When the honeymoon is over
Relationships are forever – right?
Well. Maybe. After all, who could say it better than Rita Rudner – “I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.“
But the reality is that relationships go through phases. And it’s how you and your partner manage those phases – the ups, the downs, the whatevers, that determines whether your relationship survives and, if so, what sort of relationship it will be.
And, arguably, there is no more tumultuous a phase in the course of a relationship than the end of the so-called “honeymoon period”.
We all know that relationships start with a honeymoon. You remember – that period after you first got together. You know, you might have known each other forever but there is that one point in time at which you really connected – when you really got together. Maybe it was just a smile; maybe it was just a warm hug; or maybe it was just a simple but enduring kiss – I must confess, it was just that sort of kiss for me and my all time favourite partner – but I digress.
The point is, there is a period after you first really get together that is just wonderful. It’s full of anticipation, excitement, passion and, yeah, to be honest, pure lust. Come on, you remember – say, the first 3 months when you just can’t keep your hands (and other body parts!) off each other. You do nothing but have sex and spend all your time with one another; you send each other ridiculous numbers of texts or whatever social media you’re into – do people still “write” love letters? – anyway, whatever media you use, you remember those messages about how hot you think they are and promising undying devotion and so on….
In a word, it’s the period when you are convinced of the fact that “love is a feeling not a decision“. Oh yeah!
But then – you know how it goes – something happens. All those feelings start to fade.
We have all been there at some time or other – maybe even lots of times.
Why is that?
Is it because we are pre-destined by evolution or whatever to just get together for a short
while and have sex with as many partners as possible, and then move on to spread our DNA as widely as we can to ensure our genes are passed on?
I really don’t know the answer to that. But it is undeniable that there is a lull in the passion stakes after a short period we call the honeymoon.
And how do we deal with it?
As a general rule, we just let it ride and the relationship moves on from the passion zone to the comfort zone. You remember that too, don’t you – when you arrange to meet him or her and you don’t feel the belly tingling excitement in anticipation of seeing them like you used to.
Welcome to reality!
Relationships are not about whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears, long walks in the woods, and fireworks every time you have sex. At some point, reality bites – it really bites.
And it’s just as well it does, frankly – if for no other reason than to give your friends a break from every conversation being about how fantastic is your new partner!
Further, let’s face it, it’s just as well for your sake also that relationships cool for a while. God, if we all carried on forever like we did during the first three months with the loves of our lives, we’d be crippled, dead and blind, not to mention chafed!!
Is there anything you can do?
Well, first, you need to accept that this is a time of discovery – specifically, to discover whether the relationship is based on love or lust.
Dating someone and not feeling the hot passion you experienced the first time you were together doesn’t mean it’s over. It just means the relationship has moved to the next phase – generally a more realistic phase.
That is, of course, unless you are in one of two kinds of relationship.
First, the honeymoon fades in all relationships unless you are with a hopeless romantic – see my earlier article about them. But let’s ignore them – at least for now – because they can become a little tedious.
Second, the honeymoon fades unless you know, even deep down inside of you, that the relationship is not for you and you’re just staying for other reasons. If this is the case, you have to ask yourself why? Are you staying with the person because you’ll be bored on a weekend? Are you waiting for someone else to come along etc… If this is the case it is wrong – oh so wrong – and you really need to let go.
Otherwise, it could just be the case that okay, yes, the honeymoon period is over. You may actually like your partner – even love them. It’s just that things have cooled a little. Now, in that case, there is a different strategy you may want to try – that is, let it grow!
After all, as Charlotte Bronte wrote in Jane Eyre – “Our honeymoon will shine our life long: its beams only fade over your grave or mine.” Okay, I agree, that’s a bit sombre. And, yes, a little too romantic for my liking to be honest. Because the reality we all know is far removed from that eternal love image that Charlotte painted.
Yes, most honeymoon periods last 3 months at best. So how about Cori Moore’s words from Half Breed – “She bared her teeth at me. ‘Screw you, shifter!’. Ah, is our honeymoon period over so quickly? You wanted to jump my bones just a second ago!“. More to your liking? It is to mine!! And it certainly closer to the reality I know.
So how do you know if it’s love or lust
Whether there is a future after the honeymoon period is over will often depend on the basis of the relationship. That is, is the relationship based on love or lust?
Here are some tips to help you discern which of the two your relationship is based on.
Is it all about sex? If it’s lust, everything – and I mean everything – will revolve around sex. You know the scene after the honeymoon – meet for dinner then have sex; meet for a drink then have sex; meet for coffee then have sex – oh, let’s just drop the dinners, drinks and coffees and move straight to sex!
Now I’m not saying for a moment that sex is a bad thing. No way.
If it’s love – sure, there’s sex – and it can be great – in fact, I think it’s important for there to be great sex in a loving relationship.
But I am saying it doesn’t have to be always about sex.
So give some thought to this question – is there any other aspect to your relationship beyond sex that makes you want to spend time with her or him? If so, stick around to find out and grow. Otherwise, move on baby!
Is it all about looks, not about feelings? If you can’t be yourself around your partner – if you can’t bear to be seen without your make-up and looking your best – it’s most likely about lust.
Similarly, if you don’t care how they feel, it’s certainly all about lust.
Are you both comfortable with each other? Love is when you feel really comfortable with each other. If you can’t be yourself, ask yourself why not?
Are you friends with benefits or lovers? If you are great together sexually but not connected then it’s lust. Love is when you are great friends and also have a connection at three levels – body, mind and soul. These sorts of partners can discuss anything. If you only have one level of connection, and you have reservations about what you can speak about – it’s most likely lust.
How well do you really know each other? If you don’t know each other’s personal life then it’s lust again. If they have not introduced you to their friends or family then it’s either lust; or there is some other impediment like another relationship. If they are keeping you a secret they have something to hide or simply don’t see it as a long-term important relationship for them.
If it’s love, they can’t wait to introduce you to them all and want you to be part of their life.
Are you planning or passing the time? If you have not spoken about plans for the future then this is a sign that you or your partner or both aren’t interested in a long-term relationship. And that’s fine – but only if you are both aware that is the case.
relationships that are based only on lust are fine. In fact they can be fun. But they can also be damaging if you are not both on the same page.
If there is no longer a spark in the relationship, then have the conversation or decide for yourself if it’s truly a relationship you wish to stay in. Don’t be ashamed if it’s your choice not to remain in the relationship. The worst thing to do is not tell your partner. You must do so and let them have a chance to move on and find their own happiness – and give yourself the opportunity to try to find yours.
After all, as Ngina Otiende wrote – “Your husband (or wife) is not responsible for your happiness.” You are!