Life after the Honeymoon Phase

This week, continuing on with my series of blogs exploring the nature of love relationships,  I would like to discuss the honeymoon phase, it’s purpose and what happens next.

In the early days of a relationship, we tend to experience a very rich and intense level of interaction, this is what I mean when I say the honeymoon phase. It can last for weeks, months or even a couple of years. This is a normal part of the process of relationship building, we are forging bonds that will last through the years.

This bonding  process is not just emotional and psychological, it is also chemical. The intensity of our interactions  releases hormones particularly oxytocin often called the “cuddle chemical”. Oxytocin is thought to promote trust, empathy and connection. Often couples withdraw into a unit, excluding others somewhat during this phase. They will want to spend time together rather than in larger social gatherings during the honeymoon phase.

Sustaining this level of intensity for any great length of time can be exhausting and may even create limitations in other parts of our experience. It is worth noting here that if the honeymoon phase is also full of a lot of pain and upset the chances are that pattern will continue beyond the honeymoon phase. If the honeymoon phase is not wonderful hear warning bells!

Some people have patterns where passion is defined as extreme jealousy, emotive argument and intensely physical making up. For some people this may even seem to work, however I would suggest that in a truly loving relationship disagreement can be handled differently. I will come back to this later in the series.

After the honeymoon phase as intensity levels drop sometimes a form of miscommunication builds up where one person in the couple or both begin to feel unloved. We can use NLP as a way to explore one possible explanation.

In NLP we talk about the idea of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory channels of communication (VAKOG). In the honeymoon phase we use all of these channels to express ourselves and demonstrate love.

For example, we might make an effort with our appearance to be attractive visually and also to make sure we smell good! This would be visual and olfactory. We might whisper sweet nothings to each other, give compliments and share an “our tune”. The quality of our voice is also likely to be particularly pleasing. This is auditory. We tend to be generally more tactile in the honeymoon phase, express our feelings of love and of course make love at a higher frequency than after the honeymoon phase. This is kinaesthetic. Gustatory might take the form of cooking for each other or sharing a delicious treats together.

There are a variety of other ways we might express our love using VAKOG beyond the examples I give here but I’m sure you understand what I mean. We are engaged in serious sensory overload and keeping that up for life could be considered challenging.

There are some people who are addicted to the honeymoon phase of the relationship. For them the fading of this phase results in them leaving the relationship and looking for someone new to get that buzz with all over again.

For those who move beyond that phase there is the potential to reap the rewards of a committed, trusting and rich relationship. As Dr. Phil McGraw describes it, knowing we have someone who will be our “soft place to fall” when life is tough.

So what happens with our sensory expression of love after the honeymoon phase?

The answer is simple we revert to our preferred style of expression. A little note here I do not believe we should label a person as visual or kinaesthetic etc as if that is all they do. We can have preferences and those preferences can be context specific.

In love relationships we have a kind of fall back position that we are comfortable with, it doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t do anything else. What it may mean is that we build up some beliefs that take the form of complex equivalent. A complex equivalent is a linguistic term we use in NLP.  This is where we make an assumption that “x=y” where that may or may not be the case. We are often making connections that are not really there.

For example,” you don’t hold my hand any more so you don’t love me” or “if you loved me you would know what I want”. The second one here is a great double bind too because even in the best relationships we can’t always know what our partner wants if the don’t tell us! If we guess and get it wrong we are in trouble, if we ask then we may be told we should know if we loved them really!

So to return to VAKOG, in our relationship article in the magazine “Rapport”, Joe and I gave the following example of how things change.

Each partner reverts to their own preferred love strategies based on their primary love representational systems and so they give out mostly what they want to receive. As Richard Bandler and John Grinder  suggest in Frogs into Princes, this doesn’t always work. For example, the primarily visual partner gives the other a gift. The other primarily auditory partner thinks: “You can’t buy my love, tell me that you love me.” Visual thinks: “Words are cheap, show me you care.

For those of you who want to avoid this problem there is a simple solution. Don’t work harder, work smarter! I know it’s a cliché however it is still true. Simply find out your partners preferred love style and express your love that way. As a couple actually discussing this stuff is the easiest way to do that!

In our article in “Rapport”, “how to engage after the honeymoon phase” you will find some other NLP concepts discussed with this in mind. To read this article and others click on the link below.

Next week I will continue this series building on the themes already in play. Do let me know if there is a particular aspect of relationships that you would like me to discuss.

Before I sign off, for those of you who having been following my blog for a while I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on our charity fund raise for the Marie Curie Cancer Charity held yesterday. We raised £1200 which we are told will pay for 60 hours of nursing care for people in their own homes.  The representative from Marie Curie was Jo Cashman who is also one of our Master Practitioners. She shared some moving anecdotes that allowed us to understand just how valuable their work is.

The fundraiser was a self-esteem workshop called “Your Brilliant You”. The people who attended gave some amazing feedback about their experiences, we will be posting this on our websites soon. The event was such a success in every way we will be running another one in April, details to follow!

For those of you looking for personal development tools to help you with self-esteem, relationships and many other aspects of life consider joining us in March for a 9 day intensive NLP Practitioner programme. You will be amazed at how much you transform if you give yourself the opportunity! Click on the link below for more information.

March 17th to 25th 2012

Our NLP Practitioner programme uses a humanistic and person centred approach. You will learn new skills and have the opportunity to let go of limiting beliefs and experience your own magnificence. We teach ethics and provided ongoing supervision and support to all our students.

We also have Master Practitioner in May and NLP Trainer’s Training in June, contact me for more details.

About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
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