♫ how is the weather / so happy together ♫
July 20, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

So is our honeymoon doomed to eventually be over because that's life, or has anyone discovered a way to be in eternal honeymoon stage?

I have been married for 3.5 years. We've had some smallish disagreements, but every day I literally feel like I won the lottery when I turn around and see my husband next to me. I feel that our relationship is better every day and that we click in ways I never thought possible. He tells me he has never been so happy in his life and never thought he would be. We kiss and hug and are all over each other every day.

But...every time people see us and make a remark on "how cute we are together" or "how happy we look", it invariably precedes "how long have you been married?" and when I say "3 years" they say knowingly "Oh, you are still in the honeymoon stage".

Are these people onto something? I really don't want this to be over...but I can't even begin to count the amount of times I have had this conversation with different people (pretty much every person we are introduced to). Is this a thing? Is it unavoidable? If you did manage to avoid it, how did you do it? I really don't want to lose what we have!
posted by Tarumba to Human Relations (32 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Just stop listening to other people's analysis of your relationship.
posted by milarepa at 7:04 PM on July 20, 2012 [46 favorites]

Don't have kids.
posted by rabidsegue at 7:11 PM on July 20, 2012 [47 favorites]

My grandparents were in the "honeymoon stage" for all of their 61 years of marriage. milarepa has it: stop listening to other people.
posted by Specklet at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

They're just jealous. Ignore them and enjoy your wonderful relationship.
posted by Joh at 7:14 PM on July 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

I've been married 10 years this year. My husband and I still feel that way about each other.

Don't listen to the downers.
posted by lollusc at 7:15 PM on July 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

Whether or not you can indefinitely prolong the "honeymoon stage" isn't really the problem here. Some people seem to live that phase forever, some don't, but you can be happy either way. Your real problem is that a lot of people who aren't happy unless they can take you down a notch. You shouldn't listen to those people, if for no other reason than that they are insecure jerks.

(It's also possible they're socially awkward and just say dumb things, I guess. Just seems kind of bitchy to tell someone "I know you're happy now, but just wait, I smugly predict that your happiness has a shelf-life!")
posted by Coatlicue at 7:16 PM on July 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

That feeling of being a lottery winner fades for (most) everyone, even real lottery winners. In a good relationship, it can transition into contentment and a warm glow, complacency, or a variety of things. You can still be in love, and not be in that joyous state of the (relatively) early relationship.

Don't have kids.

Hah. Kids add an interesting aspect to the relationship as a couple, but at has the chance to bring so much more happiness, too. Having kids can help you learn how to communicate with each other, and how to work as a team, or it can divide you. Or other things, but I've only been a father for 11 months now.

And if you're even in doubt about how good your relationship is, look at other folks. You might not rekindle your feeling of elation, but at least you'll realize you have something wonderful and worth treasuring.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Almost 20 years and two kids later, I still feel like I'm in the honeymoon phase. Actually, I feel like it's even better than the honeymoon phase. We "get" each other more and more as every year goes by.

Caveat: we make 'us' time as much as possible. We don't live for or through our children. We have separate interests and have even taken separate vacations on occasion.

I love him so much it's crazy. And he shows me every day how much he loves me.
posted by cooker girl at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [9 favorites]

If you have kids you will appreciate your partner all the more. There is something wonderful about watching your spouse turn into a parent.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [11 favorites]

Don't have kids.

Oh god, this.

( I mean, the human heart expands to just hold more love for my wonderful husband and my two precious children, and all that, yadda yadda, but I also find myself muttering "killyouallkillyouallkillyouall" at the end of a long day when the Three! Rambunctious! Boys! jug-band comes and performs at the side of my bath, for example. )
posted by Catch at 7:19 PM on July 20, 2012 [17 favorites]

Don't let people drag you into their own misery. You have a happy, functional relationship. These other people don't. And they want to take your own joy and turn it into their shit.

Fuck them. Just smile and nod and get away at your earliest convenience.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:20 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

12 years of honeymoon and counting here!
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:23 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't listen to anyone else. Don't have any expectations of what a relationship "should" be. Don't rely on any external benchmarks of relationship success. Only have kids if you have adequate money and support to occasionally do things OTHER than hang out with the kids and cater to their every whim. Data point: been with partner for five years, blended family, lots of hardships, still think he's awesome and wonderful.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:33 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

I take it back - you don't have to have kids, or not have kids to be happy. It's whatever works for you.

The thing to remember is, being happy takes work. It means communicating with your partner and maintaining trust and doing the dishes and balancing the chequebook and keeping promises not to work too much.

