I am sure that you have heard the honeymoon phase. The term refers to a stage in any relationship where the initial excitement and newness of the experience is overwhelming. Once the honeymoon phase is over, the mystery and intrigue allegedly wears off. I tried to Google “honeymoon phase” to gauge its average life expectancy but apparently, the time period is not subject to the scientific method. The length of the butterflies and willful blindness is unknown. Many times when “the honeymoon is over” a relationship will start to break down. The end of such a phase can be an indication of love vs. lust; with love going the distance and lust ending a relationship.
First, I give you our old friend Pizza Bagel…As I mentioned before we met in college. PB was the first upperclassman that had put effort forth to actually get to know me. The fact that he was older, attractive and interesting had me intrigued. We met in August or September of my freshman year and continued an on again off again relationship through the following summer. If you recall, he did not have his “epiphany” until the following summer (see “Commandments of Dating…when he didn’t follow the rules” if you need more information). In this scenario, the honeymoon phase was elongated by the thrill of the chase.
This is a popular expansion method of the honeymoon phase. The thrill of the chase adds an extra element of excitement. In the on again off again mode there is constant suspense due to the unknown outcome. I will get specific, two days went by and I had not heard from PB. I decide to hit up a popular bar. On the way inside, I spot it, PB’s car in the parking lot. My heart starts to thump…will I see him inside? Will he see me? Will he eat his heart out when he sees how good I look in my skinny jeans? The whole night just got more interesting. As I cruise into the bar and find friends, I scan the crowd for PB, careful not to be too obvious. After all, I want him to “notice me” first.
Have you even had that happen to you? You are having a conversation with a friend maybe sipping a beer, but the thing is…you are not present. You are 100% distracted. The person in the crowd you are waiting to approach consumes both your mind and your peripheral vision. It is all about that moment in the future when and if he talks to you.
In my case, the climatic moment came when PB would walk over and greet me. We would hug and he would explain that homework and whatever else had been keeping him busy. The night would be spent canoodling until it was time to go home. I would tell my friends, “I will catch a ride with PB.” This sort of cycle of non-commitment can prolong a period of excitement and lust. This type of back and forth can even create yearning that disguises itself as love
I would like to say that once college was over I realized that the elongated nature of the “chase” period was unhealthy. All the back and forth was just stalling the need for a real commitment. The cycle was never broken because soon after gradation I move to a big city in the hopes of perusing my relationship with PB. The element of a new city and a real job perpetuated the false sense of newness in our relationship and kept us under the guise that we were in love. After a couple years together in the new city, a routine eventually set in. We clearly enjoyed each other a great deal and it was amazing that our lifestyle had kept the honeymoon phase alive so long. But, once the routine set in and the allure fell out we both realized that we were not in love. We did not have the type of passion that lasts a lifetime.
The joint realization was a long time coming. Unfortunately, our honeymoon phase was fueled by our immature lifestyles and the fact that as a couple we did not truly “settle down” until years after our first meeting. Feelings that seem like love are distorted by other factors, like sex, mystery, accomplishment, attraction, or even jealousy. The notion that the “honeymoon is over” is usually viewed as a negative end to something fun. However, I think it is a powerful stage in a relationship where one can truly see the difference between love and lust. If the butterflies and rainbows wear off, and you are left with someone you adore…then you might just be basking in the glow of love.