The honeymoon is over. It’s inevitable, really.
The honeymoon is sustained by certain chemicals in the brain whose job it is to make us horny so we have lots of sex and procreate. It’s all about survival of the species. Once the kids come out, a new set of chemicals kick in. The new set of chemicals is led by oxytocin, the “feel-good” chemical. It is designed to create a sense of togetherness and it’s triggered by physical contact like hugging and hand holding. Archaically, its job is to ensure that the man sticks around long enough to help raise the children through that first, most vulnerable few years of life. But no matter how long the honeymoon, couples inevitably enter the second phase of their relationship.
As soon as the honeymoon is over, the power struggle begins. The power struggle can last a few months, or it can last the rest of their lives, depending on how each person deals with it. The power struggle has five stages, and they are the same stages that a person goes through when faced with death. The five stages are shock, denial, betrayal, bargaining and acceptance. In this case, the death is not a person, but it’s the death of your romantic illusions. It’s the death of the happily ever after fairy tale. And it’s every bit as painful as if it were a real person dying.
The first stage is shock. You can not believe that your beloved is acting this way. Where’s the guy who brought you flowers every Friday night? Where’s the woman who cooked your favorite meal on Sunday? Who is this new person and what did they do to your beloved? If you’re like me, you move very quickly into the second stage.
The second stage is denial. Maybe if you pretend you didn’t see (or hear) the way your partner is behaving, it will go away. Denial can go on for a long time. In fact, I believe that a lot of older couples who’ve been together for a long time live in a permanent state of denial. One thing that happens during the denial stage is that you begin to make excuses for your partner’s behavior. Another hallmark of the denial stage is ignoring your partner’s behavior.
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