How To: Survive the End of the Honeymoon Stage

The Honeymoon Stage – A place where everything is going right for your relationship. You have it all… the hot boyfriend/girlfriend, an argument-free relationship, constant butterflies when you see them, and the romance and sparks are flying. Your love can conquer the world and you feel as though your relationship is untouchable. What can possibly go wrong?

Reality. Reality is where it all goes wrong!

As those of you who frequently read my stuff know, I am all about writing about my personal life. Personal = Relatable. Well, this piece is no different! My boyfriend, Mike, and I had a kickass honeymoon stage. So, when that honeymoon stage decided to come to an end, I guess you can say it felt like the relationship was over.

As harsh as it sounds, the excitement of the relationship slowly fades away, along with those butterflies you get whenever you see your significant other (S.O.).

You begin to notice annoying things about them that you once overlooked. For example, Mike enjoys taking his socks off when sitting on the couch, and throwing them into the corner of the room. (Yes, you read that sentence correctly.) For the first few months in our new apartment, this didn’t bother me. I would gladly walk past the socks, smiling, and pick them up and throw them in the hamper. No biggie! It’s only a pair of socks right? Well… if I told you that I still walk past those socks, and don’t want to rip my hair out every time I see them, I would be lying to you. This may seem dramatic to some of you, but those of you past the honeymoon stage will understand…

I. Hate. Those. Socks. I have actually developed hatred for his socks, and because of this, we have argued… over socks…

Also, makeup becomes a thing of the past. The need to obsess over how we look begins to change. By this time, your S.O. has already been impressed by you and the relationship takes a turn to become more comfortable. Bring on the sweatpants and ponytails!

You will also notice that your S.O. is a little more honest than you remember. The days of ‘Does this dress make me look fat?’ – ‘No! You are a goddess!’ — over. I am not saying your S.O. is now going to criticize your appearance. Let me give another example.

In the honeymoon stage, I could have wore a trash bag and Mike would have been ooo-ing and aww-ing. (My favorite part of the honeymoon stage, if we are going to be honest.) Well, one day, I decided to change the way I was styling my hair. I walked out of the bathroom and said ‘What do you think?’, expecting the same ooo-ing and aww-ing. Mike replies, ‘It’s okay. I think it looks nicer the other way.’ There I stood, shocked, questioning who this monster thinks he is and why I would subject myself to such cruelty.

Joking aside, I wish the honeymoon stage was permanent, but, unfortunately, it’s not. The reality is, every couple goes through the end of the honeymoon stage, and it sucks. But, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to suck! Here are some ways to survive the end of the honeymoon stage!

DO NOT stop date nights!

I feel as though couples stop having date nights once their relationship turns serious. What sense does this make? Date nights do not mean watching a movie on the couch. Get up, dress up, and go out! Make plans together. Set up a certain day of the week to have a date night. By continuing to date each other, you are keeping the excitement in the relationship.

Do something new together.

Relationships become repetitive and comfortable. So, try something new that neither of you have ever done before. Do something together that forces you to come out of what is comfortable. For example, Mike and I just recently went to an overnight ghost hunt at Pennhurst Asylum, which scared me to death. We also have talked about taking a cooking class together, because we live off of cereal haha. Do something that will make you more knowledgable, something creative, different, scary, and fun!

Reflect on the fun times.

Reflecting on the fun memories you experienced together will help you revisit the honeymoon stage, and can help bring you both close together again!

Keep the sparks alive!

Do not let the romance and intimacy die! This is vital for a relationship to survive the end of the honeymoon stage. Keep trying to impress each other both romantically and in terms of being intimate. Sometimes couples become lazy in this category because they are used to the routine. Change it! Who says routines aren’t meant to be broken? Spice things up by trying new things, sweeping your S.O. off their feet, and keeping them on their toes.

Remember why you fell in love with them.

Go back to when you first met them. What gravitated you to him/her? What about them made them interesting to you? Do not forget the reason why you’re in the relationship in the first place. Is it their sense of humor, good-looks, personality, work ethic? Go back to what brought you both together and don’t forget it!

So, my fellow honeymooners, do not panic once your boyfriend starts throwing socks and telling you that your hair looked better a different way! haha. Every couple goes through this transition and it is perfectly normal. HOW you handle this transition is what really matters. Relationships are a lot of work and will not remain perfect and shiny. When you take the steps necessary to survive the end of the honeymoon stage, your relationship will benefit immensely. You will be closer than ever. What happens after the honeymoon stage is what is most important. 🙂

Sincerely, Olivia.

