What to do when the honeymoon phase ends in your relationship? I’ve got your answer: Be happy because it means you’ve moved on to better things! The honeymoon phase, where everything feels amazing, is due to a biochemical process called limerence and this is like the best push-up bra in the world: It looks great in the beginning but, eventually, everyone’s going to figure out what’s real.
The experts say that the honeymoon phase only lasts 18 to 24 months but if you want a happy and connected relationship that lasts 18 to 24 years and more, make sure to listen!
What the heck is limerance, Abby?
The word “limerence” was first coined in 1979 by psychologist Dorothy Tennov in her book, Love and Limerance: The Experience of Being in Love.
Limerence shouldn’t be confused with love or lust and gives some very specific things to look for to know that limerence is happening. Here are the biggies (that might sound familiar):
- Feeling totally obsessed! You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t concentrate! All you can think about is them.
- Needing to feel it back. Not only are you obsessed with them, you want them to be just as obsessed with you. You’re utterly despondent if they don’t reciprocate and your feet don’t touch the ground when they do.
- They can do no wrong. You end up putting them on a pedestal and have a largely irrational positive view of everything they do.
- You want them by your side. You feel the pain when you can’t lay your eyes on them.
Dr. Helen Fisher identified three different brain systems in relationships, which I call the Relationship Brain Constellation. I call it a constellation because all three work together. One isn’t more important than another in creating that connection and satisfaction.
Each star of the constellation has important brain chemicals associated with it.
The three stars or phases she’s identified are
- Sex and lust (here’s our honeymoon phase)
- Your feelings of attachment and trust
- Being in love and romance
So, Now What, Abby?
Now that you know all the why, let’s get to the what. What do you do when that honeymoon phase ends? Focus on all the ways to be attached and then on how you can move ultimately into the feeling “in love” and romantic phase of being with your partner, which is THE BEST FEELING EVER!
1. Avoid the bad stuff. One of the best things you can do to move your relationship forward is not screw up.
2. Add Novelty. Avoiding boredom is key to a happy, connected relationship.
3. Let’s talk about physical intimacy. The new high levels of dopamine in your brain have you thinking non-stop about sex. The key is to realize that you can leave the honeymoon phase with your desire intact (I can tell you this is true from personal experience – I find my man super sexy). BUT, you’ve got to make this a priority.
4. Attention and Intention. You’ve got to bring attention and intention to your relationship every single day.
5. Create a Couples Ritual. Create a ritual that’s just for the two of you. It could be anything:
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