What Happens When The Honeymoon Is Over?

In preparation for writing this article, I interrogated my boyfriend about the honeymoon phase while we were enjoying our endless salad and breadsticks at an Olive Garden.

"It’s when nothing is wrong, you see no flaws in the other person, and everything is perfect,” he said, which ended up being pretty similar to the dictionary definition. Of course, when I tried to ask him about our own honeymoon phase, he felt like he needed to protect his “boyfriend points” by telling me things like “our relationship is still new,” and “you have no flaws!”

But seriously? We have been dating far too long to still be honeymooning, and that phase pretty much ended the moment he farted in front of me, if I’m being totally honest. Previous studies suggest that the honeymoon phase lasts a different amount of time for every couple, and rightfully so, because no two couples function the same.

So what exactly happens in a relationship once the phase has come to an end?

You both can finally allow yourselves to evaluate what you have been feeling (or what you’ve been pretending not to feel). In the beginning, we all tend to push the issues that make our eye twitch to the back of our minds, we take a deep breath and smile through the frustration in order to keep things “perfect.” Of course, some relationships genuinely are without major conflict and there is no pretending when it comes to the honeymoon phase. It is up to you to sort through your feelings and decide what kind of relationship you have been in for the past three to six months. Have you been forcing yourself to have romantic feelings for this person because there isn’t anything obviously wrong with them? Do you honestly get giddy and excited every time you see them?

It’s time to confront the issues that you've been pretending don't exist.

You and your significant other should feel comfortable enough by now to bring up the things that are bothersome or not clicking in the relationship. This should be easy and sometimes necessary to do; easy because the two of you have achieved a level of openness and understanding with each other at this point, and necessary because, the veil of new love that kept you from noticing your relationship’s imperfections has been lifted. You can no longer pretend that problems don’t exist. If every issue you attempt to work out seems like a battle instead of just a simple conversation, then maybe the relationship just isn't meant to be.

Your relationship finds a healthy, steady pace...or starts falling apart.

The comfort you find in each other allows for a routine to naturally develop in your relationship, like how often you see each other, what you love to do/not do as a couple, and what your sex life will be like. Maybe you will love spending every night at home, cooking dinner and deciding which new series of a show to watch. Maybe you are the couple that looks forward to partying every night, or the risk-taking couple that’s constantly planning their next adventure. The routine will figure itself out. Some people reach this point and it terrifies them. They think, “Oh no! Now we’re the boring couple that always does the same routine, we don’t have fun anymore.” The thing is, though, that’s all up to you. The two of you could be boring and never do anything new, or you could continuously make efforts to find what keeps you both interested. The honeymoon phase is the easy part; then the relationship gets real.

The other possibility is that a steady rhythm between the two of you never does take place, and the relationship begins to feel like a roller coaster ride of emotions and problems. You and your S.O. just aren’t clicking and it's stopping your relationship from developing any further. So if you are past the honeymoon phase and trying to make it work turns into more trouble than it’s worth, it may be time to call it quits.

Your love for each other will grow and change...or come to an end.

Whether it is or isn’t meant to be, once the honeymoon phase is over you will continue to get to know your S.O. and that will determine if your love will grow stronger or start to disappear. The relationship could evolve into a more mature, happily-ever-after love, or begin to feel like a fleeting, temporary romance. There is nothing wrong with a temporary romance; you will learn things about yourselves, like how you each handle certain arguments, what you crave in a relationship, and what you cannot stand in certain people. Maybe your partner was just meant to be your friend, maybe you aren’t ready to be in a relationship at all.

If your love only flourishes and grows stronger every day, then the honeymoon phase was only the beginning of a hopeful future to look forward to with your partner. Just remember to never allow your relationship to feel boring, or like you’re both stuck. Continue to bring smiles to each others' faces in ways that speak volumes to the bond you both share. Never feel like you are forcing feelings when they just aren’t there. The honeymoon phase may be over, but that doesn’t mean your relationship is.

Feature illustration: Aria Feliciano