Ahh, the honeymoon phase! No, I’m not talking about the spectacular trip to the Bahamas or Costa Rica immediately after you have exchanged “I do’s” with the love of your life. I’m referring to the honeymoon phase of a brand new relationship. You know, the lovey-dovey phase; the “I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-of-you” phase; the “you’re-my-everything-and-nothing-else-matters” phase. The moment in a new relationship where your brain produces overwhelming levels of NGF’s (Nerve Growth Factors) that it causes you to feel like you’re seeing stars, or walking on air, or so enamored with your new love that it feels as though nothing can and will never go wrong. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the reality is that this intense and euphoric feeling does come to an end eventually. However, you don’t have to fear what comes next.

The truth of the matter is that your brain simply cannot produce endless amounts of chemicals that gives you this intense feeling of love. Once these chemicals are no longer apparent, the honeymoon phase of your relationship simultaneously ends. It is not a matter of if the honeymoon phase will end, it is a matter of when. Everyone and every relationship goes through this; for brand new relationships, the honeymoon phase can last up to a year. Where you once looked at your partner and saw absolutely zero flaws and laughed at every single one of their jokes, no matter how corny they actually were, you are now bickering with them because you are finally witnessing and nitpicking and exploiting every flaw they could possibly have. You begin to lose the passion that you once felt for your partner and due to that fact, for many, the end of the honeymoon phase signals the end of the entire relationship.

Many individuals cannot deal with the anxiety and pain that comes with the end of the honeymoon phase. They move on to the next mate to regain those same stomach butterflies that they have lost, ultimately becoming serial daters, afraid or incapable of committing or settling down.

Now I know what you’re thinking: how can I not possibly fear what comes after the end of the honeymoon phase? Simply put, the end of the honeymoon phase signals the start of a new deeper love for your partner. You cannot sustain a relationship based on lust, sex and spending endless time together. After the honeymoon phase, you must learn how to become great listeners and compromisers. You must get to know your partner on a deeper level, accept and appreciate them for who they are and for every flaw that they possess. You have to understand the fact that you are individuals coming together to create something that is greater than the two of you as individuals.

Spending time apart or “me time” is just as important as spending quality time together. As cliché as it sounds, communication is key. This is the deeper connection, the deeper love that will allow the relationship to last and overcome any obstacle that comes your way. This is the love that will lead to a strong marriage.

Once you get over the rut of the honeymoon phase ending, the real work begins. If love and relationships were easy, we would all be good at it, and the divorce rate here in the United States would be zero. However, that is not the case as not everyone knows how to put in the effective work that will sustain the relationship for decades and decades. For some people, it takes practice. For a select few, they are so good at putting in the work that they’ve only had one love and ended up marrying them. Everyone is different, but one thing holds true for all: the end of the honeymoon phase is inevitable, and it should not be the end of your relationship.