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What is a normal length for a honeymoon period?
August 7, 2009 10:51 AM   Subscribe

In your experience, what is the average normal length of time a couple is in a honeymoon period before they transition to the normal day to day getting to know you phase of a relationship period? I'm looking for personal anecdotes, tell me what your experience has been. I know there is no one perfect answer out there, I'm just trying to figure out if this is a relationship I should pursue if I'm feeling like its only been two months and perhaps that period is over (or it never really began because he's really difficult to communicate with). I enjoy this person's company tremendously, we do a lot of activities together, however, we don't spend a lot of time just talking. We don't spend much time even fooling around, even though the attraction is there and its palpable. He avoids intimacy. How do I coax him out of his shell?
posted by dmbfan93 to Human Relations (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
It doesn't matter what the average period is. What matters is how he responds. Can you describe a bit more fully some examples of what you've tried and how he's responded? Why is he difficult to communicate with? Does he recognize this about himself?
posted by canine epigram at 10:56 AM on August 7, 2009


he shuts down when I ask him anything too pointed. He once told me he's really scared to blow it with me. But by being so closed and guarded I feel like he's shutting me out. He's at a point in his life where I think he wants to get married, and I guess I am too and I think he sees us as a potential match and is afraid of showing any warts for fear of rejection. I'm trying to figure out if I should stick this out to see if it gerts any easier. i've also noticed that while he continues to ask me to do things on weekends, during the week, he contacts me less and less (no emails during the work day like he used to send way in the beginning). I know it could be that he's busy, but really, I think he read in a book somewhere that if you ignore a girl, she'll come running. but its having the opposite impact on me. what do you guys think - is he playing that game with me?
posted by dmbfan93 at 11:01 AM on August 7, 2009


A honeymoon period is temporary, sure, but you always need to be with someone you can talk to. There's no way around that.
posted by Ladybug Parade at 11:04 AM on August 7, 2009


You're asking a few different questions here.

1. How long is a honeymoon period?
Length of the honeymoon period is different for everyone, depending on all sorts of intricate variables (age, distance, number of previous relationships, personality).

2. Is YOUR honeymoon period over?
It's hard to tell, because you don't give much information. Maybe there are different definitions, but I can't think of a "honeymoon period" as anything other than the process of falling in love. This doesn't happen in all relationships (not by a long shot). You'd probably know it if you were in love. Relationships with lasting potential have to have something beyond physical attraction and common interests; that's why a lot of relationships end after short periods of time. If you don't really, truly enjoy being with this person, then maybe he's not the one for you. You'd be a lot more certain about this relationship than you sound now if he was.

3. How do you coax him out of his shell?
You can't, really. You can't make people change if they don't want to. If he really likes you, he'll come out of his shell on his own. Two months isn't a long time, so he might still be getting to trust you. The fact that he "avoids intimacy," though, is kind of a red flag. He might just not be ready for a real relationship, which is something he'll have to deal with himself.


As for personal anecdotes, the best relationship I've ever been in was one where there was no abrupt end to a "honeymoon period." Yeah, we got used to the fact that we were each real people who poop and sometimes do thoughtless or stupid things, but we also kept surprising each other in good ways. When we hung out, we'd talk constantly-- usually not about anything serious, but just whatever was on our minds. We laughed a lot, always. We didn't feel bored or awkward around each other. When there was a problem, we'd talk about it and fix it, because we both recognized that our relationship was a good thing that neither of us wanted to screw up.

I've also had relationships that were awkward and uncomfortable, and felt like we were always on two different pages. Those were not fun and did not last long.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:09 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Regarding a "honeymoon period" and avoidance of intimacy, I'm not sure that the two are directly correlated here, because if you're in the getting-to-know-you period of a relationship (and two months is still well inside that time frame) and not getting to know each other, that's a lot more than just falling out of the honeymoon phase. It could be that he has something in his history that makes him more cautious with new relationships, or it could be that he's not ready for this level of intimacy, or it could be that you're incompatible, or it could be many different things.

Emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy are, again, two different and often separate things. If you're seeking both and not getting either one in return, I'm going to stress again that this could be an incompatibility thing, or that perhaps he's not ready for the level of intimacy you're looking for. It sounds like he is giving you a lot of information here and that you want to find a good reason to reinterpret it, but the best way to get clear, real information about this is to talk about it with him.

(That was less of a personal experience perspective, but my personal experience tells me that if basic compatibility in level of intimacy pursued in the relationship is not there from the beginning, it's a pretty big thing to have to work through for such a young relationship. Going into a relationship with the hope that someone will change is NOT the key to happy relationships.)
posted by so_gracefully at 11:12 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't tell - are you waiting for him to make all these moves? Because, we're in the 21st century now. I appreciate an old-fashioned girl as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's really, really okay for you to initiate. You can call him, you can email him. Initiate things like conversations, conversations about feelings, making out, and sex.

If he is rebuffing your efforts, then consider he's probably not interested in you in that way.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:14 AM on August 7, 2009


i've also noticed that while he continues to ask me to do things on weekends, during the week, he contacts me less and less (no emails during the work day like he used to send way in the beginning). I know it could be that he's busy, but really, I think he read in a book somewhere that if you ignore a girl, she'll come running. but its having the opposite impact on me. what do you guys think - is he playing that game with me?

Are you playing a game with him? Call him during the week! The distance you are sensing may be him withdrawing over your perceived lack of interest. Are you initiating sex? If you do and he turns you down, then that's another story, but if you're still waiting by the phone for him to call, then I'm guessing you might be waiting on the pillow for him to get it on.

Other than that...give it some time. Everyone reacts differently at the start of a relationship. Some people open up slowly. You are going to have to take some initiative, though, if you want to see if this guy is really serious or stringing you along.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:14 AM on August 7, 2009


Oh and this: I think he read in a book somewhere that if you ignore a girl, she'll come running. is a classic sign that he has no clue how to act in a relationship. Maybe he'll realize that, but if not, then you're looking at a capital-p Project.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:15 AM on August 7, 2009


Two months is certainly long enough to start to slide into a more "domestic" phase of a relationship--but it doesn't sound like that's what's going on here, to be honest.

As you present the facts, it sounds like he's either 1) lost interest and is stringing you along until he finds someone better (what's with no fooling around?!? Fooling around is awesome!) or 2) is not very good at being in a relationship. 1) is a jerky thing to do, and do you really want to be thinking about marriage with a guy who falls into category 2)? Being in a relationship is hard work, and the relationships that just sort of chug along from inertia despite a lack of communication or mutual fulfillment are dreary and not worth anyone's time.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:16 AM on August 7, 2009


You haven't been with this guy that long, and it's already draining your emotions. Imagine if you reinvested the relationship time into dating around. You might find a guy you'll click with right off the bat.
posted by dualityofmind at 11:17 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


all of your responses are incredibly insightful, I really appreciate it. I guess I should add one detail that is not so minor. I was too embarassed to share...but he can't seem to maintain an erection - first time we tried he was so mortified he literally ran out the door and went home. it seems to have gotten a little better, but he is incredibly anxious with me in the bedroom which I believe is why he rarely initates sex and it causes me to not want to initaite because I don't want to put any pressure on him. i say absolutley nothing about it - i told him i had no expectation that it was going to be incredible sex at the beginning, but i think his embarassment is causing him to withdraw. ugh. i'm afraid if i bring that up, that will only make his ED problems worse. egads. i know other threads have addressed this issue but any suggestions are appreciated.
posted by dmbfan93 at 11:24 AM on August 7, 2009


Two months? You sound a little needy to me, and I think you're pushing him away by pressing him for greater intimacy. But then, there are probably guys who'd be into the whole emails-from-work-all-day thing. You should look for one of them.
posted by palliser at 11:27 AM on August 7, 2009


There was a large study (Musick and Bumpass) that found that couples (regardless of marital status) were significantly happier at the 1-3 year period rather than the 4-6 year.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/08/MNG9CQR0H71.DTL It's referred to this article.

