It’s easy to think about #relationshipgoals as always being in complete and utter infatuation with your S.O. Our relationship resolutions may revolve around always wanting to be near them, looking past their flaws and letting those sparks fly. Butterflies can be fun, sure, but author and Gottman Institute Certified Therapist Zach Brittle says that exiting the honeymoon stage can actually affect your relationship in a really positive way.
Psychologists’ term for the honeymoon stage of a relationship is “limerence,” which is a phase driven by adrenaline and novelty, generally lasting for two years.
“At the end of the easy love is the beginning of meaningful love,” Brittle said. The gradual easing away from this infatuation is very natural, Brittle tells us, because couples get more used to each other as time goes on. Signs that the limerence period might be ending include increased conflict and decreased intimacy — neither of which is necessarily a bad thing.
“I actually get concerned when couples haven’t fought yet,” Brittle said. “Because at that point, it’s not even a relationship — not because they haven’t had an argument, but because they haven’t had to reach a resolution together.”
This transition is actually a huge opportunity for growth. It allows you and your partner to learn how to navigate life phases together and set realistic expectations for what your relationship will look like down the road. Instant gratification takes a back seat to trust and commitment.
“The main reason that people fall out of the limerence phase is because they take a new, mature view of their relationship,” Brittle said. “Happy relationships don’t just happen to people — people work for them.”
Have any advice for navigating relationship stages? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
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