You’ve had The Talk, and you’ve made the transition into going steady, being exclusive, dating—whatever you call it, things are starting to get real between you and your new girlfriend. Your first few days, weeks and months have been such a blur of flirting, craziness and sex that it almost seems like yesterday that your OKCupid inbox chimed out her name. Your fledgling relationship has been going great, or so you thought—suddenly, the fire’s dying down, and she seems less interested. What went wrong? Before you hit the panic button, we just want to let you know that this is perfectly natural. Here’s what to do when your honeymoon phase has ended, and how to know if she’s really thinking about exploring other options.
It is the end—and that’s a good thing
The beauty of the honeymoon phase is that it’s relatively superficial when compared with what comes next. It’s a lot of fun—and includes a lot of sexy time—but even if you waited a few months of dating before taking the relationship plunge, chances are you don’t know everything there is to know about your partner. When you become a serious couple, you start learning new things about her that you’ll love, as well as some annoying quirks that you could do without. The honeymoon phase disguises all those things, tricking us into feeling like everything’s perfect. When it ends, it’s important to know that the real relationship is starting, not ending.
Find your interests (again)
There is a chance that this coldness you might be feeling in your relationship is really just the keel evening out between you and your gal. You’ve spent the last few weeks constantly arm in arm, breaking commitments with understanding friends and giving up quality Xbox time to surprise her with impromptu dinners. Now that you’re transitioning into a comfortable couple, it’s easy to misinterpret her wanting to resume hanging out with her friends and maintaining her own interests as her wanting to get away from you. Nothing could be further from the truth—now’s a good time to grab a beer with your buddies and catch up, knowing you’re still a taken man.
You can argue that where there’s smoke there’s fire—surely a negative shift in perceived interest means there’s a problem in your relationship? Wrong. Every relationship’s honeymoon period is destined to end, and no matter what you think, you’re no exception. If you’re truly worried about your young relationship being on the rocks, check for the traditional signs—arguments over nothing, resentment and being dishonest. If you can’t see any of the tried-and-true red flags, chances are everything is fine.
You could be taking things too fast
However, if you’re truly floored by how quickly the honeymoon phase had come and gone, you might need to pump the breaks a little. Perhaps you exchanged those three big words a few nights in, or perhaps you’ve jumped into much larger commitments, such as moving in together after a few weeks. While relationships don’t always follow a linear path, it’s especially easy to feel the sudden shift in mood associated with the honeymoon phase ending if you blow past a few key steps. The good thing is that you can easily remedy this. Taking it a bit more slowly to learn more about each other will ultimately build a stronger relationship—it’s a terrible situation to find yourself in a comfortable or serious relationship with a stranger.