Sure, having kids is challenging, but human beings are built for it - having kids will not make you more unhappy than you already are, or vice versa.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:40 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Unfortunately, I think that's the kind of a thing that many people just knee-jerkingly say. In part, I think they're trying to convey to you their wishes for you to truly savor being in a wonderful stage in your relationship, regardless of how long *they* think that stage will last. They could (and may!) just as easily say "Oh, you're still in the fun part of getting to know each other!" or "You're just in that great stage of planning a wedding!" or "You're just in that awesome part of new parenthood!" or "Isn't it such a rush when your kids are finally at school??" or "I remember how much fun it was to be X age!" yadda yadda yadda.

I really wouldn't read it as a warning that they're trying to point out a looming end point to your bliss. You sound wonderfully happy together and people just have weird small talk quirks when it comes to relationships. I'd arm yourself with some quick witty ways to change the topic as soon as a comment like that comes up, and laugh merrily with your husband about it every night when you get home.
posted by argonauta at 7:44 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know it may not be intended that way, but that's a condescending, douche bag thing to say to a grown-ass person who has been married more than a month (actually to anyone who is married at all). Enjoy your relationship and recognize that these sanctimonious people have nothing to offer you in terms of relationship advice or, if it's a well-intentioned, almost involuntary response, that it simply does not pertain to you. Shrug it off and continue to invest your energies in having a loving, fulfilling marriage. By the way, yay you guys!. :)
posted by katemcd at 8:02 PM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

In my experience, a lot of people get married at a certain point in their lives because they think they're "supposed" to, so when they grow and change, they find they're not a fit anymore, since they only got married out of obligation in the first place. And they wind up miserable. And they tell themselves that everyone is miserable because, well, look at all their similarly-married-out-of-obligation friends. They're the same ones that pressure you to get married/have kids/buy a house when they do because That Is What You Do, even if it's not right for you. They're enforcers of the societal order and it makes them feel weird and bad when someone defying What Must Be Done seems to be happier than they are.

Trust me, I got the same kind of thing during the great You Must Buy A House To Be A Real Grown Adult push that happened in my demographic, ironically just before the big collapse in 2007/2008. If I'd listened to them, I'd be upside down in a town I hate working a job I hate making half what I make now.

12 years together, 6 years married, for the record.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:07 PM on July 20, 2012 [12 favorites]

I have bad news and I have good news. The bad news is that there is such a thing as the honeymoon stage. To a certain extent, some aspects of relationships at the outset are based on superficial factors and there are things you have not yet learned about each other. You will even likely find (gasp!) that there are things that will annoy you about each other that are currently endearing or cute.

The good news is that you will find many of the things you have not yet learned about each other will please you to no end. If you are lucky and/or you "work" on it, you will find that your attraction will deepen and grow more meaningful to you both. Its better -- far, far better.

Also on the plus side, my heart still skips a beat when I see her across the room. Her smile seems to me the finest thing on the planet and I count my lucky stars every time I think about her. I still can't keep my hands off her and we kiss and hug all the time. My cousin, who is barely as old as we have been married rolls his eyes and says "Get a room!" at us, but in a moment of drunken candor has also told me that there is nothing he wants in the world than to be part of couple like we are. I sometimes see a very old couple walking down the street holding hands and smile because I can so easily imagine myself in their shoes.

We've been together 30 years and married 25, FWIW. No children either, although I'm not convinced that is determinative -- I know couples with terrible relationships without kids and couples with brilliant ones with kids.
posted by Lame_username at 8:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

This mister and I have been together almost 13 (yikes) years and married for almost 12 years. We're happier than ever. We both feel we've hit the spouse lottery.

About keeping it: we don't have kids (he has an adult son from his first marriage), we communicate when there's an issue (we've never fought/argued in the way I understand couples do on a regular basis), we were friends before we became a couple and we continue to remain friends (people seem to stay with people they don't seem to like and I don't think it's possible to have a good relationship if you can't even like your partner).
posted by deborah at 8:43 PM on July 20, 2012

Ditto most of the other people. Whatever all those in-person commenters (and relatives!) have experienced, it's not our experience (9-year anniversary in a month). We don't have kids; I don't know whether that's relevant or not and won't make any claims about it. Anyway, it's certainly possible to keep being crazy about each other for ages!
posted by wintersweet at 10:12 PM on July 20, 2012

How about this?!!

You can be in that "eternal honeymoon" phase for 3 to 4 years - or longer, lose it somewhat over a big game changer (in our case, having our first child - man was the first 10 months mostly rough!) and then get back on track and get it back again.

In short, if you have a loooong established Happiness, expect that Happiness is always a heartbeat away during the tough times, even if it takes some effort to get back there.

