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How to Make the Honeymoon Stage Last

Learn how to make the honeymoon stage last from couples counselor Victoria Wilson, Ph.D. in this Howcast video.


So what is the honeymoon stage? It is that stage that psychologists called limerence or stage of high passion of lust and desire. What happens during that honeymoon stage is people want to have a lot of sex, they're connecting and they're engaging in what is called projective idealization. And what that means is that you're idealizing your partner by projecting the qualities upon him or her that you want him or her to have. What happens after honeymoon stage? Which is of course when the Dopamine levels drop about 18 to 36 months. It's often sooner if the couple moves in together right away. Is that you start seeing your partner in a realistic light. That projective idealization wanes and all of a sudden you start seeing their flaws. Maybe their small incompatibilities. Things perhaps start to irritate you about him or her. And that's when you have to start engaging in compromise, cooperation, communication and things like that. So the honeymoon stage or the limerence stage, it's a wonderful stage but people need to expect that that state will be over and that the relationship will not always be effortless. It will require much more effort and it requires conscious decision making of what to say, what not to say, how to process little aggravations and irritations that will come your way.

What happens after honeymoon stage is that a lot of people start to feel that they're falling out of love. And it's not what you think it is. It is not falling out of love, you're falling out of passion or lust. But it's important to remember that that passion lust simply can not last. Because your brain can not put out that level of Dopamine or epinephrine as it did in the beginning stage of your relationship. So at this point what the couple needs to do is develop attachment, secure attachment where their needs are being met. Where they're communicating and they're really connecting. They're making an effort to connect. That attachment is what will carry them through their lifetime. That's something that keeps people together past the honeymoon stage.

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