How Long Does The Honeymoon Phase Last In A Marriage?
Most people have probably heard of the honeymoon phase. During this phase of the relationship, couples may idealize each other, feel madly in love, and want to spend all their time together. In the honeymoon phase, couples are often quick to forgive or fail to notice their partner's little ticks and annoyances. However, when this phase ends, couples may begin to notice each other’s flaws; it can feel as though the relationship is shifting. So, you may be wondering how long the honeymoon phase lasts, and what happens after?
The Different Relationship Phases
It’s completely normal for relationships to change over time and most will have ups and downs. When it comes to relationships, there are typically five stages most couples will go through during their relationship. Some of these stages may last longer than others, some couples may not go through all five stages, and some may even return to previous relationships throughout the course of their relationship.
The Honeymoon Stage
In the early days of a relationship, couples may go through the honeymoon stage where everything seems new and exciting. During this stage couples are just getting to know each other, and they may idealize their partner.
The Settling In Stage
This stage usually occurs once the honeymoon phase has ended, and you begin to see your partner as their true self. This stage may also be the time where you develop a commitment.
The Disappointment And Growth Stage
This stage may often be one of the most difficult and uncomfortable stages in a relationship. You may begin to face challenges in your relationship which may cause a need for growth, compromise, or acceptance. Some couples may discover they aren’t right for each other during this stage.
The Comfort Stage
This stage occurs when couples fall into a routine with each other, have stability, and get comfortable in the relationship. Some couples may need to find ways to keep things fresh and exciting during this stage as they may find the relationship may not be progressing.
The Unconditional Love Stage
The unconditional love stage in a relationship may signify complete acceptance and true love in your partnership. In this stage, couples may appreciate and value the love they have with their partner, regardless of the ups and downs.
The Honeymoon Stage And Why It Happens
In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, a person's feelings for their partner are at their most intense, often in a very physical sense. Just thinking about the object of your affection may give you butterflies in your stomach, raise your heart rate, and trigger that "in-love" feeling.
The honeymoon period can be tracked in the brain, as well. A functional MRI shows that people in the honeymoon phase display a lot of brain activity in the caudate nucleus, which is important in learning and memory, and in the ventral tegmental area, the area of the brain that manages emotional processing. Both of these areas of the brain can affect the dopamine levels, which ultimately affects feelings of reward and motivation.
Because the brain feels rewarded during this phase, typically individuals may idealize their partner and fail to see any red flags or faults which may be more obvious to the outside world. To the couple, everything may seem fun, carefree, and full of bliss and intimacy. During this phase, couples may rarely have disagreements and they may see their partner as “perfect.”
Some couples may even re-experience the honeymoon phase after a major life change such as moving in together, getting engaged, or when expecting their first child.
How Long Can A Honeymoon Phase Last?
The truth is that the honeymoon phase will be different for every couple. According to experts, the honeymoon phase can last from one month to up to two years, though, and some couples may not experience a honeymoon phase at all.
In reality, relationships typically don't depend on the honeymoon phase. Long-lasting courtships and marriages are usually maintained through trust and hard work. In fact, the feelings you get during a honeymoon period can be reignited at any point in a relationship just by trying new things together as a couple. There are times when life will get mundane and even boring. Partners may eventually do something that annoys or upsets you. This is often normal in relationships. However, how you decide what to do next is what may show if your relationship is in it for the long wrong.
What To Do When The Honeymoon Phase Ends
During the honeymoon phase, most couples may try to be agreeable as much as they can. You may not complain about small issues or irritations because you may not want this stage to end. However, when the honeymoon phase begins to end, and the longer you stay in the relationship, the more you may start to feel comfortable and show your genuine self, flaws and all. You may become more relaxed with your partner and trust that they won't leave. You may not mind letting them see your flaws, and often compromises need to be made.
