The Honeymoon’s Over

I love relationships. Getting close, personal, and sexy with another human being truly is what makes the world go ’round – and not just for the euphoria and butterflies that go with them.

If anyone has ever been a part of one, regardless of seriousness, then they’re quite familiar with the facet of them that has been the inspiration for much of that euphoria and the majority of the romantic poetry that has been written over the years: the ‘honeymoon’ phase.

In that beautiful stretch of time, everything is right with the world. The air smells sweeter, birds are chirping a bit more than usual, and everything we do is enhanced in ways we never thought possible. We are in that moment, the very best person we can possibly be. It’s truly a gift, and one of the reasons why so many of us want to find love in the first place.

As with most good things in life, there’s a catch, and that beautiful symphony of emotion must come to an end. For some, the loss of this gift is too much to bear and they simply walk away. I know I spent a good part of my adult life hopping from honeymoon phase to honeymoon phase(s). For others, that thing they caught a glimpse of is so amazing that they’re remiss to let it go without a fight. For those in that category, the result is either a struggle that ends in a messy breakup, or the finding of someone we decide to spend the rest of our life with – with the vast majority of us falling into the former category, whether or not marriage is involved.

So what the hell happened?  Where did the love go?

Some individuals hypothesize that it’s at the twilight of the honeymoon phase that the ‘shine’ begins to wear off of the other person and we see them as they really are, flaws and all. This supposedly triggers our doubts, and the palace of ivory begins to crumble.

I’m here to say that while that hypothesis does hold some weight, it’s really not at the heart of what happens.

To put it simply, it’s not the others person’s faults that come starkly into focus in this darkest of hours, it’s our own.

To explain my point, I’d like to begin with a little relationship/attraction meta-theory that’s been gathering steam in my brain over the past year or so.

I firmly believe that we are attracted to what we’re attracted to because that particular thing happens to be what will most directly cause us to go/grow where and how we need to at that particular point in time, and I mean that in the most Taoist of interpretations.

To use a fairly colorful example to explain this point, let’s say that at a given moment in someones life, he or she is drawn to the notion of sleeping with a bunch of people. This may be caused by some deeply rooted insecurities, or by any other number of reasons, but at that moment, that particular course of action is the best means for that individual to begin the journey that will ultimately end in overcoming whatever obstacles stand in his or way to personal realization and fulfillment.

Notice that this theory includes all things that many people could consider unhealthy or negative. While this may be the case in the short term, I believe that these actions are nevertheless the best path for a person to take. Even if it feels like you’re swimming upstream, the current is always carrying you in the right direction.

Attraction to other human being provide us the strongest and most direct path to this personal growth, and therein lies the reason why we are so crazily drawn to other people. I firmly believe that without women, men would end up wallowing in some gutter in the most depressing scenario imaginable, and vice-versa – with the mechanism through which this happens being one of the most brilliantly designed systems in the world.

You can never know who you’re going to be attracted to, and to what degree you’ll be attracted to them, but rest assured, there’s a method to that madness. Whoever that person happens to be, take comfort in the fact that you are placed on each other’s journeys to take you both where you need to go.

When it really happens – when you’re ready for it to happen – it hits you like a ton of bricks, and I’m certainly not the first to describe it in this way. As we’ve already mentioned, that honeymoon phase hits, and you are suddenly faced with a more perfect version of yourself than you ever thought possible. Your work goes extremely well, all of the other relationships in your life flourish, and you’re insanely open to anything and everything – you also may happen to notice that other members of the opposite sex can’t keep their eyes off of you.

As we’ve also mentioned though, this inevitably comes to an end and we’re now sitting face to face with that same person we were before all of this started. We are reminded, after a brief glimpse of heaven, that we’re still the same person with the same flaws that we were before love crossed our paths.

Because these two versions of ourself, the ideal and the reality, are now forced to stare each other down face to face, this point can be especially troubling. We being to feel depression-like withdrawals and other aspects of our life begin to suffer, including work and other relationships. Our openness is replaced by jealousy – and those fears and insecurities that this attraction was put in our place to overcome begin to show their ugly head.

As strange as it sounds, this is a point to celebrate. Up until now, these personal demons remained for the most part under the surface, but through this beautiful process, they are now brought to some level of light where they can actually be fought.

When faced with this situation, a person will always go in one of three directions.

1. They simply cannot bear the situation at this time, and decide to walk away. Maybe they’ll tell themselves that their other half simply wasn’t worth it or too flawed for them – and maybe they are – but they choose to wait until the next time attraction hits them over the head; a time when they’re better prepared to deal with their roadblocks through more experiences such as these.

