It's important to know the process so you can tell when things are moving in the right direction.
First, there's romance and attraction where you are starting to get to know each other. The second stage is when reality sets in where you decide if you want to be together. The third stage is disappointment where things get dicey when you try to work out your differences and find stability.
The fourth stage is stability where you got through the rough waters of stage 3. The final and fifth stage is commitment, which is when you are officially a team with a mature and sustainable love that lasts forever in an ideal world.
Following all five stages will bring you to a healthy long-term relationship. If not, you may be wasting your time.