Somewhere between Phase 2 and 4, we start to look at it as a long-term relationship. Of course, these are just guidelines, and every relationship is different. Plus, there are tons of smaller stages mixed into these that can be really important in terms of relationship milestones. Each phase may also look very different depending on the people involved, but the coding is similar.
During the honeymoon phase, our brains are flooded with chemicals—dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline increase, creating the feeling of lust and/or attraction toward someone. The combination of these can be intoxicating, making us ignore certain issues and potentially red flags. After some time, these neurotransmitters dissipate, allowing the “high” to wear off and the relationship to move into Phases 2–4.
The Back-to-Reality Phase is usually when folks break up if one person decides they don’t want something long term. If you continue to move into the longer-term territory, sometimes feelings of disconnection can happen. Now, are you actually disconnected? Maybe. Or maybe you’re simply feeling a lack of the flooding of chemicals from the beginning.
So, how can we keep the yummy pleasure and happy, adrenalized feelings from the honeymoon phase throughout? Well, we stay connected. Whatever phase you’re in, you can continue to create opportunities for the fun chemicals while really getting vulnerable, being honest, and deciding what you want for yourself and this partnership.
So in the interest of staying connected, here are a few things to do on your next date night to help you feel truly connected in your long-term relationship: