Five Stages of a Lesbian Relationship Five Stages of a Lesbian Relationship
Being a lesbian, you would want to experience an emotionally secure, mutually... Five Stages of a Lesbian Relationship

Being a lesbian, you would want to experience an emotionally secure, mutually supportive and a lovely relationship with your partner. This article will nourish your mind and life by walking you through the friendly developed, evidence based stages to grow together with your partner.

What is discovered about the relationship between lesbians?

We all want to prevent ourselves from problematic interactions with those we want to have a mature and long-term relationship. It is quite amazing and assuring to know that same-sex relationships have been present since decades and lesbians feel high levels of satisfaction in relationship as shown in various research studies of 1980’s. Similarly, Lawrence Kurdek and J. Patrick Schmitt (1986), based on their comparative study, commented that lesbian relationship developmental stages are all same in all the categories of couples.

Highly competent, respected, and hard working authors and researchers of the psychology field such as Julien and Gottman, (2003) have pointed out that lesbian couples want to enjoy the same intimate bonds and romance we all see around between opposite sex couples.

What to expect as a lesbian in a relationship?

Lesbianism is an ongoing process; a never-ending lesbian relationship, deep in the frame of developmental stages.

If you see development of a human being, you will observe changes in their physical appearance, speech, social skills, emotions, and thinking after a certain time.

Let’s see how this principle found about lesbians as a personality targets to reach unconscious mind and its relation to biological and environmental interactions. This has long been known as the “Theory of Psychosexual Development” by Sigmund Freud, who is referred to as the Father of psychoanalysis, which was named after he developed Psychodynamic Theory.

The lesbian relationship emerges and matures through the concept of fixation of women at the phallic stage. What is it? It happens when attraction occurs between human beings towards one another after the recognition of not having the sex organs of opposite gender. This triggers the need of dominance over a person of same gender in a way the men do.

Some women find satisfaction and achieve the last stage with a stable identity formation while others might stay confused in acceptance and trusting. One way we can get insight and comprehensive knowledge of the topic is through Erik Erikson’s development theory of identity crises or conflict. (June 2004 issue of Journal of Family Psychology)

The five stages

Lesbian relationship involves the same struggles for finances and blended families as opposite sex couples. Solomon, Rothblum, and Balsam did comparison between lesbian couples and married heterosexuals; surprisingly, the results showed no differences between the two types of couples. This also indicated equal division of work at home and reported support from their friends and families. Life in urban areas where people have an unbiased mindset is better, and surviving as a lesbian couple is far easier (Patterson)

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Latest studies and clinical trials including lesbian population have summarized stages for a successful and admirable lesbian relationship.

Let’s have a look –

1. Unification

None of us feel good when we are alone. The time of first year of moving in together in a relationship is a turning point for both of partners. They share responsibilities of the house, indulge in frequent romance sessions, experience sexual contacts often, get to know each other’s positive and negative traits, and strengths and weaknesses.

Better understanding, opportunities to create mutual plans, and balancing time for love and work is all settled during this phase. This is hard but socially bonding the two partners to make decisions, perform earning activities, and assign the dominant partner to rule and encourage the other one to cope with hurdles in strengthening the relationship.

2. Homemaking

This stage includes building the relationship with more love, care, sharing, and acceptance. To appreciate each other’s lifestyle, habits, and personality differences and to try behaving as one enriches compatibility.

Homemaking stage goes on for the next two years after the first phase, strengthening the relationship through unification. This marks the stage as a realistic presentation of the compatibility with the partner and stresses much upon commitment expectations that have already been discussed between the two people in love with each other. It shows belongingness apart from physical needs and demands to bring out and cater to emotional needs as well.

 3. Maintaining

In the third and fourth years of a lesbian relationship, you must make rules, make new friends, and start new hobbies and interests outside the relationship. A couple’s individual social life, separate social groups and habit of going out with their friends is a good idea at this time. The rituals and traditions of both partners are now merged. You can consider identities that are all set.

 4. Building

This stage covers sixth to tenth years of the relationship. It is a great time to fix broken areas and fill gaps that you had left in the earlier stages. If the division of career, social life, housework, and financial matters are not fine, then take steps to prepare for future and years ahead because now the trust has been built.

5. Releasing

This is the fruitful time, as after 10-20 years of relationship, both partners have everything with them as their own. The concept of sharing and doubts is no longer applicable and has changed from strong will to no wish of changing anything and anyone. Smoothly and slowly, the dependency grows along with the rights on each other and the resources.

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Another side of the coin that same researches have brought to light and lesbians question about is: why they go through crises of middle age, trying to sleep separately, getting bored at times, and needing a break just like other couples? The answer is simple; this is one of the life’s stages and nothing more. Straight couples have loose intimate relationship ties too at some point.

Renewal is the last step; it is the time when both partners have grown old and have retired from work. They start to consider themselves as they are united to deal with the aging signs. Health issues call for care and attention.

After briefly going through the 5 stages, it would be highly interesting to read on the psychosocial development theory by Erikson in detail to associate life’s meaning in the light of same-sex bonding and ending.

Remember to note these stages work as the foundation of a lesbian relationship. Majority of research studies have successfully found that before entering the stages, there is no rule to maintain equal amount of contentment and to have a smooth passage in the lesbian relationship. They are different for each lesbian couple.


It is important to adopt these stages as guidance for the purpose of doing expected activity determined by each stage. For instance, if on a certain stage a couple needs to develop trust and understanding, the couple’s focus must be on building trust and understanding between them. It is valid to think this way even after final stage and we, as creatures of habit, work great with variation to progress.

Cardell, M., Finn, S., &Marecek, J. Sex-role identity, sex-role behavior, and satisfaction inheterosexual, lesbian, and gay male couples. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 1981,5, 488-494.


Freud, A. (1984). The Ego and the Mechanism of Defense (The Writings of Anna Freud,Vol. 2; rev. ed.). New York: International Universities Press.


Freud, S. (1893-1895). Studies in hysteria. In The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud: The standard edition (Vol. 2, pp. 1-310). London: Hogarth Press.


Green, R. J. (2004). Rick and Resilience in Lesbian and Gay Couples: Comment on Solomon, Rothblum, and Balsam (2004). Journal of Family Psychology, 18(2), 290-292.


Patterson, C. J. (2004). What Difference Does a Civil Union Make? Changing Public Policies and the Experiences of Same-Sex Couples: Comment on Solomon, Rothblum, and Balsam (2004). Journal of Family Psychology, 18(2), 287-289.


Soloman, S. E., Rothblum, E. D., and Balsam, K. F. (2004). Pioneers in Partnership: Lesbian and Gay couples in Civil Unions Compared With Those Not in Civil Unions and Married Heterosexual Siblings. Journal of Family Psychology, 18(2), 275-286.

Nazish Idrees

Nazish Idrees

My name is Nazish Idrees and I have been practicing in the field of Clinical Psychology since my graduation. I have dealt with various kinds of vulnerable population in public and private sectors for therapeutic services, psychological and psychometric assessments, took part in research projects and community interventions. My MS in Clinical Psychology is in process from the University of Central Punjab Lahore, Pakistan. For over three years, I have been a ghostwriter for diverse content niches. These cover psychology and nutrition. This has also lead to other therapies and natural treatments including herbal skincare and aromatherapy. Feel free to join the Facebook Group -