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There are three ways a relationship can turn out:
- At the end of the day, you are undeniably happy at where you stand—with (or without) your partner.
- You surprise yourself that you even managed to stay this long in your relationship. The time that you’ve invested turned out to be a waste. In short, you are unhappy and full of regret (the latter is debatable).
- You relationship didn’t last long enough to reach a conclusion.
I am not sure about you, but I have that one friend who changes the relationship status on her Facebook, more often than she does, her clothes.
And I don’t know if the problem lies with the type of guys she dates, or if it is just her. But I have seen the waterworks and the bleeding mascara on her face. And on top of that, I have gained 5 pounds consoling her over 5 whole seasons of Gossip Girl, while eating a frozen tub of Cookies n’ Cream.
And then I found the problem…
It was hard for her to maintain a long-term relationship not because the guys she dated were jerks. But because every time she began settling down, something felt different. Something was changing in their attitude towards each other. And before she knew it, the roller coaster ride that was heading towards the peak in her relationship came chugging down.
And that is how, in approximately 50 words, I have summed up what is meant by The Honeymoon Phase. And the end of it.
But let’s start from the beginning because it is much more complicated than that:
So…What’s the honeymoon phase?
Urban Dictionary: The Honeymoon Phase is when you don’t see anyone else as attractive, compared to the one your heart is set on.
Guy: Man, Jenna has me hooked, I think I’m in the honey moon phase, I don’t see anybody else, and she’s all I think about!
Guy 2: Wow, that’s a lot to take in. She’s the one.
Well, that’s part of the definition.
The honeymoon phase (or the ‘Idealization’ phase as psychologists like to call it) is a period in your relationship where both parties are infinitely happy. This honeymoon phase happens anywhere near the beginning of your relationship, to as far out as the middle of your relationship. But essentially, it is a period of time where things are still new and exciting.
And just so it might be worth mentioning, the honeymoon phase doesn’t happen to everyone. But it does happen to most people, and it can happen to married couples, as well as couples who are simply dating….at least that’s what a study in the journal of Prevention Science said.
why do we experience the honeymoon phase?
Ah, fantastic question! Here’s the science behind it…
During the honeymoon phase of your relationship, your body begins producing certain hormones that gets released in your system. These hormones are similar to that of Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline)—they make you feel more alive and excited to be in a relationship.
But as we’ve all heard, love is magic. And to a certain extent, it is true! Love doesn’t solely revolve around enzymes and chemicals diffusing….because believe it or not, “Cupid” is a little more than real.
According to a BBC article “The Science of Love,” there are three neurotransmitters called ‘monoamines’. They play an important role in the second stage of falling in love; that is, attraction.
- Dopamine – Also activated by cocaine and nicotine. is released at levels that make you crave more time with the person you are sharing your relationship with.
- Norepinephrine – Also known as adrenalin (again), is what gets us sweating and our heart’s racing.
- Serotonin – This is the most important chemical because it’s the only one that actually makes us ‘fall in love’. As scary as it sounds, Serotonin is actually addictive and it does have the ability to send us temporarily insane.
Well, I hope I didn’t frighten you with the last monoamine, because these three neurotransmitters actually make up ‘Cupid’s Chemical’.
And now that I come to think about it, the process of falling in love seems a lot more complicated than just simply shooting a ‘love arrow’. Dopamine? Norepinephrine? I can hardly pronounce those words! Yet, it’s pretty amazing how so many of us fall so easily in love…so effortlessly…so many times in our lives.
When is the honeymoon phase over?
I’m sorry. I feel slightly terrible that after you’ve read my whole magical paragraph on ‘falling in love’, it’s time to discuss why we fall out of love.
Because as if life isn’t already unfair for most of us…love and happiness now comes with an expiration date. Fantastic.
According to a poll of 5,000 married couples, the honeymoon phase is well and truly over after two years of marriage. For many couples in other relationships, the end comes much sooner.
The only good news is that the period of longevity for the honeymoon phase differs from individuals and couples. It also depends on one’s lifestyle and the external pressure placed on the relationship. Some honeymoon phase lasts as long as a couple of years; others, as short as a mere few months. This means that it is possible to stretch your honeymoon phase if both parties in the relationship work hard to keep it going. But you must be careful to not over exhaust yourself. Because the last thing you’d want is your efforts to backfire…it would be pretty sad if your relationship ends earlier than it could have lasted, just because you tried too hard to keep it going.
And whatever happens, you’ve got to understand that it is inevitable for the honeymoon phase to end. That is why it’s called a phase.
Getting back up from the honeymoon phase
I know…I know. I said that the honeymoon phase will ultimately end, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying! People ‘fall out of love’ not because they are void of all feelings for one another; that’s quite impossible unless you’ve never actually loved the person from the start. So, it is simply because things have changed. And more often than not, people fall out of love because they no longer have things in common. Or at least they think they don’t.
You see, when you’re no longer ‘in love’, it could very well be that you’re just bored with each other. Remember when you were little and your parents bought you that new toy? You were excited for the first couple of days. You carried it around, you played with it and you kept it new and shiny. But after a period of time, you figured out all its magic features. You played with it in a 1000 different ways. And then suddenly, there’s nothing left of it to explore.
Well, that essentially how the honeymoon phases ends. Couples start getting bored because they’ve forgotten what excitement feels like, with each other.
So…it’s kind of a no-brainer to say “then go out and try to find some fun!” Because if you sit exactly where you are right now without even putting in the effort to change things, your honeymoon phase will sizzle. And you might just lose the most important person that could have been someone special in your relationship.
First off, let me just say that I’m imagining the worst-case-scenario. But in the event that you’ve tried your best and your honeymoon phase seems to be dissolving, then it is time to let go.
And the very first step to getting over any awful situation is to accept it; accept the fact that things have changed and flames have settled.
Sadly, we do not live in a fairytale. Things happen for unexplainable reasons even though we try our best. But that doesn’t mean that we have failed. It just means that some things aren’t right for us.
And that is OK.
3. MOVE ON:
This is the stage where your honeymoon phase is officially over.
And this stage is the most difficult because you have to question your relationship: are you guys right for one another?
I’ve talked a lot about boredom and love, and it’s safe to say i’ve established that they are not the same.
When you’re without your partner, do you still miss them? Do you feel a sense of loss in your relationship? Or do you find yourself edging towards that cute girl sitting on the stool? Hey, what about that well-chiseled bartender? He looks friendly! If it is any of the latter, then it might be time to move on.
Relationship decisions are never easy. And more often than not, we let our frustrations get in the way of our emotions. But that is why it is important to understand how possible it is to be bored in a relationship, yet still madly in love with your partner.
A ‘honeymoon phase’ is merely a phrase. It doesn’t have to mean anything if you and your partner are willing to work it out. Because when I say ‘move on’, I don’t mean ditch the relationship.
What I mean is, find the path that’s right for you. Find a path that would make both you and your partner happy. And if both of you guys are meant to be together, then move on from the honeymoon phase — pick yourselves up and start again.
Moving on isn’t only about abandoning a relationship when you’ve hit a dead end. Moving on can be positive. And that includes leaving the worst of your relationship behind to try again with your partner.
Flames settle, but they can be re-ginited. Night falls, but the day always come back. The honeymoon phase will end, but whatever type of magic that happens after is entirely up to you. Because there’s always a second chance for anyone who needs it.
So…The Dead End? Hmm…not always.