If you just started a new relationship, congratulations! You're probably love-drunk, happy for no reason, and convinced that you've found the greatest person in the whole universe. The magical time of new love is called the "honeymoon phase."
Everything is perfect, and with good reason. Research shows that in this phase your brain is flooded with dopamine and the stress-suppressing hormone cortisol. You literally can't help but be happy.
But this phase doesn't last forever.
One day you'll wake up and realize your partner isn't perfect. You will start picking fights over stupid things and you will find some of their traits more annoying than charming.
At that point, without a powerful cocktail of hormones clouding your judgement, you can finally decide whether you and your partner are compatible for the long haul.
Some couples end after this phase. They start to see red flags and realize that a long-term relationship is not what they wanted after all.
But for other couples, the end of the honeymoon phase is just the start of their relationship. If you don't want the post-honeymoon slump to end your relationship prematurely, here are a few tips for making your relationship last past the honeymoon phase. (All of these were compiled from a combination of personal experience and a variety of sources, including Psychology Today, Scientific American, and The Huffington Post.)
1. Determine What YOU Want
Once the honeymoon period wears off, this is when you start to really see the person in front of you. It's both a good and frightening thing when you've seen them as the pinnacle of perfection for the past few months.
Now you get to judge which of your partners' quirks you can live with and which will drive you crazy. Some of these things will just take a little getting used to -- you might find you can tolerate more little quirks than you thought, and your partner may agree to tolerate some of your less-attractive qualities as well. It's all about thinking clearly about what's negotiable and what's not when it comes to spending time with another person.
However, if you notice anything truly toxic about your partner, it's time to call it quits. For instance, if he or she is volatile, controlling, or secretive, this could make for a very tumultuous, unsatisfying or even abusive relationship. Do not ignore these signs just because of how good your honeymoon phase was!
2. Get Some Space
We all know that person who either has her girl squad or has a boyfriend... but never has both at the same time. She seems to vanish as soon as a new guy comes along, and you only see her when that relationship fizzles.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to be around your partner as much as you can -- but you need to have boundaries, and you shouldn't neglect the other facets of your life. That's why it's important to intentionally carve out time to be with friends and family.
Just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean you lose your identity -- you are still your own person, with your own life, and you still need self-care and me-time! Spending time with friends outside of your relationship can actually strengthen it, by giving you both some time to miss each other. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
I know it's tempting to spend 24/7 with the one you love, but trust me and the experts on this: It's not long-term fulfilling to be in a relationship with someone whose personality is just an extension of yours. You both need to maintain your lives outside of the relationship, too.
3. Keep It Fun
Just because you're not absolutely obsessed with each other like you were in the beginning, that doesn't mean your relationship becomes boring. In fact, this is when the relationship actually becomes more rewarding. You've chosen to let someone be part of your life, and they can love you for who you really are, now that they've had the chance to get to know you.
- Dates don't have to be super expensive or exhausting, you're both perfectly OK staying in watching Netflix.
- You can talk about anything, because you trust them with your embarrassing stories and dad jokes.
- There's a newfound trust between you. You’re not constantly wondering if or when they'll call you back.
- You have a built-in best friend. Maybe even for life.
Remember, this is just advice, and it's not necessarily applicable to everyone's relationship. Heck, some relationships never even go through a honeymoon phase. All in all, you know what's best for yourself and for your relationship, but if you need some tips, start here and you'll likely be rewarded with a lasting love.
What Do You Think?
Did you go through the post-honeymoon slump? How did you cope? Have any other relationship advice? Let us know in the comments!