The relationship life cycle

Angry African Couple Relationship The original intents of most unions are for the mutual gains to progress steadily through the cycle

Tue, 4 Jul 2017 Source: Nana Kwaku-Jr

Firstly, it’s only academically decent to acknowledge that the subject matter and its related concept constitutes my personal rendition – but relationship-wise, of the impeccable theory – THE PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE that was once developed, propounded and popularised by the renowned American economist, Raymond Vernon.

THE PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE describes the period of time over which a new product and or service is developed by an organisation, brought to the market and its eventual extinction from the market. The cycle represents four (4) stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline as displayed on the original diagram above—the right one.

THE RELATIONSHIP LIFE CYCLE model also pursues to portray the period over which two or more individuals of same or opposite sexes find a novel casual or intimate relationship(s), which are similarly characterised by the same four (4) stages upon which I seek to do a human relationship rendition as duly captured and unveiled in the imitated diagram above – the left one.

Reasonably, this model – THE RELATIONSHIP LIFE CYCLE could be employed as a just measure to ascertaining a given stage at which an individual’s or some individuals’ relationship(s) with another is, while nurturing thoughts implying that delineations for the various four (4) stages may be subjective, owing to an individual’s respective experience.

However, let’s endeavour to be objective as and when there’s demand. Let it also be that even when this model is verily applicable to all ilk of affiliations/ relationships/ unions, regardless of their probable early or late separations or breakups, the focal point in this piece would be on intimate relationships – thus from courtship to nuptial – those involving sexual intercourse.

Mutual gains as indicated on the imitated diagram above represents the benefits, achievements, improvements, rewards and all goodies enjoyed collectively in the relationship. Time (on the imitated diagram above) in this context defines the extent to which a given relationship can travel over a period. Alright, so let’s expatiate on the four (4) stages for individual determinations.


This is a phase I would personally christen as the ‘getting-to-know-us’ process, such that in the event a guy/ man meets a lady/ woman or vice versa, a plethora of actions and inactions are initiated especially when both parties appear appealing to the other. The first and most famous initiation amongst the lots, but mostly on the part of the male is regular phone calls, including mornings and midmornings, afternoons and mid-afternoons, evenings, nights and sometimes, at dawn – ‘anadwo y3 d3,’ to wit, ‘night is sweet.’ And the first reason behind that phone call is the famous, “I just wanna check-up on you,” and in furtherance, “… to know how you’re doing.” Things we do for ‘love.’ Hmm.

Overlooking each other’s oblivious shortfall(s) is another conscious act at this stage; but again mostly initiated by the male, especially when he is privy to what exactly he seeks, i.e., hit-and-run or long-term relationship.

Now, exorbitant or moderate expenditures, but again mostly on the part of the male is another worthy consideration. This is by no means a measure to assume that all existing or prospective intimate relationships did or will experience such degrees of expenditures at this early stage – I’m certain of few exceptions – but majority wins, right?

So, if any of the degrees of expenditures assumed did or do manifest, you would be certain to ascertain elements of scheduled rendezvous for breakfast/ lunch/ dinner – in extreme circumstances, all the three or more square meals; abandoning TV sets for the movies; regular or intermittent shopping; calling credit vouchers, and etcetera – you know the rest.


This phase is a buildup on the preceding one and follows suit to the subsequent phases. It is simply an indication that all appears to be going well for the two in the relationship.

Sex: Already, I foresee the ‘Krifeys and Jesus-people’ wearing repulsive facial looks – frowns, giggles, chuckles, and etcetera – you know the rest; suggesting their relationships are within or transcends this phase, yet sex-free – I thank God for that. But I’m being real, while I form a part of the sinful majority – may God proffer us remission, especially me. Sex for many others (mostly females) is a big deal, which couldn’t have been deemed a misplaced primacy, clearly when issues of ethics as well as several religions including Christianity, and Islam frown on its early occurrence prior to a nuptial. Well, unfortunately, the extent to which we’re having more sex lately exceeds that of the frequency at which our religious and moral consciences are able to prompt us.

Another earnest consideration is when both parties come out of their shy-shells to effect consistent and or torrential arguments that maybe judged constructive or otherwise. However, it may not be enough grounds for separation or breakup, in lieu, a way to realising the wrongs to forge ahead for greater success – possibly marriage.


