As a handful transitions from the Merge level, they might start to experience greater connection and begin to talk about their livelihoods more openly. During this step, people discuss their lifestyles, family intentions, profession objectives and future ambitions. Effective communication skills will help couples manage conflicts and overcome obstacles that might occur during this stage, such as financial difficulties or a health crisis.

The couple begins to spend more time together and share more personal secrets during the intimacy stage. The pair is examining their long-term compatibility at this point. In order to determine whether a mate is the right choice for them, they may use characteristics like compassion, friendliness, and likeability as indicators.

The pair has already made a decision to stay together for the long-term, and they might choose to get married or have a vow-making festival. This is the final stage in Knapp’s hypothesis of interactions, but numerous newlyweds do hardly reach this stage in their relationship. Rather, they may decide to live along or form a non- loving partnership like cohabitation, a platonic friendship or monogamous relationship. Regardless of the type of connection, this crucial stage requires a level of intimacy and permanence that can be demonstrated by an statement or some other form of public exclusivity. Although intimate relationships are the foundation of Knapp’s theory of relationships, several people who are not romantically involved can also form loving unions and strong bonds.

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