“No, you hang up.”
“Ok we’ll hang up in 1…2…3…”
“Are you still there?”
That’s how it was when Stephen and I began dating. We couldn’t get enough of each other. We poured our hearts out over text every other day, writing in long paragraphs and typing fast responses. He would reply to my texts as he played video games, like I was his main priority, and I would reward his good behavior by getting beautified every weekend. Hair done, nails done, everything DID! We even made grooming appointments days before FaceTiming each other.
I would get jealous when he introduced me to female friends although I acted as if I were pleased to meet them. In reality I viewed them as trifling piranhas ready to pounce on Stephen. They’d say things like “you guys are so cute” and I’d want to throw a brick at them while saying, “Thanks whores, I know.” But I had to keep my composure so Stephen would not see that side of me just yet. The crazy, jealous me.
Both Stephen and I wanted to be perfect for each other, but that’s impossible. We thought we were though.
In a way, I didn’t feel like we could be ourselves. In the beginning of our relationship we were busy trying to impress each another. That’s great and all but relationships change. When we first enter a relationship everything feels so fresh and exciting. We put on airs. As time passes we want to and should be as authentic as possible. That also means we get comfortable.
I don’t remember the last time I did my hair, nails, eyebrows…or even waxed my mustache. Stephen tries to maintain his beard shaped-up, usually unsuccessfully.
Truth is I love it when it’s scruffy or “messed up,” as he often calls it. And Stephen still calls me beautiful.
Other things have also shifted between us. The long essays expressing our love have slowly faded into obscurity. We respond slower and slower, causing us to put aside our pride and double text. We realize that it is okay to want each others attention and that it doesn’t mean we’re being “thirsty.” We say I love you most days – and that’s okay. What says it all is the energy we transmit every time we are together.
Bottom line, when the “honeymoon” period ends in a relationship it doesn’t mean that your relationship is falling apart. It doesn’t mean your significant other is taking you for granted. It means that you’re finally comfortable with yourself and with each another. It means that you love and accept each others imperfections. When our “honeymoon” phase was over Stephen and I argued frequently and had many disagreements, but those small bumps taught us to communicate efficiently and clearly. Those small (ok, sometimes huge) stumbles opened my eyes to what Stephen loves and hates and vice versa.
So, yes, after three years as a couple our honeymoon period is over. Stephen now knows that if I get jealous, it is because I care about him and vice versa. He also knows that I’m psychotic at times. And that we no longer have to pretend to be anything but us.