people commit to one another, they are taking themselves off the dating market, perhaps for good. Many people take years to commit simply because it's such a huge step, and is not to be taken lightly.
Commitment is a huge life change, and so the next stage of a healthy relationship is adjustment to this change.
If two people have moved in together, they must adjust to being around each other every day. Real life is sure to get in the way, and people in committed relationships need to figure out how they will support each other through the good times and the bad. This stage can go on indefinitely in any healthy relationship.