 

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

Calling all control freaks!

So I have this super annoying thing that I do, which is try to control everyone and everything around me. It’s so bad, that sometimes I don’t even realize that I am doing it. I seem to think that I need to control everything and that it will make me happy, but the truth is, it does everything but that. Almost everyday I try to take control over situations and other people, and it is exhausting. I also get feelings of anxiety and stress when I try to control everything. So, why do I do this to myself?

I have recently been trying to understand this problem, and I have done a lot of thinking about the reasons why I do this. I thought back to one instance where my sister was spontaneously moving out to LA, with maybe $400 in her pocket. (shoutout to my sister, Andrea, for giving me a panic attack over this situation. You helped make this blog post haha!) Due to the fact that I was extremely nervous and scared that she was making a huge mistake, I did everything in my power to get her to stay. I’d get into exactly what I did, but as I said, I did everything in my power and there isn’t enough time in the day for me to write it all haha. Let’s just say I went above and beyond to try and sabotage her plans to move to LA and ended up causing myself a great deal of stress, anxiety, and unnecessary fights between my sister and I.

I did not realize exactly what I was doing until she actually left. My sister was going to LA no matter what I did to stop her, so what was I getting out of all of this? Absolutely nothing positive. The thing is, I had the best intentions, even though it didn’t seem like it. Watching my only/baby sister move out to LA with barely any money scared me to death. I didn’t want anything bad to happen to her. But wait a second – who said something bad would happen? No one. This was me overthinking. Bottom line is, nothing positive came out of me trying to control my sisters life. I learned, in this instance, that I needed to just let her go and let her be. I could not control this situation.

So, the million dollar, ironic, question… How do we control our control problem?! It is definitely not as easy as it sounds. I have thought this through and I take myself back to the situation with my sister. What could I have done to stop being such a control freak?

Stop and think.

Ask yourself – ‘Where is this coming from?’ ‘Why am I trying to take control over this?’

There is a reason why you are feeling like you need to start to control the situation. What is that reason? Think. My reason was because I wanted my sister to be safe, and I was letting my fears take control over her life. Once you know where it is stemming from, it will be easier to tackle it.

Breathe.

Seems like an easy one, right? Well, for me, when I begin to try and control something, my anxiety and stress levels are through the roof. When this happens, I tend to forget to breathe. If you’re like me and can relate to this, take deep breaths to calm yourself down. Deep breathing can help you relax, calm your nerves, and bring those levels of stress and anxiety down. Just take some long, deep breathes while you’re thinking. It will help you think more clearly, and you will feel better.

Let it be.

Alright, you made it to the hard part. Time to realize what controlling the situation is really doing to you. For instance, I drove myself to the point of insanity trying to change something that I couldn’t. Don’t do that! It’s time to just let it be. It is easier said than done, but just let people do their own thing. We can not change people or what they want to do. We are only in control of ourselves.

I take control of a lot of people and situations in my life. This example about my sister is one of MANY, believe me. But the thing is, I really do have the best intentions when I try to take control. However, what am I really get out of it? What is it doing to others? What is controlling every situation causing for the situation itself? Next time, think about these questions, and when you face a situation that you think you need to take control of, stop and think, breathe, and let it be.

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

When you’ve hit rock bottom.

It’s been two weeks since my life fell apart. Two weeks since I have had a full nights sleep. Two weeks of eating one meal every few days. Two weeks of lifeless dazes at the floor, walls, and at traffic lights. Two weeks of not wanting to wake up in the morning. Two weeks of hitting rock bottom.

This blog post will be the most personal and raw post I have ever written.

A lot of people are mad at me. What makes it so difficult is that it was self-inflicted. Those that are mad at me, are people that were very important to me in my life, which also makes it very difficult. I believe that blog posts that are personal are the most relatable and very powerful. That being said, even though I believe telling the story would be beneficial to those who might be going through something similar, it is not mentally beneficial to me. Therefor, I will be general.

We all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions. I made a big mistake and a very bad decision. For that, I am paying the consequences. Along with this, I have been beating myself up more than anyone else could. Those I have talked to about my situation have told me not to do this, but I can’t help it. I deserve it. I deserve to feel horrible and hate myself. I did something unforgivable, wrong, and unacceptable, and I can’t seem to find a way to cope with it.

