Ask a Dude: What Comes After The Honeymoon Phase?
I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 6 months, and with school and work starting, it feels like the “honeymoon” period is finally over. The thing is, I don’t understand why the honeymoon period has to be over and what’s so great about the next phase. Is it supposed to be better that he doesn’t do/say cute things anymore because he doesn’t have to show or prove his feelings and he has me secured as a girlfriend? What’s the line between being taken for granted and trusting that just because the honeymoon is over doesn’t mean the feelings are gone?
What is so great about not being in the honeymoon?
I’m also worried that this is part of something bigger. We live a little farther away now that he’s graduated and working, and I understand that he doesn’t have to be giddy to talk to me all the time, but I feel like we already have not as much time to see each other or talk – shouldn’t he be more excited when we do get a chance? He still has done nice things like taking me to dinner and letting me know where he is, but I can’t seem to appreciate it the same way knowing that I’ll barely see/talk to him during the week. Also I wonder if he’s only doing it out of obligation – obviously I don’t want him to do things for me if the feeling’s not there. At times I’ve also felt like I should only talk to him when he’s not too busy or it’s a better time. I guess I’m just wondering – is this normal in the post-honeymoon phase? Does having the honeymoon over mean that I can’t expect lovey-dovey cutesy things? Am I just being totally paranoid or how do I know that this is a relationship worth keeping?
- Wanting the Honeymoon Back
Dear Wanting the Honeymoon Back,
Change being the only constant in life dictates that nothing can stay the same. This goes triple, quadruple, hell, call it bagillion, for relationships. Hence why every couple’s so-called “honeymoon” must phase into something else. In your case, it sounds like you’re in the “soon to be separated” phase…
I’m not even placing the blame on your boy. You are setting up your relationship to fail. That’s right, I said it! If you’re looking for something to be wrong then something’s already wrong as far as you’re concerned. And that something has to do with your not being sure this relationship is “worth keeping.” To me, it sounds like you’re looking for permission to end a relationship that you’re no longer happy with. I say do it. I’d never tell anyone to stay with something in hopes it would magically get better.
Notice the word I used, “magically.” That’s because the “honeymoon” isn’t what a relationship should be for the next 20 years. Neither one of you would ever grow and evolve, the intimacy wouldn’t deepen, and your lives would be stuck in routine. Make no mistake about it, the intensity of the first six months can’t last and isn’t meant to last. That’s called real life.
Look back on my column “Where’s the Intimacy” and you’ll see that you’re going through a similar transition. He has a life that includes you but doesn’t revolve around you. Nor should it. Nor should yours revolve around him. He does have other obligations like making that money, money, yeah, yeah so he can pay rent and have a career where he’ll also find emotional growth. You’re one part. Albeit, you’ve got to feel like an important part and if you don’t then remove yourself from his life and focus on your own.
No one should feel ignored in a relationship but it does happen. If you can’t address it with the person then your relationship has a clear expiration date. The only question is: who is going to throw it away?
First of all, you shouldn’t expect “cutesy lovey-dovey” things, you should expect as much as you give. Expectations are cancer for almost every relationship in the history of ever. “Expecting” someone to act a certain way or to do certain things is the biggest kind of assuming there is and you know what happens when you assume? Right, you make an ass out of you. By expecting you’re abandoning the necessity to communicate to each other what you need, want, feel is missing, or feel is fantastic. Mind reading’s a great fantasy but you’re not Sookie Stackhouse and neither is he (whether he’s got Jason’s abs or not). By expecting you’re placing your relationship on probation and setting yourself up to look for parole violations. Which it sounds like you’re finding.
And what’s so great about moving beyond the honeymoon?
1. You don’t feel like you have to be perfect all of the time.
2. You don’t expect the other person to be perfect all of the time.
3. You’re confident that your partner isn’t going to run at the first sign of trouble.
4. You’ve noticed the other person’s “flaws” and have started to realize that that’s the good stuff.
5. You can be secure that your relationship isn’t just based on sex but intimacy.
6. You can be an individual instead of half of a couple.
7. You no longer feel like you have to prove how much you care through constant showing of affection.
I could probably add another 43 reasons but that’s another article for another time. For now I’ll leave you with the sensational 7.
Baby, you’re the greatest,
[Check out The Dude's other insights into the male mind right here.]