The honeymoon period is something my partner, Ben, and I can’t agree on. We both agree that it’s real. It is an actual thing that relationships go through. Where we disagree though is our own. Ben thinks that we’re still in it. That four years on, we’re still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship. I disagree. I don’t think we ever really had one.
What Is The Honeymoon Period?
Ask any person on earth that question, and you’ll get millions of different responses. I have friends who say it’s the time in the relationship when you can’t keep your hands off each other, making it a mostly lust based thing. Others say it’s the beginning of falling in love. Others still say it’s the time when you’re on your best behaviour. Some say it’s the start of a relationship, others say it’s the start of a marriage, others think it can be either. Whatever way you look at it, there is scientific evidence that it is indeed a thing.
I’m not stupid enough to argue with the data, so I agree that the honeymoon period is a phase of a relationship. I just don’t think we ever had one.
Ben and I met four years ago. We were both recently single. I had split up awkwardly from a semi-long term relationship, and his wife had thrown him out after the birth of their children. That would be red flag number one in any relationship guru’s handbook. I’ll give more information on the hows, and whys later on.
Anyway, we met, and started dating. It started with three dates in one week, and continued like that for about four months. Then he moved in with me and my kids. That would be red flag number two. Red flag number three would have been that his ex would not allow him to see their children.
Essentially, everything about this man should have sent me, if not running in the opposite direction, at least moving really, really quickly. I didn’t run. I listened. What I heard was someone coming to terms with the fact that they had been emotionally, physically and mentally abused, and that the abuser was still making every effort to continue that abuse.
So I didn’t run. I supported. I tried not to ask questions, but to let him talk. I gave my opinion when he asked, or seemed to need it. But mostly, I kept quiet. If you read my first post, you’ll read that sometimes, I don’t react in the way that someone needs me to. So I’ll admit that every so often I’d get annoyed or upset. This woman I’d never met was having such a huge impact on my life, in every way you could imagine. I’d make snide remarks, or say something I knew would make him feel bad. Mostly though, I let him breathe.
For me, this woman tried to put so much pressure on our relationship that there was never a honeymoon phase. Her drama, and love of being difficult overtook the first, nervous flushes of a relationship. She became something we just needed to deal with, but in putting the pressure on, she created a diamond. We would probably have gotten there ourselves in time, because, he really is one of the best people I know. But, I do feel that she sped the process up. In her desperate attempts to see him broken, and alone, she did exactly the opposite. She made herself a common enemy.
His feelings are a little different. He thinks that we’re still sort of in the honeymoon phase. His relationship with his ex was very different. Even now, it’s hard for him to say that she was abusive. That she controlled him. That she hit him, burned him, tormented him. He’s not used to a relationship where the needs of both partners are being met, and that, to him, is what the honeymoon phase is. It’s when both people in the relationship are more happy than not.
Sometimes I want to offer his ex my most heartfelt gratitude. She threw away someone who I want to spend the rest of my life with. And because she did, I can. Sometimes, I want to ask her why she behaved the way she did, and calmly suggest she seeks help. Sometimes, I feel something like hatred towards her. Her behaviour towards all of us has been less than reasonable, and really, we just want to be left alone to live our lives.
Most of the time, gratitude wins out. She was so eager to destroy him that she handed us the tools to build a family. She took away the honeymoon phase of our relationship, but she gave us something better. Longevity.