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Stage of Love #1 - The Honeymoon: Why The World Would End Without it?

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Stage of Love #1 - The Honeymoon: Why The World Would End Without it?

Beach, sunset, two bodies pressed against each other in passionate embrace aaand cut. Hollywood has capitalized on the ethos of romantic love and Disney made billions on the “happily ever after.” The singles among us dream of falling in love with “the one” and those happily married reminisce with sweet nostalgia about the first months spent together as a couple. 

The Hallmark phase of romantic love is the elated “in-love” feeling and desire to become one with the beloved. Since we do not know our beloved well, we fill the gaps in our familiarity with wishful thinking. In other words, we tend to see what we want to see, and we tend to ignore everything else. Less appealing aspects and potential red flags are rationalized and explained away, as we are drunk with the euphoria of the honeymoon. 

During this phase lovers are focused on the desirable aspects and on similarities in each other while minimizing differences. We idealize our beloved, setting them high on the pedestal of our devotion. Surrendering to the powerful impulse to merge with our beloved, we are primed to respond to our partner’s desires and needs, often de-prioritizing our own. Our personal wants are put on the back burner. We do our very best to secure the love of our beloved.  “I will do anything for you” is a classic sentiment in this phase of intimacy. 

Although marked by decidedly distorted perception of each other, the honeymoon phase is a crucial stage in bonding. Here the attachment is formed and we become an important part of each other’s experience. Once we deeply attach to our beloved, this strong emotional bond triggers the memory of the primary emotional bond – the bond with our caregivers. It stirs up our early emotional wounds and this old unresolved baggage comes up to claim space in the relationship. This is priming the stage for the next phase of intimacy – the conflict and power struggle. 

Couples rarely reach out to seek couples therapy during the honeymoon phase. In my online couples therapy clinic I see clients from all around California – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm-Springs and San-Diego. The rare occasion clients would reach out to a couples therapist during the first stage of love is as for the purposes of premarital counseling. Couples may want to prepare for engagement or marriage and discuss their values, priorities and vision of their future together. However, the predominant vibe of the relationship during honeymoon is mostly honey. 

Markers of the Honeymoon Stage: Urge to merge with the beloved, strong sexual attraction, elation, idealization of the partner, denial of differences or red flags, fusion, prioritizing the needs of the beloved, suppression of individual needs 

The Task of the honeymoon phase: Bonding, Attachment.

Failure to accomplish the task of this phase leads to dissolution of the relationship. 

Duration is between 3-24 months with average of 6-12. This is the only stage that can be marked by approximate time frame. All other 4 stages are dependent upon completion of the task of each stage.

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