The beginning of a relationship is so fun isn’t it? The adrenaline rush of meeting someone who makes your heart flutter, the constant, sometimes incessant overthinking, the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride we love to hate and hate to love. We’ve all been there.
It’s called the “Honeymoon Phase”.
The “honeymoon phase” is characterized as a period of time when the relationship still feels fresh and exciting, and you’re constantly learning new things about each other and having first experiences together. According to psychologists, the average “honeymoon phase” lasts about 6 months to a year. 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR. That’s it! I’m no psychologist, but if you ask me, that’s a load of B.S. But in my opinion, the greater issue isn’t what the studies have shown, but rather, the concept that society (yet again) has slapped a definitive label on us. They’ve tied us up and put us in a box of constraints that has conditioned us to think, “this moment is fleeting”.
I am here to tell you its not.
YOU are in charge of your beliefs. YOU decide your vibe and the direction of your relationship. YOU allow what feeds your soul to continue and what diminishes your flame to cease.
To play devil’s advocate here, let’s give into the stigma and conform to the status quo. Let’s suppose there is a so called “honeymoon phase”. In all fairness, there is some truth to what they’re saying. At some point we are going to stop experiencing things for the first time, right? The “Good morning,” texts are going to start to feel normal, expected. The date night conversations delving into each others pasts and fantasizing the prospect of the future, are inevitably going sound repetitive. And that butterfly feeling, the hallmark of a strong, passionate connection will, unfortunately, slowly diminish.
Once we get through all of that, however, something beautiful and mature begins to happen: we start to build a life together. We start to build a relationship that’s filled with real conversations uncovering our vulnerabilities and shedding our top layer. We start to cultivate a space where we both feel safe, supported, loved. We are now entering our new reality. All of these years, we’ve been on our own. Sure people have come and gone, but now we’re discovering a whole new world with someone else. We’re having to think not just once for ourselves, but twice on their behalf. We’re having to put someone else’s happiness, convenience, and ease before yours. For the first time, we’re training ourselves on what the rest of our lives, the majority of what is left our existence, is going to look and feel like.
But remember, just because we’re settling in, just because we’re getting cozy and comfortable, doesn’t mean our job is done. It doesn’t mean “the honeymoon” is over. In fact, it’s just beginning.
And here’s how to keep it alive…
- Put in the effort. The first thing we as humans do when we get comfortable is that we stop trying. You’ve seen it happen. A couple gets so complacent in their relationship they start to “let themselves go”. Who do we have to impress anymore, right? Wrong. SO. WRONG. It’s important to remind ourselves of the beginning of the relationship. It was, after all our foundation. It’s the reason we even made it this far, so don’t abandon it. Remember, your S/O fell for you because of the person you were then. So don’t change that. Grow and evolve, yes. Be a better version of yourself, but that’s just it, a version. Don’t let go of the person you were. Those sweet love letters you used to leave each other just because, the nights you would spend staying up talking, you built those memories together—do it again! Of course, it doesn’t come as naturally anymore, but honey, welcome to being in a relationship! No one said it was going to be easy. It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes deliberate acts of love and kindness.
- Explore. One of the most important things to do with the person you love, is to find new things, places, and experiences you haven’t embarked on before, and make them personal. It’s a concept called muscle memory. When we put ourselves in similar situations we’ve been in before, our brains are trained to automatically act, think, or feel a certain way. Have you every heard a song and you’re instantly taken back? The same theory applies here. When you travel, when you go to a new restaurant, your brain recognizes it as something foreign, and when you’re with the person you love, it recognizes it as experiencing something new, like you did in the beginning during the “honeymoon phase”. Put yourself in situations that are out of your norm so that you can find your way back together.
- Set boundaries. If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone who is willing to listen to me ramble, it’s DO NOT GET TOO COMFORTABLE. Take it from me. When Chase and I first started dating, we went zero to one-freaking-hundred. And although we’ve made it to where we are now because of our experiences, we struggled. We struggled hard. It’s one of the hardest things to do when you first start dating someone. Strange even. But it’s an absolute must. We’ve all heard the (somewhat annoying) notion that men like a mysterious women, right? It’s true, and it goes both ways. Remember that if you’re in a loving, committed relationship and have the intent to spend the rest of your lives together, you have a long, long, long way to go. So don’t let it all out so soon. Don’t share every intimate moment you’ve had with others. Don’t pee with the door open. Don’t move in together if it doesn’t feel absolutely right, even if it takes a few years. Have self control and be independent. Yes, you are in this life together, and yes it is so important to navigate through it all of it hand in hand. But, you have time. Save a little privacy, a little mystery for later!
- Be independent. There is a phrase that compares a relationship to that of a bird. There are two parts, similar to the two wings, that together help the bird fly. The same goes for all of us. We must act as two independent people, with one common bond. Don’t lose sight of that. So many couples become one. They believe that oneness is the essence of a relationship. It’s not. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have relationships. We would be…well…just one being. We are human. We are independent entities. We have our own interests and our own opinions. Keep them. Don’t lose sight of your purpose, your happiness, your life. A lot of people lose themselves in relationships. They forget who they are, what they believe in, how they see the world. They’re so intertwined with their partners that they’ve created a tangled mess they can’t get out of. You are your own friend. You are the only person who will ever put yourself first. And you are the reason you are where you are now. Honor yourself. Respect yourself.
- Your relationship is YOUR relationship. It’s so hard to let go of comparisons, and in today’s age of social media and highlight reels, the phenomena has risen to the surface (as if it wasn’t bad enough already…sighhhh). Everyone is on a different path and everyone operates at a different level. Do what feels natural and follow your intuition. What works for one relationship, might be detrimental to the other. As long as you are communicating within your own relationship, you will find your happiness regardless of what the world around you is telling you to do. Take everything with a grain of salt (including this blog), because no one knows your relationship better than you. It’s a fine line to dance, I know, but it’s crucial to your happiness and success with your loved one.
Most of all, remember that we are all human. We act and we react. Our bodies and our minds change from one moment to the next altering every aspect of our lives. Be flexible and welcome it. Appreciate the beauty in every day you spend together and remember that this life has so much to offer, so let it in—the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. Appreciate the lows, for they are always followed by highs and let your love for one another guide you.
It’s the longest honeymoon you’ll ever be on, so enjoy the trip!
**For more in depth conversations on this post and many more, tune in to ‘Ever Forward Radio’ on Apple Podcasts and Spotify (or your favorite Podcast player) every third Wednesday of the month!