Will your relationship survive the end its honeymoon phase? Here are my 10 telltale signs the honeymoon phase is giving way to something new, and what the traps and pitfalls to watch out for are.
Why The Honeymoon Phase Needs To End
The honeymoon phase serves a singular evolutionary purpose; to promote bonding.
If it weren’t for the hormonal and behavioral changes that this phase triggers, few relationships would survive the stress of building the rapport and trust necessary for long term commitment.
The trouble with this temporary hormonal roller-coaster is that while it serves to unite, it is also unsustainable. Both physically and psychologically.
Our hormonal overdrive is not compatible with the sober, calculated and objective nature of long term decision making.
Transitioning from attraction to attachment (the long term stage where all the “important” relationship functions take place) will necessitate that the honeymoon phase die.
I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.Edna St. Vincent Millay
If not, the temporary blindness of the honeymoon phase will mean overlooking red flags that might compromise our long term health.
So, before we talk about how to make this transition cleanly, we need to first accept that it is necessary for it to end.
The end of the honeymoon phase is not the beginning of a slow emotive death. It isn’t the slow slide down from the peak of Mount Romance. It is the birth of something tangible, objective and rooted in a shared reality.
From Attraction To Attachment
The honeymoon phase should just not be considered the end of a “high” period, but rather the birth of something resilient and real. This isn’t just semantics, if your goal is a long term relationship then the “winding down” of the relationship’s emotions and routine will actually end up saving it.
- We once again work on other aspects of our lives that have been catching dust (work, family, friends, e.t.c).
- The return to objectivity means making fundamentally better decisions (romantic as well as existential).
- We aren’t burning through as many resources (emotionally and financially).
Yes, the honeymoon phase is wild and fun, but it is also intoxicating, intense and draining. Taking the train to attachment-land is a necessary step to save the dream from becoming a nightmare once the “other” pillars of our fulfillment fall into neglect.
10 Signs The End Honeymoon Phase Is Ending
Romantic love has its place but to define relationship solely in romantic terms is like describing marriage only by what a couple does on their honeymoon.
Dermot Davis (Zen and Sex)
So, hopefully by now I’ve beaten the attachment drum enough that the fear of the honeypocalyse has diminished. These signs therefore, should not be taken as a series of red flags but actually as an opportunity to steer the relationship in the right direction.
- When your partner’s imperfections become more pronounced.
- When you might (subtly) begin to try and change aspects of their routine/nature to improve the relationship.
- When you are more likely to make decisions based on how you (alone) feel rather than how you (as a couple) do.
- When personal distance and space starts mattering again.
- Other priorities come into focus once more (work, family, friends).
- When romanticism and mystery give way to routine and familiarity.
- When you begin to find ways to manage and channel resentment.
- When silence is as comfortable as any intense conversation.
- When communicating effectively becomes more important than losing yourself within each other’s presence (personal opinion but debatable).
- When you start segregating aspects of your life off to enjoy for yourself.
Signs The Transition Isn’t Going Well
Please note: Arguing and bickering is not a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Unless you are willing to confront change head-on the relationship will not survive. Having said that, there are a series of red flags that need to be talked about, if only so that they can be confronted before they cause lasting damage.
- You fear confrontation. Expressing yourself becomes a problem because you fear causing offence or aggressive backlash.
- You have no real way to channel day to day stress and are beginning to feel taken for granted. This may not be your partners fault, but unless you find a way to deal with stress it will become a relationship problem eventually.
- Your needs conflict (wants on the other hand can clash). Fundamental needs cannot be negotiated away, but the honeymoon phase has a way of cloaking these differences until they emerge once the long term gear is engaged.
- When the notion of breaking up seems to creep, even subtly, into every single minor skirmish. Yup, it’s coming from somewhere.
Not all of these signs, especially if taken in isolation, spell doom for long term love. But they should be dealt with before they lead to a terminal build up of resentment.