2. They decide to continue the relationship, and use as much ‘warm fuzzies’ as they can muster to cover up the glaring issues. They’ll turn a blind eye to the unearthed feelings and hold the other person as tightly as possible with hopes that with enough “love” the shadows will eventually be banished.

Well those shadows don’t simply go away on their own, and the result of this course of action is the all too familiar pattern of love/hate that so many of today’s relationships find themselves falling into. The periodic episodes of hot and cold continue to escalate until a final blowup/breakup occurs, leaving both parties devastated in their wake.

The silver lining is that this path will ultimately lead to a good amount of personal growth after said blowup. The negative of course is that it’s often not without the cost of most of one’s mental and emotional health along the way.

3. This final path is the path is the most difficult to walk, yet is the one that leads to the greatest amount of ultimate personal growth and fulfillment.

Although it is the path of greatest resistance, some couple are actually able to use this opportunity to face their own personal demons, the ones that this attraction was meant to uncover in the first place, and constructively work through them together. This is often not accomplished without greater or lesser degrees of hardship, and it is rare that anyone can take on this type of endeavor without making some missteps along the way. It is, however the straightest and most powerful path to ultimate happiness that one can undertake.

At this point I must stress that there is no one path that is any better or worse than another. There is only what is best for a particular person at a particular time. If you know in your heart that someone is not the person to take you to the next level in a particular situation, then trying to tell yourself otherwise will only slow your pace.

So why is it again that we should even bother with all of this in the first place? Why is this natural inborn order so wonderful to begin with? The answer to these questions lies in the honeymoon phase that began our journey. The truth is that the person that you caught a fleeting glimpse of in that phase wasn’t merely a figment of your imagination. Although the vast majority of us are weighed down by not so positive experiences throughout our lives, primarily in our younger and most vulnerable years, we all have the potential inside of us to permanently become our best self, the version of our self that we were able to catch a glimpse of during the initial honeymoon phase.

That version of yourself is who you truly are, that is the you who can accomplish anything you desire – unbridled of your fears – and that is the you who can limitlessly impact the lives of everyone you encounter and the world in an exceedingly positive way.

No matter where you are and where you’ve been, take comfort in the fact that it has all happened for a very good reason. And with that, I can only hope that this article has given you a little extra nudge along the way.

38 thoughts on “The Honeymoon’s Over

  1. Interesting ideas I have never thought of it as a honeymoon phase but that is a terrific comparison.
    I would like to add that the honeymoon phase slowly builds up resistance like a nicotine addiction. Each new honeymoon become less and less dreamy and closer to reality. This may be what causes the eventual switch to a more long-term relationship. Looking for more substance in a relationship and eventually growing together. Of course, some never make it here.

  2. I haven’t been able to articulate it as succinctly as you do in this article, but I’d like to think my girlfriend and I are on course with Option 3.

    It has taken a no bullshit attitude and lots of honesty to begin that journey – and a willingness to make mistakes and forgive myself/her to continue it. Confronting any issues (or deamons) has helped our relationship grow.

    While we don’t always succeed, it’s our shared ideal that we should give more than we receive – in our relationship with each other and with life. It seems to be a highly sustainable and enjoyable way of having a relationship, though sometimes more challenging than other options.

    Thanks for the article Nick. You guys at theSocialMan are like relationship/dating/attraction rocket-scientist/super-philosophers 😉 What a great way to give back to humanity! (and get some hot ass while your at it! haha

    Cheers!
    Mike

  3. Nick. Kudos. You are on the right path and providing insight and guidance with such articles that many of those who are listening to you for baser reasons would be wise to heed. You and David D and Adam may be drawing in many boys and boy-men because they simply want to get laid, but all of you are teaching them that it’s not about that that is truly the point or even important (well it is but not the way they think it is). We’ve lost our bearings as men, denied the true rites of passage that precivilized societies imposed that let the boy die and created responsible men and social leaders. You all are filling that key gap and awakening men of all ages to the roles we should be making as leaders, guides, and responsible persons with integrity and respect for our female compatriots in this journey through life. Good to see such material being shared. The fewer “Jerks” we all must compete with for the women they’ve not so horribly screwed up in their selfish and unconscious abusiveness, the happier this planet will be.

  4. Well said, Nick. I particularly appreciate the emphasis you put on personal growth and unfoldment. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. We come in here alone and we exit alone. All we can take is what we have become.

    Thanks,

    Ric

  5. I am.. (whats the word?) Amazed.
    I was reading the article, and was about to start doing something else, when i almost came to the end. I decided to keep reading. It was a right decision, worth my time.

