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When the Honeymoon Phase Ends...And How to Get it Back

When you first meet and fall in love with someone, it is exhilarating. It feels fun, new, and exciting, and there is a spark, passion, fireworks even! You’re sending thoughtful texts, saying all the right things, taking time to bring your best self to the table to make a good impression. Maybe you care a little more about how you dress, how you smell, how you look, your breath, keeping a clean car, having good manners during a date. Maybe you shave more often, fix your hair, get a wax or a manicure. Maybe you seduce your partner with sexy words, thoughts, or pictures, or activities. Perhaps you wear that sexy little negligee or spontaneously pounce.

So you decide to get married. And maybe have kids. And then you're trying to cram sex into a 15 minute window after the kids are asleep, with leg stubble, before the exhaustion or headaches set in. And all of a sudden, you're at the place you swore you’d never be and realize that the honeymoon is over.

It is totally natural and normal for our romantic relationships to take a backseat, especially after responsibilities, mortgages, and kids are in the scene (much less the daily wear and tear of life).

But the honeymoon phase can be revitalized with one word: EFFORT.

In the beginning, if we had a date planned, we had days to sit and think about it. What will I wear? Where will we go? What will we do? Where will we eat? Who will make the first move? What will we talk about? Will he propose? Will she let me get to third base? Etc. We have time to create anticipation! We get to wonder, fantasize, percolate, simmer, creating an intoxicating concoction for the psyche and the libido.

In the beginning, you put forth effort.

Planning the right date or activity.

Telling your partner how excited you are and are looking forward to time together.

Not being caught dead with hairy legs.

Making sure you don’t pass gas or let your date watch you poop.

Opening doors or pulling out chairs.

Not complaining when she orders the more expensive dessert or wine.

Making sure you're turned into your date/partner and not zoned out on your phone, sitting in silence.

Being kind, charming, considerate.

Asking about shared hobbies, interests, how their day went, what they want in life.

Refraining from talking about unsexy stuff like your hemorrhoid, debt, or the color of your child’s snot.

It is no wonder that one of the most common problems we see in our office is boredom, feeling like roommates, feeling no passion or romance, and like the honeymoon phase is over.

That is a really scary place to be because then you may wonder:

  • Is this as good as it gets?
  • Is something wrong?
  • Are we normal?
  • Is my partner un-attracted to me?
  • Am I good enough?
  • Why don’t I have any desire in me?
  • Why aren’t we having sex?
  • I love my partner, but maybe we aren't in love anymore.
  • I wish it was how it used to be.
  • Maybe I married the wrong person.
  • Maybe monogamy isn’t for me.


Or maybe you:

  • Flirt with friends or coworkers.
  • Consider an affair.
  • Work more.
  • Hook up with someone else.
  • Keep it a secret and hope for the best.
  • Start nagging your partner to be more romantic.
  • Start pressuring your partner for more sex.
  • Drink or smoke more, or partake in recreational drug use.
  • Feel disconnected.
  • Start fighting.
  • Stop having sex altogether.
  • Try to use new positions and toys to spice things up.
  • Resort to porn and more frequent masturbation.


This is just a small list. Keeping the honeymoon phase alive or revitalizing it requires being mindful. Ensuring we stop falling into roles that don’t allow a sex life to exist...roles that fuel regrets, nostalgia from the past, things that you miss because you’re now parents. We must put in EFFORT to make sure that we don’t become too familial with a lover. Nobody has to be a martyr, you’re not sacrificing the sexual part of yourself just because you're no longer singer, young, free, and so forth. No need to give up that part of your life. It just takes work to keep it an adventure with your lover.

Esther Perel, a well-known couples and sex therapist, refers to this as “mating in captivity.” In fact, she wrote a book called “Mating in Captivity.” Basically, we can’t take each other for granted. Domesticity, responsibility, safety, security, comfort, companionship all make for a great marriage, but leave little room for eroticism. And we wonder why the romance fizzles. We have to learn to balance stability and spontaneity. If you're mating in captivity and feel like you're in this “cage” with your partner, rather than being pissed that you're in the cage with only one other person, consider where within the cage can you roam? What can do you do within this space? How can you get creative? Can you swing from this tree over here? Or jump on that stump over there?

Consider this a new beginning. Would you want to date you? What advice would you give your best friend who came to you with this problem? How do you treat each other now verses when you were first dating? I guarantee there was more effort involved. And if putting in work sounds tiring, just know, it is more work and more uncomfortable to stay in a crappy place sexually than it is to do and try fun new things.

So go out there, put in some effort, bring your best self to the table. Consider sex therapy.

If you want some help getting started or want to see if you're on the right track, call us to make an appointment at 678-796-8255, or schedule email coaching, book online, or request a free consultation with our sex therapist.


