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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.


The Thing You're Doing That's Killing Your Sex Life

I often hear my female clients say  “My husband is like having another child.”  “I have to tell him how to do everything: how to load the dishwasher the right way, remind him about his doctor appointments, tell him where the kid’s pajamas are, or tell him how much money is in our bank account, or that he should stop looking at his phone (porn/video games/etc) all The time and look at me instead.”

I often hear my male clients say “My wife nags me and is always on my ass. It seems like I can’t do anything right. If I help out with the kids, I didn’t do it her way or the RIGHT way, if I ask how to do it to please her, she's mad that I don’t just know how to do it, and if I don’t do it at all, then I’m really screwed. I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t.”

(Sometimes we see these roles reversed, but this is the example we are using for the sake of the point we are about to make.)

Does it feel like you have to parent your spouse? Or does it feel like you spouse is policing and critiquing your every move? Then, this is for you.

If you get caught up in mommying or daddying your partner, or treating them like an employee, then it is KILLING your libido. Who wants to have sex with a micromanaging boss? Or their parent? It is a total turn off. Wives end up emasculating their husbands (cutting their testicles off) and the husbands end up making their wives feel like they are lackluster employees or little girls getting scolded by the principle. This leaves us to respond in 1 of 2 ways:  we either get compliant to “please” or we want to “rebel.” Both of which are major boner killers (lady boners included).

So, without getting offended,  I ask you to consider how might you be parenting your spouse, treating them like a child, infantilizing them, protecting them? The result is almost always a power struggle which leads to conflict and discord both in and out of the bedroom.

Learning to have difficult conversations as adults means we have to stop acting like toddlers and start acting like grown ups so that we can start negotiating as LOVERS, which is what you were to begin with anyway, right? This means we have to learn how to ask for our wants and needs to be met without DEMANDING or setting unrealistic expectations that are rigid and don’t allow for any flexibility. If you want a lover  or An equal, you have to dig deep and be willing to examine what responses, actions, and reactions you have that create the opposite effect. And for what it’s worth, we all have a little work to do it this department. The really hard part is being willing to do the work.

“But doing the work feels like effort! I’m already tapped out!”

I get it. And totally understand that it does seem like effort you invest with possible little or questionable return on your investment. However, I challenge you…. whatever you're doing now also takes a lot of effort. Staying stuck, mad, frustrated, unappreciated, unhappy, unloved, unsexy, bored and fighting about it is draining your energy and sucking the life out of you and the sex out of your relationship. Sitting in a dry desert without any water is hard. Walking to a water source when you’re wilted and exhausted is hard. But finally drinking some fresh, cool water is revitalizing and worth it to be revitalized. I promise you, sitting in the dry Desert, thirsty, is much harder. Don’t be afraid of the work if it will breathe life, love, and romance back into your relationship.

In the meantime, be aware of your actions, reactions, and interactions with your partner. Are you angry? Frustrated? Why? Are you going into mommy-mode/daddy-mode or playing cop? Can you express your feelings, needs, wants clearly, kindly, and without blame or critique? Can do you it in a way that doesn't create emotional contagion that runs rampant and uproots the good seeds that have been planted?

Feel like you need some help with this? Unsure of how to talk as lovers instead of parents? Want to feel like lovers again? One of our marriage therapists or sex therapists can help you learn how to level the playing field and rev your sex life back up! Call today at 678-796-8255, schedule online, or inquire about affordable email options to get started!


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