    I am so glad someone else had thought of this and actually made a theory out of it. It is a TRUTH that “the best way to know ourselves, is to be in a relationship” (was it from you guys that i heard that?)

    Anyway.. Nick. You have a BIG something here. Relationships are the shortcut to personal self fulfillment. I am actually in a relationship right now. You have already described how Beautiful and Fulfulling it can be. Loving is.. being alive to the fullest. (nothing cheesy intended) and it puts you in contact with your best self, as you said.

    But also like you said, I can say that i have actually learned more from 2 bad relationships (not even GF’s) than what i would have learned by myself.

    And besides.. Pain makes everything more Vivid. Grief makes things more Profound.

    That too, is a Truth.

    I should be doing Calculus.
    Thanks for the Wonderful Insight
    Keep the good stuff flowing 😀

  6. It’s funny how when I went through several of the things you describe in this article, I thought it was SO personal and that very few people would be able to relate to what I was feeling. It would appear that I was wrong, and that’s a very relieving thing. Very eloquently put and insightful, I really mean it. This describes the last 8 months of my life, and I’m hoping that now I’m progressing smoothly into the straight and powerful path.

  7. hey man! A millon thanks for this amazing artical…it’s time came at a time of pure perfection…once again what’s meant to be will always happen for a reason! You dudes are doing a fantastic job and keep sending us these great posts! Just one q though..been daiting a girl for about a month now and she just doesnt seem to be sexualy energised, need a few methods to build her sexual cravings?

    Your friend Zack.

    Awe!

  8. Awesome! I totally agree with you.
    Write more about what it takes to creats ideal love that last forever. what kind of man and woma require to do that?

    Thanks. Please send me more.

  9. Very true…I just finished a “honeymoon” phase of my own. I am starting to see the flaws in myself and the other person. I think of this time as a way to rebuild yourself and get better. I don’t know if the girl I like will do the same, but I know I can control what I can control.

  10. Deep man.

    Didn’t think that I’d ever find something like this on this website. Call it coincidence, but I was thinking about my past relationships (Door #2), mulling about what went wrong, only to now see a clearer flip side – growth.

    This should be read by everyone (not saying Pulitzer, but definitely a worthy read).

    Thanks chief!
    Jay

  11. Very insightful Nick, in fact its funny, I’ve had nigh on the SAME realisation recently, that people are drawn to each other to go forward in life, regardless of said direction. It is a rather beautiful thing and if you manage to face the obstacles in your way which can lead to a never-ending ‘honeymoon phase’ then truly you have confronted your inner demons and grown greatly as a person, to a degree 90% of people in this world will envy to their core.

  12. Awesome article and I can extract a lot from it. I’m a serial monogamist and I love getting into relationships; as in the first couple of weeks when the sex is good and kissing is not a chore.

    I think when I ask myself existentially what draws me to this period within a relationship is the newness of it all which you pointed out, yet I reach an impasse after the “honeymoon phase” and I hate my girlfriend or am not as attracted to her as before. And the thing is it’s actually my fault and I am not attracted to the real more the fantasy.

    I want to reflect on this more.

  13. wow.
    i was done with you guys when i got little/no feedback with an online course i took…..

    but, you pulled a rabbit out of your ass on this one.

    touche honkey!
    g

  14. This is a great article in response to the damage down by one’itis, which is why many of us got into the game in the first place. The article also seems to justify the usage of ‘game’, over the course of a series of relationships. But ultimately, I don’t think a relationship can solve your problems – as this article seems to imply(?). Relationships can, however, shine a glaring light on our imperfections (as well as our partner’s). Ultimately, I agree with what I think Nick’s thesis is; in order to reach a heightened state of self – or “awareness/enlightenment” in the Taoist sense – one must have game, naturally or learned. Game on gentlemen.

  15. Hey Nick,

    I appreciate the encouragement, and it’s a great article. However, what if a man feels constant uncertainty over whether or not women he meets will meet his standards?

  16. Really good blog Nick, argueably your best ever. My question to you is…once you have glimpsed this state, how do you maintain your true self or true being?

  17. Very well spoken Nick. It is the truth that Zhuangzi himself couldn’t have said better…except in Chinese 😉

    Keep sharing your thoughtful insights.

  18. Hey guys,

    Thank you for all of the comments and kind words, I definitely wasn’t expecting this kind of response, which far surpasses anything I’ve gotten in the past on any of my other posts.

    To respond to some of the excellent points you’ve made:

    Ric – “We come in here alone and we exit alone. All we can take is what we have become.” Very well said.

