The honeymoon phase is a thing of beauty. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bliss when you’re newly in love.
Cheesy as it might sound, the world really does look more beautiful when you’re falling for someone.
The butterflies in your stomach when you see them walking toward you are simply delicious, and the thrill that you feel when they walk through the door, even if they’ve only been gone 5 minutes, is magical.
But no one can stay in the honeymoon phase forever, and that’s okay.
Time moves on, things develop, and as a relationship matures, some pretty amazing things happen.
But how long does the honeymoon phase actually last? And how can you safely navigate the transition into a serious, mature relationship, rather than letting your relationship drop off a cliff edge?
We’ve all heard stories of couples who didn’t quite manage to make a smooth transition from loved-up whirlwind to settled, committed relationship, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that difficult.
Let’s take a deep dive into the complex world of the honeymoon phase.
No Two Relationships Are The Same
If you’ve come here looking for answers, concerned about when the honeymoon phase you’re currently living through is going to end, then I hate to say it, but as with most things in life, there is no one answer.
As we all know deep down, every relationship evolves differently, so there’s no magic period of time after which every honeymoon phase automatically ends.
If a relationship is particularly intense and you see each other all the time, it might take no longer than a few months for you to get the honeymoon phase done and dusted and for the two of you to settle comfortably into a long-term partnership.
A couple that meets whilst travelling, for example, is inevitably going to experience an accelerated relationship, spending 24 hours a day together and getting to know each other far more quickly than they otherwise would if they were, say, going on a date once a week.
If things are taken extra slowly, however, whether deliberately or due to circumstances – like a long-distance romance or because one or both partners have a particular reason to want to take things at a leisurely pace – a honeymoon period could last for years.
Essentially, the honeymoon period lasts for as long as you’re still getting to know one another.
Depending on how your relationship has panned out and how slowly or quickly you take things, you could even be married before it ends.
In the past, this phrase referred to newlyweds, as many people didn’t have the chance to get to know their prospective life partner nearly as well before they got hitched as they do today.
The norm in western society these days is for couples to date and, more often than not, live together before taking the next step, whether that’s having kids or tying the knot.
Some people, however, do still get married more quickly, so they may well still be finding out everything about each other and seeing each other through a loved-up haze in their first year of marriage.
If a couple does live together before deciding to make things official, whether that’s committing to a life-long partnership or actually getting married, it’s safe to assume that the honeymoon phase won’t last for too long.
When you live with someone, you can’t hide your faults and quirks and they can’t hide theirs. If you still love someone with full knowledge of their imperfections, you’re well and truly into the settled stage of your relationship.
Speaking in very general terms, we can safely divide people into two camps.
Those who adore the honeymoon phase, with all its ups and downs and excitement, who thrive off those butterflies, and would happily spend their life in a never-ending cycle of honeymooning.
And those who find the initial stage far too stressful and would rather skip straight into companionship and security.
Whichever camp you fall into, though, I think you’ll agree that the transition from one stage to the next can be a little tricky, especially for anyone who’s never made it past the honeymoon phase before.
If it’s your first time trying to negotiate this shift, or if you’ve never done it successfully, here are a few tips for surviving the end of the beginning.
1. Expect things to be different.
The key is to realize that things are always going to change. People change and grow, and your relationship will never be quite the same from one day to the next. Be prepared for that change, excited by it, and ready to embrace it.
2. Remember it’s a two-way street.
One thing that can derail a lot of previously wonderful relationships is that people change their own behavior toward the other person, but expect their partner to still be just as they were in the first throes of love.
They stop being quite as affectionate or attentive, but they get upset if their partner does the same.
Try to remain aware of your own behavior and how you’ve changed toward your partner, and don’t expect anything from them that you’re no longer willing to give yourself.
3. Don’t try to cling on.
The worst thing you can do is desperately try to hang on to the honeymoon phase. There’s a lot of wonderful stuff to come, so make sure you’re looking forward, not back.
4. Luxuriate in it.
There are so many wonderful things about the next stage of a relationship. The comfort, the trust, the understanding… Make sure you take the time to recognize how wonderful the feeling of being so close to someone is.
5. Keep the magic alive.
Just because you shouldn’t be clinging on for dear life to the honeymoon phase, doesn’t mean you should stop making an effort or stop being romantic. Quite the contrary.
Whereas it’s easy to spend hours simply gazing into one another’s eyes at the start of a relationship, life can begin to take over as things progress, and it’s easy to forget to spend time just being with one another.
If you need to schedule that time in, unromantic as it might seem, so be it, just make sure it happens on a regular basis.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.