Butterflies and goosebumps in a new relationship are fantastic, right?! Likewise, if you’ve lost that loving feeling, how can you really tell if the honeymoon stage is over in your relationship? Apparently, there’s some telltale signs to look out for and beware, they’re kind of brutal.
According to a study published in Social Science Research, researcher Spencer James discovered that while all that lovey dovey stuff is a great foundation, it, unfortunately, fades over time. We know what you’re thinking and yes — we’re sad about it, too!
If you’re hoping additional research will state otherwise, well, wrong again. In a different study by New York University, researchers state there’s also an expiration date to the honeymoon phase: 30 months is the approximate length of time it takes for the butterflies to disappear. So, if you’re in a new relationship, start your clocks NOW! In all seriousness, if you’re not sure if you’re still living the honeymoon life or not, here are 10 signs you’re settled in (and if you’ve survived, why you may be in it for the long haul)
1. You’re suddenly squabbling over nothing
New love tends to keep us on guard. We don’t pick fights and we typically agree with any and everything our new partner says, no matter how wrong they are. When the honeymoon ends, we lose the filter and sometimes even take out our bad moods on our partner (because hey — they’re essentially family). How could they actually leave the cabinet door open? Seriously? It takes two seconds to push it closed! Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re through, but where there are no butterflies, there are minor — albeit honest — arguments to fill the space.
2. Bodily functions are no longer a secret
There was a time, at the very beginning of my 12-year relationship, when my husband had manners. If you’d asked me then if he even knew how to burp, I’d have scoffed because — eww, no! But now? It’s an hourly thing I’ve come to expect and usually, ignore. When the honeymoon phase ends, you and your partner may not try so hard to hide this stuff. Yes, the Disney-level romance may be long gone but the good news is, if you’re still in love after passing gas, you know it’s the real deal!
3. Getting ready for a date takes half the time
It used to take me hours to figure out what I’d wear on a date, or how I’d do my hair and makeup. I took the time to think every little detail through because I wanted to impress. Now? While I still want to feel attractive, our dates have changed dramatically. With two children, most special outings are a family affair. And when you’re with your kids all the time, your wardrobe may morph from those super cute mini skirts to sport shorts and t-shirts, because who has the time to obsess now? (Answer: not me).
And even when you don’t have kids you’ll totally notice the same trend — because you’re confident in the other person’s feelings for you, regardless of your appearance at any given moment. And this is a good thing!
4. The sex is…different
I’m not saying the sex gets worse over time; it’s more that it’s different and less often. TBH, as a mother with fluctuating hormones, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I don’t mind. And when it does happen, it’s special because we didn’t just finish the first round two hours ago.
5. You’re not spending every minute together
I honestly don’t remember seeing most people when my husband and I traversed through our honeymoon phase. This is probably because, well, we didn’t! It was me and him and him and me. All. The. Time. It was great, don’t get me wrong, but there comes a definitive break in the relationship where you realize “oh yeah — there’s other people out there,” and so you go back to seeing them and life returns to its normal state.
6. The communications slows…But not in a bad way
Remember all the texting and talking on the phone all hours of the night? I don’t. Granted, it was a long, long time ago. Now, our main form of communication is via text, in short, informal bursts. I actually prefer it to, you know, talking as much as we used to. I’m an introvert and naturally quiet so I honestly don’t have much to say (aloud). Once you’re not so eager to communicate in any form, you’re probably on your way out of the splendid honeymoon biz, but trust me, it’s not so bad.
7. Intense PDA has dwindled
If your super intense PDA make out sessions have gone from a 3 a.m. stint in the parking lot after a rock show without a care as to who’s watching, to a quick smooch before bed or saying goodbye in the privacy of your home, the passion of the honeymoon trance may be on its way out.
8. You return to making outside plans
The early days are booked end to end with dates and hang time with your partner because, love! Maybe you’ve forgotten about a roommate or family members because obviously—new relationships are everything! When the fairy dust fades though, things become clearer. You’ve neglected other things and people in your life. Your cat doesn’t even recognize you. Or maybe, he’d rather play Call of Duty instead of do anything with you. When you stop being each other’s only person and plan, the honeymoon might be ending (but this isn’t a bad thing — life missed you!).
9. Those opinions you held in? They’re way out now
Oh, so you hate his mother, BTW? That’s okay because he can’t stand the way you chew your food. At first, we refrain from saying all this (no matter how true) because we want to be our best selves. However, once you’ve been together awhile (close to that 30-month mark), you’ll feel a little freedom in saying whatever the hell you feel like.
10. You begin to be your real self
We hold a lot back at first. For me, I feared letting my partner witness any one of my panic and anxiety disorders explode out of me because—what if it scared him away? It’s hard to get past those first few incidents, explaining who you really are, all while hoping the relationship can survive. This is good, though! If you make it past the honeymoon phase, and you’re still together and love each other—despite all that’s changed — you’ve hit the “attachment phase” which is really the goal going into any relationship, isn’t it?
On the other hand, if you’re nothing without the first butterflies and goosebumps, at least you’re finding out now instead of after investing down the road. And that is a very good thing.