    Zack – There are a number of reasons as to why your gf isn’t more sexually energized and I’d have to know exactly what the reason is in order to provide an accurate solution. For example, she could be feeling self conscious or caught up in he own demons, in which case, reminders of how wonderful/sexy she is could reignite that fire. On the other hand, she could be feeling too ‘smothered’ to let her sexuality out, in which case she needs some space in order for her sexuality to feel reignited. Whatever it happens to be, trust your gut, and it’ll point you in the right direction.

    Jay – dammit, and here I thought the Pulitzer was on its way 😉

    Graeme – We’re definitely far from perfect, but I can promise you that we’ll always be giving the best that we can

    Michael – Be careful not to separate “game” as a separate entity from yourself and your own personality – this can lead to emptiness down the road if the developing of a skill has been used as a crutch or substitute to facing our own fears and developing yourself. This definitely can be a bit confusing, and may be the best topic for my next article.

    Sidewinder – Great question. We must be careful that our “standards” aren’t a product of ego. If they are then there is usually a fear or uncertainty that they will not be met. If they are not ego driven, then we are far more accepting of everyone, imperfections and all, and thus far more likely to find the person who is indeed perfect for us at a specific point in time.

    Dave – Another excellent question, and one that would take far too much time to answer here. I’m actually working on the answer to this question and how it relates to every phase of relationships, including “opening”, “attraction”, “phone & dating game”, etc in my upcoming product, “Fearless”.

    Thanks again for the comments. Keep ’em coming!

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  20. Hey Nick . . . Awesome article, man. One thing, though. You sound a little Lord Henry-ish to my Dorian Gray at one point, and . . . well . . . I gotta say, giving into temptation AS PRESENTED may not always be the best path. Like, if I have a desire to murder kittens, which I don’t, but if I did, then I think rather than actually murdering a few kittens, I might be better off asking, “Where does does that desire come from?” And perhaps I just need to clean my room, and I’ll realize I’m a productive person and not a kitten murderer after all. Just a thought. Great read, definitely want to share it with my little wifey. Thanks.

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  22. So, I guess if a person isn't involved in any relationships, then their growing has reached beyond anything that a relationship can give them?

  23. Oh Socrates, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just because Pedialyte & rest may be the best way to get over a hangover, it certainly isn’t the only way.

    Women, or anything that we’re attracted to for whatever reason provides us those opportunities. I’d probably consider relationships to be the most direct and heavy way to uncover the ways we have to grow, however they certainly not necessary for growth.

    Our attraction to women can still provide us these opportunities for growth, even if we’re not in a relationship with them.

    For example, for most men, approaching a woman we’re attracted to or escalating the interaction can pose different levels of fear or anxiety, and through this simultaneous feeling attraction and fear we have an excellent growth opportunity right there.

    These opportunities are present at many different points in our lives, I simply wanted to uncover a powerful one that many of us aren’t even aware of.

  24. Great article Nick.
    Gotta give a standing ovation for that one.

    Hits home as it’s something I’m realizing about myself after a breakup I’m just now recovering from. Helped fill in the gaps and some meaning and lessons from it.

  25. Hey Nick,

    Brilliant thoughts. I’ve read similar articles on this issue but most of them have never come quite close to yours. I also like Zan’s take on love and relationships.

    There is nothing like the honeymoon phase that brings joy and excitement, and there is also nothing like the faded old love forming a jolt in heart. I have over and over again tried prolonging the first, only to realize that I could not just have one.

    You are spot on, there is no ‘the right path’. However, there is the right path, like you said, in each and every moment that we live.

    I’ve added a link to your blog on mine. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

    Vincent

  26. Thank you, reading this article was exactly what I needed, I have been going through a little bit of a rough time, stuck in a lame situation and being ignorant enough to ignore my own instincts by not moving on. This article of yours has been an eye opener, shedding a little more light into what I know. Thanks again!

  27. Nice work, Nick. You are a very nice writer. I liked your ideas… I haven’t been in too many relationships so it’s hard for me to relate. But it;s something to bring my awareness to when it does happen for me.

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  29. Hi Nick

    Really interesting article, relationships really can be a fantastic tool for personal growth!

    Thanks

  30. Didn’t realize I hadn’t written a comment on this yet, but I’ve passed it around to a close circle of friends and mentioned it in a blog post, as it’s one of the best succinct pieces on figuring out relationships in recent memory.

    You’re writing is almost poetic, dude.

  31. Thank you for the article. I liked the manner in which you acknowledged the honeymoon phase.

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