Honeymoon Phase Over? Here's What To Expect Next

You and your partner just can't seem to get enough of each other. Your relationship feels fresh and exciting. The sex is great and frequent. Your partner has no flaws (they're perfect, obviously). Their jokes are hilarious. They always know what to say to make you feel better. You wait for them to message you. And you can't help but think about the next time you get to spend time together. What was just described is what many relationship experts would call the honeymoon phase in a relationship. 

Lasting anywhere between six months to two years, the honeymoon phase comes at the beginning and it's everything you see in the movies about what happens when you meet your soulmate. Your brain is high on dopamine and norepinephrine, per Well + Good, and you and your partner are in a bubble of love and happiness that seems unbreakable. Make sure you're truly enjoying the honeymoon phase, for however long it lasts. The length of it (or even the presence of it) really depends on each individual couple. 

But just like the name itself suggests, this time in a couple's life is a phase that will eventually fade. So what happens when you're no longer floating on a cloud of constant excitement? What can you expect next?

You're going to fight, and that's okay

You'll notice a few key things when the honeymoon phase of your relationship comes to a close. There might be a slump in fervor and frequency when it comes to sex, for starters. Your previously perfect partner might not look so flawless anymore. Expect your rose-tinted glasses to come off, so to speak. You might start noticing that they don't pick up after themselves and that they don't replace the toilet paper holder with new rolls (even if they were the ones to use the last bits of it). 

Relationship and sex therapist Michelle Herzog explained to Well + Good that there might also be an increase in arguments during this time. While this might seem disconcerting, it's not entirely a bad thing. You and your partner can learn valuable lessons about each other if you navigate this challenging time with curiosity and compassion. The two of you might also start to feel more secure and comfortable in the relationship which can bring out the true versions of yourselves. The need to be perfect will likely fall by the wayside, paving way for a more authentic connection. 

Although the end of the honeymoon phase might seem boring, relationship coach Michelle Mouhtis told Brides that couples who persist through the challenges can lay the building blocks for what could become a long-term union. 

How to maintain a connection after the honeymoon phase

The end of the honeymoon phase doesn't signal the end of the relationship. In fact, it's an opportunity to build on something more sustainable with your loved one. LGBTQ+ matchmaker Claire AH told Global News that it is actually a time to celebrate the "trust, intimacy and mutual respect that comes after it [honeymoon phase]." It's also a time to bring adventure into the relationship, both together and separately. In fact, making space for individual interests — whether it's spending time with family and friends or taking up a new hobby — can be beneficial in keeping the spark alive. 

You might also want to be more intentional in carving out quality time with each other. From dedicating a few minutes each day after work to catch up and having device-free time with each other, to prioritizing sex with your significant other, it's up to you both to get creative. Therapist Mary Kay Cocharo told Women's Health that it might help if you and your partner engaged in more hugging and kissing: "I tell couples to throw away [their] pajamas, cuddle up, and let the oxytocin flow."

Whether you're trying to spice up a stale marriage or kick some excitement back into your now mundane relationship, the key is to keep at it.