Shifting out of this stage often means that you each see each other for who you really are, and it may not be easy at first. You may find you need to find ways to communicate your wants and needs with your partner, which you may not have had to do previously. After the honeymoon stage, many couples may go through a learning curve through which they need to grow both as individuals in addition to as a couple. You can grow in communication together as a couple, learn when to compromise and when to fold.
You may start to understand what issues are real issues, and what are things you can probably let go of. This is the process of the post-honeymoon phase. Sometimes couples may find they have irreconcilable differences once the honeymoon phase is over while others find a deeper love and stronger connection. Not all relationships will survive the post-honeymoon phase as typically your morals and values will be revealed, and sometimes they may not be aligned.
In fact, disagreement can be healthy and challenges us to see perspectives outside of our own, which can foster personal and relationship growth.
In dating and marriage, learning how to communicate can be difficult at times. Some couples can navigate it themselves, but some may need some help. Couples counseling and therapy is designed to help couples learn how to communicate better.
Regardless of what stage you’re experiencing in your relationship, it’s only normal to have conflict sometimes and to go through ups and downs. If you’re experiencing difficulties in your relationship, it may be helpful to seek support from a licensed therapist to gain an outside perspective.
ReGain is an online therapy platform specializing in relationships that may be able to help. A professional therapist from ReGain can help you navigate the complexities of a relationship and provide tools and guidance to overcome any issues you may have an improve your relationship, all from the comfort of your own home. They can provide both couple’s counseling and individual counseling depending on your specific needs. Reach out today to begin your journey to an improved relationship.
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“Cris Roman saved my marriage. His approach to therapy taught my husband and I the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and the way we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of the others' feelings and actions without taking sides or placing blame. His ability to make you feel heard while helping you to see and understand why your significant other is acting a certain way is phenomenal.”
“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling at the beginning, but I truly believe that it is making a difference for our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How Do You Know When The Honeymoon Phase Is Over?
The honeymoon stage is a period in the beginning of a relationship typically defined by feelings of excitement and passion. Research has shown that the honeymoon stage can last anywhere from 6 to 30 months. Signs that you and your partner may have moved out of the honeymoon stage include losing the sense of newness within the relationship, seeing each other’s negative traits more clearly, a potential decrease in physical intimacy, and becoming more reactive during times of conflict.
Moving out of the honeymoon stage is not necessarily a negative thing! In fact, when the honeymoon phase ends, you and your partner may be able to truly experience the reality of being with each other and build a genuine bond after the initial excitement fades. It may an opportunity to assess whether there is long-term potential for the relationship.
Can The Honeymoon Phase Last Forever?
The honeymoon stage is not meant to last forever. It is important to acknowledge that the conclusion of the honeymoon stage is often a necessary and important progression in a long-term partnership. When the initial feelings of newness and excitement fade, it may allow a couple to experience the reality of being with each other through the ins and outs of everyday life. However, this does not mean the relationship has to become boring! After the honeymoon phase ends, it may take more effort and intentionality to sustain intimacy and passion, but it is absolutely possible to keep the relationship feeling fresh and exciting.
How Long Is The Infatuation Phase?
The infatuation phase typically lasts between 1 to 6 months. In some relationships, it can last for several years or couples may transition out of the infatuation phase in a matter of days. It is normal to experience infatuation when first meeting someone, but ultimately it is important to move away from attraction and fantasy towards a true connection rooted in reality.
What Is The Three-Month Rule?
The three-month rule states that it would be wise for an individual to date someone for three months before thinking about the potential of a long-term partnership. This is based on the idea that when we first start dating someone, we have some level of infatuation and see someone through the lens of a fantasy image, not as they truly are. The three-month rule posits that it takes several months to assess if someone is consistent and could be a compatible partner in the long run.
What Are The Stages Of Love?
The five stages of love are falling in love, becoming a couple, disillusionment, creating lasting love, and embracing your calling as a couple.
How do you keep a relationship strong after the honeymoon phase?
What does love look like after the honeymoon phase?
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