The honeymoon is really over when the members of the couple stop consistently accommodating to their partner's anxiety level.
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 11:31 AM on August 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


What do you like about this guy if you can't talk to him and he doesn't hardly contact you? I think you can do better.
posted by desjardins at 11:36 AM on August 7, 2009


OK, the ED problems bring a whole new light to at least the sexual intimacy. I still don't think it's necessarily about the sex, though--if he's not being open and sharing about himself with you, then what is the beginning of a relationship even for??
posted by so_gracefully at 11:38 AM on August 7, 2009


My experience - and this is purely anecdotal - has been that the sex is the most frequent it's ever going to be in the first six months of a relationship and if sexual problems are rearing their ugly heads two months in than things are not going to get better but worse. The couple of times this has happened to me the relationship didn't survive much longer. Honestly, what you're describing really sounds like basic incompatibility. It's always a bummer to realize that it may just not work out with this person but two months is awfully soon for this kind of drama and worry.

Oh, and if you think he's operating from a script, ask him. It's hard to be the one who demands to break the communication barrier but if you want this to work, you're going to have to be able to talk honestly to each other about everything.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:39 AM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


He kinda sounds like a mess to me. He's scared of blowing it, so he doesn't talk with you. He's scared of losing an erection, so the first time he runs out of your place and back home (what?) and now he doesn't initiate sex.

He needs to put his considerable fears aside. If it were me, I'd tell him that (nicely). If he just can't talk and can't have sex, then I'd move on.
posted by Houstonian at 12:05 PM on August 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


What is intimacy besides the ability to show your warts?
posted by rhizome at 12:10 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe he's trying too hard to not blow it, things would be appreciably better if he relaxes?

His age isn't mentioned, but if he's ready for marriage, he's probably had heartache, disappointment, times of thinking, "Dating sucks!!!," and other bumps large and small--being lonely, nobody to bring to a holiday party, no GF on Valentine's Day, GF with whom he can share a pleasure or a nice afternoon--on the road to romance.

So he meets someone he likes and she likes him, he senses that she enjoys the company (I assume there's some conversation while spending time together) and the activities and:

"Damn!! She's great! I adore her kindness, smarts and smile!! Wow!! There's hope!! I remember hope!!! I can't screw this up! Can't screw up. I can't say something dumb or mention that time I was an idiot and my car got towed or let her see the faintest of skid marks--oh yeah, gotta get new underwear because some have that little faint yellow stain on the front and the waistbands are getting stretched out and they're faded--and I hope she doesn't blow me off out of the blue via e-mail like ___ did or turn out to drink too much like my brother's ex or actually just be out for summer fun... ."
posted by ambient2 at 1:35 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're already looking for ways to fix him...I don't see what the point is. On one hand, every relationship has problems but on the other hand, the fun should balance out the problems and you shouldn't have to focus so much on fixing his problems or doing the right thing to make him behave a certain way...
posted by kathrineg at 2:25 PM on August 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You've been together two months, the sex isn't working, he isn't contacting you, and yet you think he is at a point where he is thinking of marriage?!

None of this adds up to me. If you told me he was married to someone else at this point, I'd find it less surprising.

Anyway, there's definitely something going on here, and my best advice to you is to stop worrying about what it all means and to start observing instead.

What is he doing now that he wasn't doing before, when he used to contact you during the week? Is his anxiousness all about the two of you, or could it be that he is interested in someone else, or consumed with worries over work, etc.? If you can't get him to open up, and you can't discover for yourself why all this is going wrong, I can't imagine why you'd want to keep this "relationship" going--there's nothing there for you.
posted by misha at 2:58 PM on August 7, 2009


Is he wearing a condom? Cause if he's failing to sustain an erection and he's wearing a condom, that's not so abnormal. Is he used to regular sex? Do his clothes drain the blood flow out of his body? Does he find you attractive? Have you guys tried other kinds of sex (oral, manual, etc.)? Do you guys get kinky or play it completely straight? Are you on top or is he? These are the questions that need to be asked if you want to solve his problem. Misdiagnosing him with ED isn't a solution.
posted by happysurge at 7:20 PM on August 7, 2009


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