When You Want to Stop Couples Counseling

As couples therapists here at our center, we devote our professional careers to helping couples restore, re-ignite, and rejuvenate their relationships to their former glory and beyond. We are committed to helping couples who feel like they are in a relationship “crisis” or a really rocky place get to a place that feels “good.” And other times, we help couples who are feeling “good” get to a place that feels “great.” Often times that is attainable, and other times, we therapists have our own challenges when a couple decides to end the relationship. We can often see lots of deep, meaningful, and “great” work to still be done, and yet we sometimes will hear the thing we don’t want to hear: “We have decided to end things, so we won’t be coming back to therapy.” This decision might make sense to you, but marriage counselors aren’t just here for those who are married. We can do great work even when you decide to split. Here are some things that we therapists wish you knew before you decide to cold-turkey the therapeutic relationship.

Couples Therapy: A Solution for Anxiety and Depression?

Imagine you’re happily coupled up in a wonderful relationship that you find satisfying and fulfilling. Now, imagine that your partner tells you they love you, but they’re no longer in love with you, or that they’re seeing someone else, or that they want out of the relationship. How might you feel? Worried? Upset? Devastated? Betrayed? Confused? Angry? Brokenhearted? Now, imagine that you’re naturally anxious or depressed but you are in a relationship with someone who can calm you in the storm, will have your back and support you, can bring you back from the edge, and can understand you even in the midst of your emotional pain. If relationship distress can have a negative impact on our emotional and physical health, can’t it be possible that secure relationships can have a positive impact on our emotional and physical health? Research and revolutionary science of romantic love is now suggesting that secure bonds are vital when we are struggling.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

We begin serious relationships and marriages with the intention that it will last forever. We are hopeful, excited, in love. There is honesty, good communication, passion. We think it will always be this way. So, when you realize that your relationship is not what it used to be or not what you hoped it would turn out like, we naturally begin to ask ourselves “is this as good as it gets?” I get it. It seems like you’ve tried everything and nothing works. It may feel like your partner doesn’t communicate well, or doesn’t understand you, or doesn’t even care to change. You may begin to feel like you’re miserable and can’t help but wonder if it will always be this way or how much longer you can do this, eventually asking yourself “should I stay in this relationship or end it?” Can you relate to this? If so, here are a few tips to consider to help you make your decision.


Perhaps you’re considering working with a couples therapist to improve your relationship, but may be wondering how it works. Here’s a bit about what you can expect to learn when you work with a therapist that specializes in working with couples and relationships.


Considering couples therapy or new to the counseling process? It is normal to be scared and nervous if you’ve never done it before and don’t know what to expect, or if you’ve been to counseling before but are now working with a new therapist.It would likely be helpful if you had some insight to what really happens in couples therapy. While each therapist may be a bit different in their approach, this is just an idea of what it could look like based on how things go when I work with couples. Here is some of what you can expect if you are considering couples therapy.

The Kiss of Death In Relationship

Christmas is quickly approaching. Sometimes the season is a little more exhilarating for some more than others. But nonetheless, we live in a culture where we are expected be cheery, delightful, spirited, and excited about the holiday craze. Before we know it, we find ourselves deciding what people we will be buying gifts for, what we will buy them, and how much we will spend on them. Sometimes, even those of us with the best of intentions can find ourselves thinking things like this:

“I’m not spending much on so-and-so this year...they always buy me a crappy gift.” 

“They never spend as much on me as I do on them.”

“I’m not buying them anything this year because they never bother getting me anything. Why should I care?”

Many of the couples I work with adopt this same mindset, but it persists throughout the year rather than just popping up at Christmas time. I often hear couples saying things like this:

“He never apologizes first, so I’m not going to either.”

“She never tells me what she wants in the bedroom, so I don’t tell her either.”

“He hurt me, and I want him to hurt back.”

“I’m going to treat him like he treats me and see how he likes that.”

“I gave the kids a bath and got them to bed last time. If you don’t do it tonight, I’m not going to help you when you need it.”

“I will have sex with you if you give me something in return.”

The problem with this mindset is that it is tit-for-tat, becoming cumbersome, burdensome, and full of rigidity, ultimately harboring anger, resentment, or breeding contempt in the relationship. The thing we often forget about love is that we have to give it the space to be genuine, authentic, and vulnerable. This means, we have to be willing to give without a guarantee we will get something in return. If we do things only hoping we will get something back, this becomes less of an intimate relationship and more of a scoresheet...a game where there is clearly a winner and a loser. Love cannot be spiteful or vindictive. 

So, this holiday season, may we remember to give without the expectation of receiving. May we act with integrity and give the gift we truly want to give instead of the gift we should give. May we treat others the way we WANT to be treated, rather than reflecting to them the way they already treat us. 

If this sounds like you, or you feel your relationship is looking more like a scoresheet, consider working with a therapist. A trained therapist will be happy to help you get out of the rut and figure out how to give and receive more love without anger or fighting. It is possible to feel more loved and appreciated in your relationship. 

Call today at 678-796-8255 and let’s see if we can work together or schedule an appointment online.