Enjoy your life together!!
posted by jbenben at 1:16 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're getting fed a lot of reassuring rainbows and gumdrops here, which is great, but let me also assure you that there are probably going to be days - sometimes many days in a row - when it's going to be all you can do just to be civil to each other. It happens, and it's perfectly normal, and thankfully it usually passes. So don't panic.

(Also, not sure if you are using "honeymoon" as an metaphor for "f*cking like rabbits," but that phase definitely passes.)

- 21 years married; 25 years as a couple
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:41 AM on July 21, 2012

Response by poster: Your replies are really encouraging!

We kind of dream of having a kid (one) eventually, but like the idea of knowing each other really well before that (we will have been married for 5-6 years if everything goes as planned, we will also have more $$), and we figured one kid can't be as stressful as two or three. We are super protective of our couple time, too. But yeah I can't say I haven't thought about the changes a baby will bring to our relationship. I am both excited and terrified at the idea.
posted by Tarumba at 4:46 AM on July 21, 2012

Just be aware that there is a possibility greater than null that you are choosing reproduction over shmoopy. That is totally a fair trade-off by almost any math, but if you don't know that may be part of the package, it can be a distressing loss.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:58 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have been married for 3.5 years. We've had some smallish disagreements, but every day I literally feel like I won the lottery when I turn around and see my husband next to me. I feel that our relationship is better every day and that we click in ways I never thought possible. He tells me he has never been so happy in his life and never thought he would be. We kiss and hug and are all over each other every day.

14 years and one amazing child later, and I could have written the above word for word. Oh, and the sex life is still fantastic.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:10 AM on July 21, 2012

Married 26 years, been together 31, 3 kids. No longer honeymoon stage but I'd say better. And while kids have certainly brought their share of stress - lack of sleep, worry, money issues, etc, I'd say that they deepened our connection and our happiness. We've always made sure we found us time even when that meant sitting on the couch with a glass of wine when kids were (finally!) asleep. For both of us the relationship is the core that everything else revolves around. We have each other's back. Now rapidly approaching empty nest and we're enjoying finding more time for us - traveling together without kids.

My point - your relationship won't stay in the honeymoon phase forever but if you're lucky and you work at it you'll find it gets better. The level of comfort and security in a good, long term marriage does not preclude passion.
posted by leslies at 5:30 AM on July 21, 2012

Just to add, people said exactly the same thing to me about having kids! They'd see me enjoying my kids, and launch into dire predictions about what's next and how it's all about to end: the terrible twos, the rambunctious 7/8s, the mental middle-school years, the teen years torturefest, the money-sucking young adult years ... I always hated that smug, "Just wait." Guess what, all you naysayers? They are 22 and 26 and I still enjoy the hell out them, and miraculously, vice versa! Good luck!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:31 AM on July 21, 2012 [5 favorites]

When people say that, just smile. There may be hard times, illness, unemployment, unforeseen events. But if you are good to each other, and make your relationship a priority, you can love and support each other through good times and bad. I'm so happy for you, and it's nice to be reminded that there are good relationships out there. Mazel tov.
posted by theora55 at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have a slightly more cynical interpretation of other folks' comments: maybe there's too much PDA? Are you going to friends' houses and making out in their living room? Or is possible others feel like you guys are bragging?

They might be jealous, or irritated. Or just wrong. But there's another perspective for you.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:51 AM on July 21, 2012

Married 19 years, together for 26, still honey-mooning. I attribute some of this to our attitudes of "Me and you against the world", some of it to the gratitude meditations that we both periodically do (e.g. spending time listing out all the things/people that we're thankful for in our lives), some of it to ignoring the haters and naysayers, some of it to our Bill-and-Ted philosophy of "be excellent to each other", and some of it to not having kids.

It's not that we haven't individually and collectively encountered boredom, challenges, and sometimes personal conflicts with one another. But each time, we've gone into them with the attitude of owning our own shit, "these difficulties are transient", and "I've got your back" and each time, we've gotten through to the other side stronger than we were before.

So keep doing what you're doing, enjoy one another, take care of one another, and ignore the haters! As the folks in this thread have demonstrated, it's definitely possible to have lasting happiness as a couple.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:53 AM on July 21, 2012

Just be kind to each other when you're sick. If you're the caregiver during serious illness, it can be hard; make sure you take time for yourself. If you're sick, try to be nice, even if you're in pain; at least try to say sorry afterward if the pain gets a little crazy and you yell a lot. Childbirth, kidney stones, chronic illness...these things can be difficult, and deliberately thinking about your demeanor during these circumstances can help build trust and keep you happy together.
posted by limeonaire at 10:19 AM on July 21, 2012

When people say things like this, they are not revealing a truth about your relationship, they are revealing a truth about theirs.
posted by Morrigan at 2:16 PM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

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