Modern psychology has taught us that there are three phases to a relationship: the honeymoon phase, the post-honeymoon phase, and the commitment phase. The honeymoon phase is the phase where you first meet your partner and your hormones, dopamine, and serotonin levels are bouncing up and down in your bodies. You are so attracted to one another that you can’t keep your hands off each other. The post-honeymoon phase is when shit really settles in. You begin to see the person for who they are, and this is usually when fights take place, and or the couple decides to part. The commitment phase takes place after all the other bull shit that you have to go through, and it’s where you choose to accept each other for who you are.
But, why do two of the three phases have the word “honeymoon” in them? This whole idea of a honeymoon and post honeymoon phases is absolutely absurd to me. To understand, let’s take a deeper look at what happens in the honeymoon phase and why it creates a post-honeymoon phase…because honestly, it would be easier if we could just start with commitment and pass through all this honeymoon bullshit.
The honeymoon phase takes place right before and in the very beginning of the relationship. Everything is new and exciting, and you attempt to put your best foot forward. You go out on dates, meet each other’s family, and set out to impress your partner. You do things for one another without any expectation. You see your partner for who they are being and who they can be, and you begin to fall in love. And that’s the problem. You put your best foot forward to try to win over your partner but, that’s not really who you are. So, you sit in with your girlfriend and watch The Bachelorette with her instead of the big game. You dress in sexy outfits and wear make-up each time you see your man when you prefer yoga pants and a ponytail. You try things like rock-climbing because you want to seem outgoing, you pretend to like dogs when you really don’t, you learn to cook when you prefer to order in, you spend money you don’t have, and you do things that you normally wouldn’t want to do. You pretend to be this other, “better” version of yourself; a version you that you think your significant other would prefer over your genuine self. And then your partner sees for that…and who you “could” be, but you’re not even being yourself to begin with.
Over time, you can’t keep pretending, and your genuine self begins to surface. And this is exactly why and when shit hits the fan. I would argue that the post-honeymoon phase is simply when the two people involved in a relationship finally reveal themselves to each other, or finally realize who the other one truly is. It’s when pretending gets old, and expectation exists. And then, the fights start because he used to watch The Bachelorette with you but now chooses to go out and watch the big game with his friends…and she doesn’t understand why you don’t want to spend time with her anymore. Are you mad at her? Do you not want to spend time with her? No and no. But what changed? You did! You finally are doing what you would have preferred to be doing all along. You are being you.
So here is a thought, why don’t we just be who we are all along? Isn’t who we really are good enough? Why do we have to put on a front in the beginning of the relationship? The post-honeymoon phase really sucks…it’s the hardest of the three phases! And without the honeymoon phase, there would be no post-honeymoon phase, right?
I would challenge everyone to be exactly who you are; be honest and be true to you. After all, nothing in life lasts forever except the relationship you have with yourself. And if you choose to fall in love, make sure that you and your partner fall in love with each other for who you truly are.