Introduction to the respective kindred and friends; in most situations, the relationship couldn’t be deemed matured for a possible nuptial if there’s the absence of any formal or informal introductions, thus to families and or friends of both parties – there maybe a few exceptions though. Personally, I kept a great and promising intimate relationship with a superb female for nearly six (6) years, but introduced her once to my kindred (only my mum), yet to a substantial number of friends on numerous occasions – I can explain, but it doesn’t matter anymore. Even after our long mistimed breakup, she is still skeptic till date whether or not that woman she had met is really my mum.

Marriage is undoubtedly the icing on the cake in relationships for both parties, especially the lady; but not immediately too much of a priority for most guys, including myself almost regardless of age – I know that and I swear I do. The most familiar reasons are: we’re cash strapped; and or deficient of exploration, so we’re not ready. Now, ceteris paribus from the onset of the courtship thus far, then a glorious nuptial ceremony would be the befitting crown for the conscious efforts of both parties – the bride and groom. But really, how distinctive is a courtship from a nuptial? Illustration of marriage on ‘THE RELATIONSHIP LIFE CYCLE CURVE’ above is the apex, i.e., where the topmost curve with the tiny red ink touches the vertical line or dots identified in between maturity and decline stages.


This phase defines happenings that are not pleasing to the union – simply put, gradually there’s nothing interesting about the union any longer, which could be owed to some habitual doings and excesses within or outside one or both parties’ control.

Breakeven point is a moment in economics and business, where total cost invested in the business and total revenue accrued from the business are equal – there’s no profit or loss. Similar moments may not be scarce in any form of union, including marriage where the mutual gains experienced are not encouraging, when compared to efforts made by one or both parties just to make the union function again. At this juncture, one or both parties in the union feel useless, hopeless and might consider a possible separation and or divorce; but for the prime purposes of personal reasons, including morality issues – Am I the bad wife or husband?; dilemma of indecision – Should I secede from the marriage or not?; public opinions – What would people say about me?; religion – God or Allah doesn’t permit divorce. Hmm – profound sigh, but of displeasure, not respite.

At this Breakeven point, the international standard practice for most organisations have been rejuvenation in the form of rebranding its products and or services, and or the entire outfit just to stay in business. Similarly, rebranding is effectively applicable in every union, i.e., when both parties turn on a new leaf to safeguard the union.

Divorce: Oh, I’m heartbroken we have to come thus far. Well, like marriage is the icing on most intimate relationships, so is divorce the bile. Every foreseeable or unforeseeable divorce had a negative evidential harbinger(s) privy to either party if not both, and would only manifest wholly if treated with immeasurable contempt—consciously or otherwise. Simply put, divorce occurs only when all odds are held constant, where mutual gains are fast becoming mutual losses. Illustration of divorce on ‘THE RELATIONSHIP LIFECYCLE CURVE’ above is when the dropping curve after the apex finally touches the horizontal line, i.e., TIME.


The original intents of most unions are for the mutual gains to progress steadily through the cycle over time and never drop after an apex in a given moment, but pending a natural death by one or both parties. A section of page 45 of former President John Dramani Mahama’s book: ‘MY FIRST COUP D’ETAT,’ reads, “Surprises, like misfortunes, seldom come alone.” In the context of a union, we could take every foreseeable negative evidential harbinger (external marital affairs, physical and emotional tortures, death, and etcetera) and the substantive occurrence of divorce for surprises and misfortunes that rarely come alone; but mostly with unbearable setbacks especially when kids and or huge commitments are involved – you know the rest.

While I’m personally opposed to divorce owing to its horrendous consequences most times, I also wholeheartedly dissent with the Bible and its interpreters – some horrible Pastors and the likes, if indeed their stance is that divorce isn’t permissible even in the face of looming and glaring negative evidential harbinger(s) of indefinable danger sans change in sight. Please note: one way of shutting the door to a breakup or divorce is simply by appreciating its existence, proximity than usual and not display complacency about being with the best partner. That way both parties are tempted to exhibiting attitudes to eschew possible harbingers with proclivities to causing a possible breakup or divorce – the success of every relationship or marriage is the result of premeditated efforts by both parties – but not necessarily by the Holy Ghost.

Columnist: Nana Kwaku-Jr