The biggest early obstacle to any relationship is one that few ever see coming: the dreaded end of the Honeymoon Period. The initial magic starts to fade, the rush you got when your partner entered the room disappears, and everything just seems less exciting. When you're caught up in a brand-new relationship, it's hard to imagine that this could ever happen. However, it’s inevitable because a constant state of excitement is not sustainable, and as the saying goes: “What goes up must eventually come down.” Unfortunately, this still takes people by surprise, causing many to mistake the end of the honeymoon period for the end of their entire relationship, as well as to mistake the loss of excitement for the loss of love. Plenty of people are giving up on great relationships purely because they've made the natural progression to the next level and things have slightly changed.
So, once the Honeymoon Period is over, how can you tell if your relationship is going through natural changes or actually facing serious problems? When the “spark” is gone, how can you keep your relationship going strong?
First, let’s talk more about what happens during and after the Honeymoon Period. This period tends to last anywhere between the first 6-12 months of your relationship. Since you’re constantly learning and experiencing new things together, the relationship feels fresh and exciting. But there will eventually come a point when things stop feeling new because there’s not much more to learn or discover. The once exciting relationship may start to feel boring, stale, and predictable. Boredom leads to questioning your feelings, because if you still felt as strongly for them, you wouldn't feel bored, right? Maybe you even start thinking about other people because you miss that “rush” of discovering a new person.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why a relationship won’t work, but how do you know the difference between serious reasons and the relationship’s natural progression? Before you move onto another person or return to the single life, think about what the root of the problem is. For example – if you’re bored, is it the relationship that's boring you, or your partner his/herself? The latter might be a problem, but we can fix the former!
Try a few of the following relationship picker-uppers to bring some “spark” back into your relationship:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Being together 24/7 is a surefire way to drain the magic fast. Although it may be difficult to do at first, having some time and space away from each other might just help you realize how much you still enjoy being together. After all, you can't miss each other if you're never apart. This could mean going a week without seeing each other, or it could simply mean scheduling a day or two of ‘me time' in every week. As a bonus, it gives you new things to talk about when you reunite.
Bring back date night. The aim here is to recapture a bit of the magic by simulating that “early” relationship feeling. Dress up a bit, plan a special night out, and do your best to impress each other, just like you used to. Sure, these days you're comfortable hanging out in your PJs in front of the TV, and that's great, but making a bit of an effort for each other will remind you of why it's worth making an effort.
Do something new together. Aside from making sure it’s something you’re both comfortable with doing, it doesn’t matter what this new “thing” may be. The important thing is that you're doing stuff as a couple that you've never done before, to remind yourselves that a long-term relationship isn’t just about doing the exact same thing, every day, forever – you can still try new fun things!
Spark up the bedroom. The bedroom is one of the best ways to return a bit of that early excitement. You probably began the relationship introducing each other to new things, discovering each other's preferences, and generally experimenting. Suggest to your partner that you go back to experimenting in the bedroom, maybe bring up positions or toys you've been thinking about for a while. Even if it's as simple as trying a new position, it recreates that sense of possibility that makes relationships so thrilling.
If you’re struggling with surviving the honeymoon phase or dealing with other relationship issues, we’d love to help! Call (832) 421-8714 or email email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
Maigen Pham, LPC
Maigen has worked with children, adolescents, adults, and couples – in addition to providing behavioral therapy to children with autism. Her approach to counseling is holistic, eclectic, and collaborative in order to help individualize sessions for each person. Additionally, as a Certified Sex Therapist-Candidate, Maigen provides therapy for individuals experiencing problems with sexual intimacy.