Getting Past the Honeymoon Stage

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I’ve written recently about New Relationship Energy in how it relates to non-monogamous couples. New Relationship Energy can also be really important when looking at monogamous relationships, and thinking about how we choose our partners.

NRE is that excited feeling you get at the start of a new relationship. When seeking monogamous relationships this is often a sign that we should continue seeing our partner. They excite us – sexually, emotionally, intellectually. We feel the rush of hormones and we fall in love. As the relationship goes onwards, the NRE fades out, and is replaced with a different kind of intimacy. You benefit from knowing one another better. You learn to depend on one another.

For some people, the loss of NRE can be especially startling:

• They may feel like their relationship is over because they no longer feel that rush.

• They may experience NRE with other people and start to pursue the rush all over again.

• They may be confused on how to seek out that rush again and it may lead to conflict in the relationship. –  “You’re not as fun as you used to be!”

The end of the honeymoon period is not the end of the relationship. It’s a time to look for new ways to keep that spice and romance alive, and to learn to fall in love with and appreciate your partner over and over again in new ways. The NRE is the baby relationship. Everything that comes after that is what you really want to work for. That’s the real heart of the relationship.

But how can you get past those first few months after the initial buzz wears off?

1. Choose a partner who interests you

Make sure that you and your partner have things in common but also make sure that you don’t have everything in common. Doing things together is important. Having experiences together is important. But it’s also important that your partner has unique interests and hobbies that they can do without you. In this, they can offer you stories, share new information, and tell you about the parts of their day that you weren’t there for.

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2. Choose a partner who has the same interest in sex

When you first start seeing someone you may have sex fairly frequently as you experience those rushes of hormones and sexual excitement. It’s important to experience that physically, but its also important to vocalize what it means. Ask your partner what sex means to them. How important is sex in a long term relationship? How often would they ideally like to have sex? Are they interested in exploring or do they feel content with keeping their sex lives simple? If you are in a long term relationship, your desire for sex might rise and fall depending on different life circumstances. Starting as close as possible to the same mentality can make all the difference.

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3. Separate differences in opinion and actual deal-breakers

If at the start of your relationship your significant other has a weird quirk you don’t like, you should question how much this weird quirk is going to bother you. Is it cute? Kind of weird, but cute? Or will seeing your partner behave in such a way slowly grate on you over time?

This can be little things or it can be big things – like their religion, or their political beliefs. It is important to consider in new relationships if you and your partner are on the same page. It is not acceptable to just assume that your partner will eventually bend to your will and accept that your beliefs are the right ones. What are things you want in a relationship and what are things you need?

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4. Date someone you’re actually attracted to 

Though it seems less rare, I have gotten the occasional message from someone who was not physically attracted to their significant other. Usually it goes something like this – “S/he really likes me and I really like him, we get along really well, but I’m just not attracted to them. Should I get over it and be happy I’m with someone who loves me?” The answer is always no, unless you do not feel that your relationship is going to be a relationship where sexual intimacy is important. If sexual intimacy is important to you, don’t settle for a relationship where that does not exist. Find a partner who you are attracted to, one that physically arouses you, one that you want to be intimate with.

Yes, you should acknowledge that looks come and go and intelligence/emotional intimacy is also important. However, Physical attraction contains more than just outward appearances. Do you like your partners body language? Do you like how they dress? Do you feel pleased to be near them?

5. Acknowledge that it might not be meant for the long term

Not all relationships can cross the boundary from new relationship to long term relationship. Though the fading of NRE does not signal the end of the relationship, sometimes it does indicate where the relationship is heading. Sometimes you get that summer fling. That is the person you fell in love with, hard, but just couldn’t sustain a longer connection with. These aren’t relationships that have failed. These are relationships that used up their time. You had a blast with this person, you really connected with this person, but your connection does not seem to be tangible enough to translate into something new.

How do you figure out if your relationship can shift into a steady long term commitment or if your feelings of coming down from a high are indicative of the relationships time running out?

That is what couples everywhere are doing. Constantly. They are communicating their wants and needs to their partners. They are seeing of their wants and needs match up. They are exploring their sexuality together. They are building communities of friends and families. They are discovering what their deal breakers are so they can learn for future relationships what they want and need.

All relationships end until one doesn’t, and there is no secret ingredient to make that work aside from being present, aware, and doing your best for the person that you love.

Sometimes two people come together and that energy wears off and they find that their relationship has simply hit the wall and its time to move on. Sometimes two people come together and fight for the shared desire to constantly fall in love over, and over, and over again.

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Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. This is a phenomenal post. It’s been interesting to see how parenthood has kind of brought about a new NRE in our lives. We get to see each other in a way we never have before (as parents) and it’s made us love each other in a new way.

    Like

    1. ST says:

      I hear that is not uncommon! Ex: I never loved my husband as much as when I saw how much he loved our child. I bet all those hormones help!

      Like

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