Stage 4. Performing

Stage 4. Performing

The ‘performing’ stage of a relationship is an extension of the previous three phases. It is effectively the end product of the hard work associated with ‘forming’, ‘storming’, and ‘norming’. It is what the relationship looks and feels like to the couple and others who are associated with the couple. There is a sense of direction where goals are set and achieved by the couple, decisions are made from within the parameters of the developed values of the couple, rather than two individuals, and there is a sense of identity as a couple. Although stress and conflict naturally occurs, generally these situations are managed successfully and in a positive manner. If the couple has successively negotiated the previous three phases, then ‘life is good’ with contentment and a sense of autonomy, yet connectedness to the other, being predominant for both parties.

If, however, the couple has not been able to manage the previous three phases in a positive manner, then conflict and stress will likely impose on their ability to maintain equilibrium and harmony in their daily lives. It is therefore probable that these two people will begin to engage in their life and daily activities again as individuals rather than as a couple. This inevitably leads to the next phase, that of ‘deforming’.

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