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The honeymoon phase is a blissful, carefree period in a couple’s relationship. Both partners are just getting to know each other, and they can find little fault. Everything their new partner does, from how they eat to the stories they tell, is charming and endearing.
What Is the Honeymoon Phase?
The honeymoon phase is an early part of a couple's relationship where everything seems carefree and happy. It usually lasts from six months to two years and can be marked with lots of laughs, intimacy, and fun dates.
Of course, the honeymoon phase is well… a phase. Eventually, it ends, leaving both partners needing to adjust to a new, more sustainable reality. For some couples, the honeymoon phase ends before they want it to, and others don’t experience it at all.
To help us understand this time period, and how to navigate it, we consulted licensed therapist Michelle Mouhtis. “My biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the ride of the honeymoon phase,” she said. “It really is such a special time for couples, no matter how short or long it lasts.”
Meet the Expert
Michelle Mouhtis, known as That Millennial Therapist, is a licensed therapist and a dating and relationship coach.
When Does the Honeymoon Phase Occur?
For most couples, the honeymoon phase occurs from the get-go. “It is the very beginning of a new relationship,” said Mouhtis. “It’s when every part of the person you’re dating is fascinating, down to the minute details and weird quirks.” Perhaps the biggest reason the honeymoon phase is so exciting is that it’s too soon to know the partner’s full personality, with all its positives and negatives. “Everything about this person seems perfect because there hasn’t been enough time to experience their faults,” she said. “And everyone has faults.” Some couples may experience the honeymoon phase after they make a big life step like moving in together or getting engaged.
The way to tell if you are in the honeymoon phase is to pay attention to your feelings and how you perceive your partner. “The biggest indicator of the honeymoon phase is if you feel the person in front of you is perfect,” said Mouhtis. “You see them in a completely positive light, and you can’t imagine what their faults or incompatibilities could be. Everything is going right, and fun is happening over 90% of the time.”
For most people, the honeymoon phase lasts between six months and two years, but there is no hard and fast rule for how long you should be in this phase. No one can predict the future to see how long their honeymoon phase will last, so the most important thing to do is enjoy every minute of it and take it one day at a time.
Do All Relationships Have a Honeymoon Phase?
Some couples don’t have a honeymoon phase, or their honeymoon phase may be drawn out over time. Not only is there nothing to worry about if you don’t have a honeymoon phase; it may actually lead to a healthier relationship in the long term.
The people who feel an instant spark with their partner might be blinded by giddiness and not see the full picture of the person with whom they are entering into a relationship. When that overwhelming chemistry is not present, it may lead to partners getting to know one another slowly and being more realistic about the person in front of them. “Relationships with these beginnings often turn into lasting love, with a honeymoon that gets woven in over time, rather than experiencing it all in the beginning and then having it fade away,” said Mouhtis.
Mouhtis said the red flag is if chemistry doesn’t grow over time. “Of course sometimes there just isn’t chemistry, and that’s ok,” she said. “But if there’s attraction and interest without the lust and longing, then I absolutely think the connection is worth pursuing because romance can grow over time.”
How to Enjoy the Honeymoon Phase
The honeymoon phase in a relationship is like a fairytale. Everything is happy, peaceful, and fun. The most important thing to do during that time is to cherish it, said Mouhtis. “The phase is meant to be enjoyed and to have fun.” Go on dates, have adventures, spend a lot of time enjoying each other’s company. The honeymoon phase is also a good time to get to know your partner. “Explore mode is turned on, and you can’t get enough of learning about every facet of this person,” she said. “There is also a wild amount of chemistry and frequent, passionate sex.”
Because of its fleeting nature, if a couple isn’t married yet when going through its honeymoon phase, Mouhtis encourages both partners not to make any significant decisions. “The honeymoon phase isn’t meant for big decisions for the relationship to be made,” she said. “I don’t recommend buying property together, moving in, or getting engaged during the honeymoon phase.”
How to Know When the Honeymoon Phase Is Over
“When the honeymoon phase is over, it may feel like a bubble pop,” said Mouhtis. “You begin to realize that this person isn’t perfect, you see their imperfections, and inevitable conflict will start to creep in.” You might start to feel irritated by your partner or notice things about him or her you didn’t in the past. You might also start to fight more or have less sex. Questioning your relationship is normal during this time.
Long-term relationships start to build when the honeymoon phase wanes out.
All of this is not just ok, but an important step in the relationship’s growth. “The end of the honeymoon phase is when real life with this person settles in,” said Mouhtis. “Long-term relationships start to build when the honeymoon phase wanes out.”
What Happens After the Honeymoon Phase Is Over
After a honeymoon phase, couples might start going through hardships. They may disagree over topics large and small or even question if they want to keep dating their partner after their faults have been revealed. Tasks that used to be fun like going to the grocery or cooking might become more mundane than exciting.
But going through these trials is important, said Mouhtis. “The foundation of what builds strength in long-term relationships is when you go through hardships together and come out the other side holding hands.” If you make it through this bubble pop as a couple, you know you can handle whatever life brings in the future.
Mouhtis encourages all her clients to see the honeymoon phase is just one of many phases their relationship will go through, positive and negative. As she put it, “Just because the honeymoon is over, doesn’t mean the relationship is over.”