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When the Rose-Colored Lenses Come Off: Life After the Honeymoon Phase 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

Synchronized heart beats, flushed cheeks, laughter that leaves your gasping for air, biting your lip to conceal your smile. The early stages of love oftentimes come with a sense of bliss that is difficult to describe if you haven’t yourself experienced it. Still adorned with rose-colored lenses, the honeymoon phase leaves everything seeming perfect, magical, flawless. Your friends are probably sick of how much time you and your new lover spend together and being “high on love” never rings truer. But as a STEM girl, I just can’t put aside the natural laws of the universe: what goes up, must come down (and the higher up you go, the bigger the crash can be). 

In my own relationships, I’ve always experienced these opposing desires between committing entirely to my partner or treading lightly for my own emotional protection. Do I dive into the deep end of the pool, not knowing how far it goes, or do I keep my feet grazing the floor? During the honeymoon phase, your brain is saturated with dopamine, the pleasure hormone. You associate your partner with euphoric feelings, subconsciously creating a reward system in your brain. And while, I’ll admit, it feels pretty great, I can’t help but fear its inevitable cessation. 

As dopamine levels fall and oxytocin and vasopressin, which are associated with long term comfort and attraction, increase, flaws become more apparent. While still the same people, the dynamic of the relationship changes. Maybe your partner chews a little too loud or interrupts you constantly. Sure, they’ve always done that, but the chemical ratio in your brain left you oblivious to it. We fall into normalcy and maybe even disillusionment, a stark contrast from the utopic relationship you thought you had. 

Of course, having a single negative feeling about your partner does not necessitate the downfall of your relationship. In fact, some couples never experience a honeymoon phase at all. We are all human beings, learning to navigate the world around us, making mistakes, and living imperfectly. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that your relationship is what you make it. Continue to date each other as opposed to just coexisting. Communicate where you are emotionally, your needs, your desires. Dating after the honeymoon phase, I think, is a critical period. It’s real and raw. It’s learning to love a fallible person rather than an idealized version of them. Dating during the honeymoon phase is easy. Dating each other after can take more maintenance, more work, more effort to understand each other and who you are together. 

So, are we meant to fully lean in, risk it all in the face of love, or should we guard our of-so-fragile hearts so as not to get attached too fast? I’ll leave you with a quote by Genzaburo Yoshino: “If it means anything at all to live in this world, it’s that you must live life like a true human being and feel just what you feel.” 

Karla Evangelista is a member of the writing team and Editor in Chief for Her Campus at USF Chapter. She writes mainly for the culture column, taking specific interest in the consequences of the digital age on Gen Z and cultural critique. Beyond Her Campus, Karla maintains a publication on Substack where she mainly writes prose poetry. She is currently a second year Psychology major at the University of South Florida. When she isn't writing, Karla enjoys reading, playing with her cat, Roman, and listening to an ever-changing rotation of musicians. She lives and breathes by the phrase, "There is strength in being soft. Strength in being raw and open and affected."