A guide to post-honeymoon harmony


COURTESY / Greg Kozlick (@726.visuals)

Emily Eaton, Columnist

Once upon a time, in the magical distant land of Chicago, a young man took his girlfriend on an expensive trip. Outwardly, they seemed to have a fantastic time. When the trip came to an end, they drove back to Michigan just absolutely bursting with love… 

Or so the young man thought. It turns out, from her perspective, this trip was actually their last “hoorah!” She dumped him immediately upon their return. 

Citing the case above as evidence, relationships are tremendously horrifying. You truly never know when you’re going to be blindsided. As a result, I’ve learned to prepare for the worst. And now that I’m in a relationship, preparing for the worst, I’ve realized, can cause major problems. 

But when you slowly start to slip out of the romantic whims of the honeymoon phase, embracing the regularity of long-term commitments can seem like a red flag signaling the beginning of the end.  

There were three times when I realized my boyfriend and I’s relationship had shifted. 

  1. When he said “Emily, do you hear that?” in the most panicked voice I’ve ever heard. I matched his level of concern and went extremely quiet. He farted. 
  2. When we fought about me feeling like he didn’t like me anymore. I mainly felt that because he didn’t text me back quickly enough, resulting in me full-heartedly believing that he now hated me, but just didn’t know how to tell me he was sick of me. 
  3. Last week, after a night of drinking, when he barged in on me in the bathroom so that he could throw up in the sink. I literally rubbed his back from the toilet. 

As you can see, we’ve fled the honeymoon phase and now have a tight grasp on gross reality. And lately, I’ve caught myself reminiscing on the early days, back when I was nervous to even invite him over. I used to stay up late just to sit next to him on a couch for hours, and now I fall asleep at 9 p.m. and snore in his ear – and every time I wake up, I realize love isn’t the movie I thought it might be. 

The movie we were once living in has slowly shifted into a low-budget Netflix romance on par with The Kissing Booth, but luckily for them, they’re at least prettier than us. There is one thing we have now that we didn’t have as strong as before, however: complete honesty. 

The anxieties I have about being in a relationship, specifically the fear of being blind-sided, I decided to share with him through a puddle of tears one night. He listened, he nodded, he hugged me, he made me laugh, and then we binge-watched TV holding hands. 

And for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace. It was boring and mundane, but within it was this loud yet soft-spoken understanding that doesn’t come with excitement, but with the comfort of a long-term partner.