How I am currently coping with this is very unhealthy. I go to work looking a mess, because I have no motivation to make myself look presentable. I can feel myself becoming weak and lightheaded because I have zero desire to eat. Ironically, I feel exhausted, but when I try to sleep, I can’t. When I lay in bed at night, a dark cloud of emotion, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and loneliness suffocates me. Some nights I lie there thinking about how much of this pain would be gone if I didn’t wake up in the morning. I have a love-hate relationship with bedtime. I am currently enrolled in graduate school, and start classes again on September 1. I have repeatedly thought about dropping out until I can get a handle on my life. The stress of my classes along with the stress of my life scares me and is already beginning to feel overwhelming. I have also thought about quitting Project Wednesday, because I don’t feel as though I can write about positivity when I am feeling so down and am in a mentally dark place.

Today I woke up after having a horrible dream. I didn’t get out of bed for a few hours. I laid there staring at the ceiling telling myself, “You deserve to feel this way.” Then I told myself I had to get up. I got out of bed, took a very long shower, and ate what I could. Then, right before I grabbed the doorknob to leave my house, the dark cloud of emotions fell over me. I froze. I stood there and stared at the door and began to cry uncontrollably. I so badly wanted to crawl under the covers and cry for the rest of the day. Instead, I left. I drove to a local bookstore in hopes of buying a new book to keep my mind busy for a few days. As I walked in, I felt alright. I browsed the aisles until the dark cloud fell over me again. I broke down crying in between the bookcases, and then hid from everyone in my car and sobbed. It seems as though I can’t escape this feeling. Again, I wanted to go home and crawl into bed.

As much as it hurt, I didn’t drive home. I drove to my favorite cafe, ordered a chai latte, and opened up my MacBook. That leads up to present time. I am here, at Adezzo, writing this blog. I have been here for over an hour and I really want to leave and go home and lay in bed, but I am making myself stay. It’s painful, but I have to do it. During this week I have done a lot of thinking about myself. I have reached out to people at work, family, and my therapist. Though it feels as though I have lost everything and everyone, I have not. I still have people who care about me and that are willing to help me get through this very hard and awful time in my life. Realizing this helped me come up with steps to get me back on my feet.

Surround yourself with positive people. 

Do not do this alone. Find someone to talk to. I would not be as emotionally stable right now if I didn’t reach out to others. They will help you feel better. The pain of the situation always comes back and gives me a very nauseous feeling, but I am grateful for the people who have given me even an hour out of their day to help me not beat myself up. Taking my mind off of what is going on has helped so much, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Give your mind a break.

Notice the positive.

This is hard and I am still having a difficult time doing this. It seems like there is absolutely no positives going on in my life right now, but it is not true. I have formed closer relationships with family, co-workers, and others in my life because they have been helping me get through this. Another positive is that I am going to grow from this, because I am looking deep within myself at who I am and how I will get through this. Lastly, realize what you actually have going for yourself. Though it feels as though my life is over, I need to remind myself that I got into graduate school and have been doing great so far, and that I am writing for a positive human development blog. Remind yourself of the good things.

Dig deep within yourself.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about myself. My therapist is a great outlet for this. She has helped me redirect my thinking, see other perspectives, and challenged me mentally. When you lose a lot in your life, it is easy to forget who you are and stop working on improving yourself. I am a prime example of this. I have been dragging my feet and have been a walking emotional disaster. Nothing about this is positive and it will not help me in the long run.

Forgive yourself.

This one I have not managed to do. Honestly, I don’t know if I ever will be able to. At least that is how it feels right now. However, I really believe that when you forgive yourself of the things that you’ve done, that is the first step in being happy with yourself and in life. If I ever get to the point of forgiving myself, I will have learned a lot about who I am, and a lot about what I need to learn from this mistake.

Learn and grow.

Learning from mistakes really sucks. We have to own it and move forward, and that is very challenging. A lot of feelings of regret will emerge from within you, and, in my opinion, it is one of the worst feelings in the world. Having a re-do or re-wind button would be ideal and really useful right now, but that is not realistic. Learn from your mistakes. Self-growth is so very important. Learn to never make the same mistake again.

Push yourself.

I pushed myself today. I wanted to sleep all day and cry in bed, but, instead, I pushed myself to leave my house and go to a bookstore and come to Adezzo. It may not seem like a very big step or very big victory, but it is. I chose to live life today, as painful as it was.

