The “Honeymoon” Period Of Relationships Explained
This is not to claim its the one size fits all answer but if you give this some thought you may find there is quite a bit of truth in this. Having worked with hundreds of cases of domestic abuse for a number of years its allowed me to better understand not only why relationships break down but also reverse engineer and understand how they went about starting off so great in the first place. I’ve taught groups of up to 12 men who have been sent to me by the courts to address their abusive behaviours and its given me some incredible insight into comparing hundreds of relationships and the behaviour at the very start during the honeymoon phase and how this began to end for them. A pattern began to be evident and it is what I share with you here now in the hope that it might be of interest.
I want to try put it in simple terms as possible and get people to think about their relationships and how they are now compared to the very beginning when they first meet and their thinking process then because it is ultimately this that changes; how people think about one another over time.
The honeymoon period of the relationship is when things are new and theres mystery between both of you. You dont know who this other person is and this other person doesn’t know you either. Neither party knows of each others faults either and as relationships usually have some form of attraction (physical or mental) people tend to be quite keen to impress the other person and be on their best behaviour and portray what I call “The Best You”. However this is in itself a problem.
Be Yourself In The Honeymoon Period – Not Who You want Them To Think You are.
When people are on their best behaviour (or “the best you”) in the early stages you find they tend to overlook the other person’s faults or not pay as much attention to them as they are keen to impress. The other person will likely do the same for you too. You both make allowances and bend over backwards to be helpful or go out your way because you want to be thought of positively by the other individual. In essence you’re still yourself but you’re trying to be the best version of yourself possible and it is this what attracts you both to one another. You make allowances and show more trust and respect because you’re still vying for the other person’s affections and to be seen as their potential mate. Being anything less is likely going to cause the other person to leave when feelings are still fairly new and fragile and theres no sense of investment or attachment into one another or the relationship itself.
When you build yourself up to be this person it only takes your “normal” you to slip out slightly for the other person’s image of you to begin to slip. Over time this will happen as you begin to know each other better and become more attached.
What also happens is as people continue to date, they begin to learn more about each other and as the level of investment into one another and the relationship grows people begin to drop their guard as leaving a relationship gets harder. You may be car sharing now, living together, have bought each other expensive gifts or met one anothers families and this therefore makes ending a relationship all the more harder. Theres a psychological theory known as “Investment theory” that attempts to explain how and why relationships are maintained which has some relevance here. The idea in simple terms is the more you invest into a relationship the more likely you are to continue to maintain it as the loss is great if you choose to leave. Investment can be financial as well as intangible such as time and effort.
The Honeymoon Ends When one of you starts lose that respect.
It doesnt matter who does it but as soon as one party begins to drop their guard and let this “best you” mask slip, thats all it takes – just one person to show a bit more intolerance or make a single remark and this level of respect you had for one another slowly begins to perhaps not dwindle but change. You find one person less tolerant and less able to keep up this facade any longer and the real version of them, flaws and all begin to come out as you can’t pretend to be someone you’re really not. The problem with this is as soon as one party does this it inevitably leads the other person to do the same. They will no longer be as willing or understanding towards the other person and what you have is the relationship reaches a point of equilibrium where its stabilized but unfortunately that feeling of “magic” disappears. It’s not to say both parties may not have genuine feelings for one another but what you find is this honeymoon period lasts only as long as both parties are willing to be the best version of themselves as possible. To be respectful at all times, understanding and flexible and it takes only one of you to start the process of it ending.
A never ending honeymoon period possible?
So whats the answer? Well its not a simple one but what I’ve learn’t from the hundreds of cases I have worked with is when you do meet someone – be the version of yourself that you would be happy being all the way through. Only pretending to be happy over something or doing something you are not, is only going to cause problems in the future especially if it really gets on your nerves or bothers you. Setting a good standard for communication with openness and honesty is always a must. It’s impossible not to have disagreements but if you start off as open and honest you can both work from that standard. Communication is massive and being able to talk about one anothers views and feelings is important. I find a good technique that helps people find that middle ground is getting them to “see the bigger picture”. What I mean here is whenever you may have the potential for disagreement or one party is unhappy about something, try look at the bigger picture; how important is the issue really? Is it worth causing upset between you two? Do you care enough about it to cause problems between you two? perspective take and ask yourself how you would feel in the other person’s position even?
If you can be this “best you” during this honeymoon period and be this great guy or girl at the start – why can’t you do that all the way through even when you get comfortable with one another? Imagine what that would be like.
Saj – loopa.co.uk