At the beginning of a good relationship, everything seems perfect. You and your partner agree on everything, you want to do the same activities on the weekends and you always look great and shiny and happy. They call this the honeymoon stage, because in olden days we’d be married by now and going on honeymoons. But I digress. After you’ve been together for a while and get comfortable, however. . . reality sets in.
Can you survive a trip to a crowded mall after a fight you still haven’t fully resolved? Can you tell the other person you’ve got a terrible case of food poisoning without feeling embarrassed/like you want to die? Can you waltz over to his/her house when you’re having a really bad hair day? Most importantly, can you ugly cry (and regular cry) in front of this person? These are questions you’ll ask yourself once the honeymoon stage is long gone and you find out whether or not this relationship has legs. If you can get through these rough patches, you’re well-equipped for long-term love. And that’s when things really start getting good. Here are some amazing things that happen when the honeymoon stage is out of the picture.
15. You don’t need to be fancy 24/7
No offense to Iggy Azalea, but being fancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When you’re past the honeymoon stage, you don’t need big expensive meals or outings to appreciate each other’s company. Last week, my boyfriend and I ate a bag of Tostitos for dinner because salad was the only other option and that just didn’t sound appetizing to either of us. Old versions of ourselves would have opted for something classy—a.k.a. an actual meal—but we knew we’d be happier with chips and salsa.
14. You’re honest about restaurants you don’t want to go to (and foods you have no interest in trying)
I’ve always been a finicky eater, and sure enough, my boyfriend is a major foodie who will consume just about anything. I’ve gotten better about giving new restaurants a chance, but I’ve never really taken to sushi, which he loves. Now that we know we’re the real deal, I’m vocal about the foods I dislike or have no desire to try (i.e., fish heads), but I will accompany him to sushi joints every few months because I know how much he enjoys it. If all else fails, I can munch on rice and salmon!
13. The sweatpants come out and the makeup takes a hike—at least sometimes
When you’re hanging out in front of the TV, you put on casual clothes to make the experience that much more relaxing. We all know it’s a pain to remove makeup before bed, so sometimes you just don’t even bother with eye shadow, mascara or foundation. You’re not going to doll yourself up for him all the time because you don’t have to.
12. You’re forced to be around each other after a disagreement
Remember how much worse your parents’ bickering seemed during family vacations when you were all stuck together? Sparring is definitely worse when you can’t step away to clear your head and have some breathing room. I once picked a petty fight with my lovely S.O. right before we were supposed to go to The Grove, and though we were both feeling a little funny about each other afterward, we went shopping anyway and gradually got over it. You can’t always have space from the other person when you need it, but this winds up bringing you closer and preparing you for future arguments.
11. You don’t pretend everything is peachy all the time
When others ask about your relationship, you don’t only mention the cute stuff. You can admit that it’s not all kisses and cuddles without worrying that others are going to think you’re on the verge of splitting up or in trouble. Folks who say everything is fine often do this because the opposite is true.