Like I said, I have hit rock bottom. I have never felt so empty and numb in my entire life. I am going to try and keep my head up and look toward the future. I have not and will not escape the dark cloud of emotions for awhile, but I have to keep trying to get back on my feet. I pray that this feeling goes away as soon as possible and that those I have hurt will forgive me. However, sometimes that does not happen and I know that. Either way, no matter what happens, I absolutely can not stay at rock bottom. I will work on myself and grow from this awful experience.

From rock bottom, the only way to go is up. That is what I intend to do.

Sincerely, Olivia.

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

This is temporary.

You’re fresh out of college, ready to conquer the world, get your own place, and find a kickass job. This is the American dream that we all worked our butts off for, right?! WRONG.

Remember when adults would tell us to stop wanting to grow up so fast, and enjoy being a kid? Yeah, me too. WHY didn’t we take their advice?! Being an adult seemed so fun and the freedom seemed so exciting. Well, NEWSFLASH, being an adult is not fun, or exciting.

I felt so accomplished and ready for adult life after graduating from Penn State, but I was under the assumption that I would get a good, decent paying job that I really enjoyed! I mean, that is why I went to college in the first place, right? Not so much.

I am currently working a full time job, while in graduate school, and I am living pay check to pay check. You would think that the full time job that I need a college degree for would suffice, but it doesn’t. As I am getting older, and trying to not fail at this adult thing, I am realizing that you have to start at the very bottom of the career ladder before making any kind of decent money. Turns out, you need a degree AND experience in order to advance in my career. I am currently working on the experience part.

My job isn’t the worst. My job is not the best. I work as a child case manager and the job can be very rewarding at times. However, my job is slowly crushing my soul. It is very disheartening and deflating to work your butt off in college for 4+ years, just to work at a job that is extremely underpaid and under appreciated.

To be honest, back in October I quit the job that I am currently in, because I let the feelings of disappointment and anger get in the way of focusing on my career goals. I disliked my job so much, that I began to explore other career options that I didn’t even go to school for. However, I do not regret quitting and taking the time I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. It helped me realize that I am on the career path that I want to be on, and that I need to work hard and climb the career ladder, step by step, to become the therapist that I want to be.

Do I hate waking up every morning to go to a job that I do not love? Absolutely. Will I love waking up every morning to go counsel active military/military families/veterans? ABSOLUTELY. We have to make it happen for ourselves. I have found out that no one is going to apply to their dream job and get it before working very hard for it.

Some words of wisdom for college students and soon-to-be grads:

  1. Do not get discouraged by a job, like I did.
  2. Do not give up on a job because it sucks, like I did. (There seems to be a trend here.)
  3. Remember that your education is only the beginning.
  4. You don’t deserve anything. You need to work hard for what you want.
  5. Nothing worth having comes easy.
  6. Keep your eye on the prize.

For those of you who are like me and are not happy with your current job situation, just remember these three words: This is temporary. By keeping our heads up and focusing on where we want to end up in our lives, rather than letting our current situations deflate us, we can only be successful. Eventually, I will get where I want to be, and so will you!

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.

When It Rains, It Pours

I have a question. Why does it seem that when just one thing goes wrong in your day, a snowball effect begins and your whole entire day is turned upside down? I truly want to know this answer. If one thing goes wrong, no big deal, but when it seems like you can not gain control of your day, let’s face it, it sucks!

A few days ago, I experienced one of these days. I woke up, had a smooth morning getting ready for work, grabbed a coffee on my way to the office, and was ready to conquer the day. I was about three quarters of the way done with my day and BAM, problem number 1 occurs. Due to the fact that I work in a mental health agency, I am always working with people. Sometimes, my job can be very challenging, because some clients that I work with do not agree with suggestions I have. On this day, I was confronted by a very angry client because they did not agree with my suggestions. Long story short, supervisors were involved and the situation was turning very negative very fast. I tried not to let this bother me and let it ruin my entire day, so, I chose to go out for dinner and drinks with my boyfriend after work. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, had a great time, and ate awesome food. Driving home I noticed that my tire pressure light has turned on. Bring on problem number 2. I ran over a bolt and now have a flat tire, mind you, the tire is only 4 months old. Internally, I am screaming, but I tried very hard to not lose my cool. So, I take my car to a used tire shop, to only be told that they can not fix my tire until the morning, which meant that I would have to be late to work the next day. Again, internally screaming. About an hour later, I was home on the couch and decided to get a head start on a paper I have due for grad school. I opened my MacBook, turned it on, and here we have problem number 3. My MacBook decided to self-destruct and refused to turn on. So, I decided to take it to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad take a look at it. They informed me that my MacBook has completely kicked the bucket. Turns out my hard drive failed and there was just no saving my laptop. Due to being in graduate school and that I have a 12 paged paper due Sunday, I needed to buy another one and I spent around $900. (UGH!) I drove home like a ticking time bomb, trying to tell myself to not lose my mind. Well folks, the second my body entered my apartment I had a complete and total dramatic meltdown. My poor boyfriend had no choice but to deal with the wrath of me and my day.

