the honeymoon phase

By request: Is there a honeymoon phase? Does it end?

Yes. And yes.

The honeymoon phase is made of attachment, the wildly powerful biological experience we tend to call “falling in love.”

(I’m such a romantic, eh?)

It can last, oh, maybe about 4 years, give or take.

It has to end. That passionate phase is actually quite stressful – delicious and wonderful, but stressful, with its constantly heightened emotional state and the lack of sleep and the replacing food with sex. That shit can kill you!

So yeah, it goes away – or, more accurately, it develops into something less maniacal and more sedate. Deeper. More meaningful.

Not to say the honeymoon phase isn’t meaningful. I think it’s really helpful (though not necessary) to have a blissful period to anchor your partnership. It builds a bond that motivates you to keep trying when it gets really hard.

That initial phase, though, isn’t what love is made of; it’s the mania of two people who think they know each other way better than they actually do. Only when you’ve been disillusioned, only when you recognize that you, like every other couple on earth, have (if I remember correctly) about seven irreconcilable differences – things you will never, ever agree on and that you’ll just have to learn to live with if you’re going to stay together – only then are you really committed to each other.

And I don’t mean cute stuff like, “He just doesn’t get why I love Bridget Jones.” I mean hard stuff like, “She doesn’t think it’s a problem, spending every Thanksgiving with her family, and I really really do.” You will always disagree and the only available solutions involve someone not getting something they want.

So ride the early part of the relationship like a wave. It’ll crash eventually. But dude, when it crashes, you’ll be on the beach! And that’s good too, right?