The Honeymoon Phase Will Ruin Your Relationship

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Photo by Adam Kontor on Unsplash

But it feels so good.

First kisses, romantic dates, that feeling of being desired deeply. And when it fades the loss is depressing. And there is a desperation to get it back.

Falling in love comes in stages. They are normal, and they are healthy. You pass through them on your way to lifetime companionship. But when we are obsessed with one phase, the one that causes those intense feelings of wanting and attraction, we miss out on the benefits of all the others.

Stage 1: Instant Chemistry

What it looks like

There is some magic formula we will never understand that causes one person to be attracted to another. You are nervous, awkward…does he like me or not? It is a bumbling first date as you try to get to know one another and look for signs. But like magnets, some indescribable force is drawing you closer together.

When it goes wrong

When you are dating, you have to give it a chance. If you find yourself going on a lot of first dates, you may be judging too quickly. Remember, beginnings are awkward. You have to give people a chance to move through those uncomfortable first moments so you can truly get a sense of who they are and if you match.

Stage 2: The Honeymoon

What it looks like

It is pure bliss. You are deeply attracted. When they enter the room you can feel your body light up. Your brain is flooded with the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine and that feel so good. And that’s why it is so dangerous.

So how do you know the difference between the end of the honeymoon phase and the decline of a relationship?

It is simple really. When you are truly in love, in place of the lust-fueled rush, you feel the warmth of love and laughter. You co-create and build together. What replaces the passion of those first days is partnership in every sense of the word. You feel deep trust in the other person. Not just trusting them to be faithful…it is much more than that. Trusting them with you. Trusting that they know and love the essence of who you are.

Falling out of love feels different. You may still love the person you are in a relationship with. But you know you do not share the same values. You don’t think on the same level. You don’t feel on the same level. Your paths in life are divergent. It just isn’t a match. So the connection fades.

When it goes wrong

When you try to stay together anyway, something strange happens. There is a pattern that forms that keeps you in a toxic dance. You fall into the pattern of fighting and making up. The more passionate the fight, the better the feeling when you come back together. So you are in a rhythm of breaking apart and coming together. And for that moment, you get a little rush of those chemicals back. Just enough to make it seem like you are in love.

It is the hallmark of a bad relationship. Manufactured drama in place of real connection. So many couples go down this road only to find it is a dead end.

Stage 3: The Questioning Phase

What it looks like

When you have been seeing someone for a while, you come to that moment. It is a simple question: is this the one?

Do you really love each other? Do you want the same things out of life? Are you headed in the same direction? This is the moment when communication becomes the key player in your relationship. It is your moment to be honest about who you are and what you truly want in life.

When the answers to these questions flow easily, you find yourselves on the same page, everything seems easy…that means it is right. Your relationship should flow, feel easy and comfortable.

When it goes wrong

He says he never wants children and you always dreamed of being a mom. Dealbreaker. He loves heavy metal and you love slow jazz. You can probably work that one out. But it is best to be honest and let the chips fall where they may. The last thing you want is to spend your life trying to convince someone to agree with you, about anything. Just let it go and move forward. You need to be on the same page about the big things.

If you can’t be honest about how you feel and what you want out of life, you will end up feeling exhausted and alone. You will know it when you feel it. If you are editing who you are and what you want for the sake of a relationship, it will not survive. Save your time and your tears. Move on.

Stage 4: Partnership

What it looks like

You talk for hours, spend days togther and it never gets old. You see who this person really is, and you allow yourself to be seen. Silly, goofy moments are normal. You laugh. You flirt. It is so much fun.

You start to move seamlessly together. Whether you are starting a project together, moving in together, getting married or starting a family, you are growing and evolving. You are building. As a couple, you have evolved. This is committed, exclusive partnership. You have decided to be together. It is not a reluctant agreement. It is an acknowledgement that you are best friends, lovers and partners in every sense of the word. Every development flows naturally from that point.

When it goes wrong

The laughter simply isn’t there. The connection feels one-sided. You try but it feels like pushing a boulder uphill. Every rung of the ladder is difficult to climb. Moving in together feels like you are dragging them along.

Making plans is difficult, if not impossible. You are frustrated more often than you are happy. Relationships are work, in that they require effort. You have to be there and you have to try. But that work should feel like it yields results without killing you to get there.

Don’t get stuck chasing the feeling of love like a drug. Drama isn’t love. It just isn’t. More than anything, you deserve to experience what it feels like to be truly seen and loved for exactly who you are. You deserve someone who will fight for you, have your back no matter what. And don’t ever settle for less.

Never love anybody that treats you like you’re ordinary.

~ Oscar Wilde

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Writing about the beautiful journey of life and love. We are all figuring this out together

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