I call it the one-year malay; other people call it the end of the honeymoon phase. Whatever you call it, here’s how to avoid ruining a perfectly good relationship.
There’s this thing that happens in relationships. It’s real, and it’s unavoidable.
About 1-2 years into your relationship, the honeymoon phase is over.
Is this normal? Sure! This is when the shit gets real and people call it quits.
But I’m here to tell you: You don’t have to.
First things, first, is your honeymoon phase coming to a close? Let’s find out!
You know the honeymoon’s over when…
- You start fantasizing about other people,
- You start comparing it to some other imagined relationship that doesn’t require so much effort and doesn’t feel periodically boring, annoying, effortful, etc.
- You begin blaming yourself or your partner and trying to find fault
- You begin to consider an open relationship
- You start really processing whether the relationship is really the “right one”
- You start listening to people’s opinions and start feeling confused
- You bring in a lot of instability and insecurity and inner dialogue into the relationship
All the while, you’re not using all your energy to build your relationship and learn skills to develop it. Your energy is spent questioning, comparing and fretting.
It starts to get in the way of your ability to connect with the other person.
These are the stakes…
- If things continue in this way, you may be sabotaging a perfectly viable relationship because you have a combination of unrealistic expectations and a lack of concerted effort.
- You’ll miss out on an opportunity to develop yourself as a collaborative, independent, relational being. Basically, you’ll miss out on an opportunity to grow!
If this is you, here’s what to do.
- Normalize all this. YOU have the ability to recognize normal stages of a healthy relationship…now is your chance! And most importantly, this is when you get to do the work of actively creating a secure functioning partnership. (Here’s a link to what that means.)
- Start investing in your own growth. This is a beautiful time to begin seeing a therapist, consider your own expectations for your life, journal, and even read about attachment theory (I highly recommend Stan Tatkin’s book Wired for Love. You can get it here.)
- Surround yourself by people in long-lasting healthy partnerships. This is when you’re going to want to avoid asking for relationship advice from people who can’t get past the 1 or 2-year relationship mark. We love these people but they are not going to be helpful during this phase! If you want to discuss your relationship, do it with happily partnered people with kids and mortgages. Don’t compare yourself to single Sam who splits his time between Bali and Ohai.
- Have those real conversations. Not just internally with yourself… but with your partner too! In short, it’s important to have explicit conversations about the guiding principles of this relationship and make agreements so you have a shared vision for it that you will return to when you’re in rough patches.
No matter how in love you are, these changes are normal and create space for a more full relationship. This is an exciting stage of growth!
I encourage you to grab your copy of my eBook. It’s available on the homepage of my website! This eBook will guide you through some of this work and help you assess the capacity for growth and happiness in your relationship.
Many wishes for a healthy balanced relationship-