The Honeymoon Period - It can't Last Forever


Dear WWWFM, >>

I'm with a woman who thinks that a relationship should stay in the honeymoon period, forever. How is this possible, and how could I make it happen?

Also, she is really unsure about kids and marriage, believing them to be the death of a love relationship. Could she possibly change? >>

Dear Emad,

You are wise to realize that the honeymoon period of a relationship cannot last forever. Her expectation is not only unrealistic, it's immature and fear-based. All serious, committed relationships must go through the normal phases of growth or they become stagnant and eventually die.

She is enjoying the infatuation stage with you right now, the time when everyone is madly in love, the sex is great, and everything you do is endearing. But, as you know, (and she does too, she just doesn't want to face it), this stage must evolve into the next logical one.

"A Fine Romance" by Judith Sills looks at the stages of relationship. According to Sills, the phases are:

  • Selection - the time when you choose your partner
  • Seduction - when you date and decide if the relationship is worth continuing
  • Switch - the uncomfortable period when the pursuer backs off just as the other partner responds
  • Negotiation - when you both acknowledge your differences
  • Commitment - the final stage when you work things out and get married

Going all the way in a relationship - the commitment stage - means being vulnerable and baring your soul. It means learning to communicate effectively and being willing to compromise. The only way you could ostensibly stay in the honeymoon phase of your relationship would be to artificially restrict it. Long distance relationships are good ways to stay in this phase because you are never together long enough to see all sides of your partner, and when you reunite, it feels like another new beginning. >

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You could just keep "dating" forever and keep it light by not seeing each other too much, not moving in together, not meeting each other's families, only doing fun things like going out to dinner, the movies, to sports and cultural events, etc. and never doing normal, everyday things together like running errands, fixing up the house, cleaning, etc. You could never allow yourselves to be seen in baggy sweatshirts and unwashed hair. You could keep your negative emotions like anger, grief, and anxiety to yourselves at all times.

If that kind of relationship appeals to you, go for it. But I suspect it doesn't. Feelings have a way of growing and love makes certain demands, for intimacy, for commitment, for spiritual connection, for more than fun and games and romance. Fun, games, and romance are important, of course, but you aren't children anymore.

Marriage and children can definitely strain a relationship, but if your first priority is to love your partner, if you are basically compatible, and if you have the skills to iron out your differences, these things can be tremendously rewarding. It sounds like she is afraid of the emotional work that must go into any successful union and of digging deep into the guts of things, which is necessary for any kind of depth.

You have to ask yourself if you want to be with a woman is so afraid of intimacy and commitment. Could she possibly change? I don't know. All you can do is communicate your feelings, your hopes, your dreams, your goals, and determine if they are similar to hers. If they aren't, then you will save yourself a lot of time and heartache by going your separate ways.

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