So, What Happens After the Honeymoon Phase?
Last weekend marked Nick and I’s seven-month anniversary. While it may not seem like a big deal, my last relationship was just 10 months long…and that was almost three years ago. Plus, I’m a big fan of celebrating the small things. However, time flew by. Didn’t we just start dating? Our first (and accidental) date feels like yesterday, but I guess time flies when you are having fun.
When Nick and I first started dating, everything was intense – full of passion, whimsy and sap. My feelings were overwhelming, and he was essentially idolized in my head (in the least creepy way of saying that). We spent virtually every second possible together – and when we weren’t together, we were more often than not, texting. Everything was happy and perfect – nothing could ever touch us. I essentially felt like the heart-eye emoji…all the time. We were in the “honeymoon phase,” which I naively assumed would last the duration of our relationship. I mean…it lasted beyond six months! Oops.
However, over the course of the last four weeks, my assumption has been proven wrong. We now see each other just once or twice a week. Both of us prioritize sleep over endless nights talking and roaming San Diego. We argue over little things – and things that irk us about each other (ahem, his lack of planning…and my inability to be flexible about change). While my feelings are just as intense, that whole feeling of pure bliss all the time...well, I have realized that is not feasible. I couldn’t live in my fantasty-world among unicorns and rainbows forever and ever.
As I’ve gradually realized this over the course of the last week, I got really sad. The dynamic of our relationship was so different from when we first started dating. I missed seeing him every day. I hated change – why couldn’t things stay in this happy phase?! We were both good there as far as I was concerned.
However, after talking with some friends and with Nick, I’ve come to realize this change is normal and expected…and a relationship can’t healthily grow and develop if you stay stuck in fantasy land and don’t address anything in real life. While I hate some parts (i.e., the arguments), this new phase has led us to a new level of authenticity and honesty with each other, a new level of sharing about each other…and well, a whole lot more sleep.
This isn’t the end of a relationship. It’s the end of the chapter – not the end of the book. This is a new phase where we get to dig in and have issues and deal with them and work together. Yes, I do miss how things were a few months ago, but I also am learning to love how we are evolving as a pair together and learning to embrace the new phase, the new moment without being hung up on the past. It may not always be pretty, but it’s now real.