As I said before, when one thing goes wrong, it seems that it all goes wrong. Even though this day was one of the worst days that I have had in awhile, I allowed my day to weigh me down and encourage me to end the day on a very bad note, which was not helpful, positive, or necessary.

So, what could I have done differently?

I will be honest and say that I absolutely did not practice these ideas on this day. Personally, I struggle with handling and coping with bad days, which is why I wanted to write about this topic! I am going to practice these ideas when future bad days occur, and you can, too!

1. Distract Yourself

Without even realizing it, I distracted myself by planning a spontaneous date with my boyfriend. My mind was completely distracted when I was out for dinner and I was only focusing on the present moment and talking about things that did not involve my day. This is a great way to calm yourself down. If you pick something you love to do, you will be able to distract yourself and genuinely enjoy what you are doing, while also allowing yourself to cool off from a bad day in a healthy way.

2. Recognize the Good

Yes, I had a very crappy day, but was my entire day crappy? Or only some parts of it? What we can do here is recognize what good things happened in our day, even if there weren’t that many. This allows us to train our minds to only focus on the good, which can help us cope with the many crappy days to come down the road. Here are some of the good things that happened during my bad day: Dunkin Donuts made my coffee perfect on my way to work, I was able to eat lunch outside due to the beautiful weather, I went on a date with my boyfriend at one of my favorite restaurants, and lastly, I came home and was greeted by a very excited and adorable dog who loves me very much.

3. Talk to Someone

Talking to someone about your stressful day can be very beneficial. This allows you to vent about your day and also gain some feedback from someone else. They can possibly show you their own perspective on your day, help you calm down, or find ways to make your bad days turn into good days.

4. Write

Sometimes, the things we want to say out loud, we shouldn’t say out loud. When we vent to people, we are still holding back what we really want to say, because we know that what we want to say isn’t nice or appropriate. So, how do we get these feelings and emotions out? We write them. Grab a notebook and just let your words fill up each page. This can be your own personal notebook that no one else see’s. Sometimes we need a place to put all of our anger and frustrations without feeling judged or uncomfortable about what we are saying.

5. Pet an Animal

As I said before, I was greeted by my dog when I got home. After my meltdown, I was laying on my bed and my dog, Murphy, was staring at me wagging his tail. I picked him up and he laid down next to me. This instantly made me feel better because of the love I have for my dog, and because it was relaxing to just pet him and see him so happy!

6. Take a Shower

Cool off, literally! Taking a shower can be very relaxing and allow our minds to escape from reality and just calm down. Using your favorite scented body wash can also help. Personally, I love any kind of sugar cookie scent. It is very warm and comforting and can help calm me down and make me feel much more relaxed.

7. Recognize the Impact

Lastly, even though we need to think back on the positives that happened from the day, I believe it is important to think about how the stressful day made us feel and how it impacted us at the end of the day. As you know, my day escalated and it did not end well. As I write this and think back on how my bad day made an impact on me, I am realizing that it negatively effected me mentally and physically, and also negatively effected others. When I am super stressed, I become very tense and physically uncomfortable. I also repeat the bad day over and over in my head and don’t move past it. Both of these things are not helpful to me. I also had to later apologize to my boyfriend for taking my entire day out on him. When we sit down and think about how badly we are impacted by our bad days, it helps us plan out how to cope better next time, so we can avoid these bad feelings.

No matter how bad we try or how bad we want to, we can not control how our days go. We will all encounter very bad and stressful days. Bad days happen and sometimes we just end up losing our minds. We are only human! However, maybe if we practice these coping skills, we can either eliminate some bad days, or cut the ‘bad day’ to a ‘bad hour’. As the title states, ‘when it rains, it pours’, but how we handle this is completely up to us.

Sincerely, Olivia 🙂

 

Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is an avid reader who loves a great murder mystery, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, and will never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, of course accompanied by a box of Kleenex.