Romantic love stories are usually about the very beginning of a relationship—the “how we met and fell for each other.” We seldom hear about the time after they fall in love–the years after. Society feels a need to portray love and romance as blissful and picture-perfect, never as something that takes time and a whole lot of work to keep alive.
That’s because, in relationships, the very beginning usually is amazing. Everything feels as though it’s a scene out of a teenage rom-com. Colors are brighter, songs are happier, and you can’t stop smiling from ear-to-ear. But, once you reach that two-year mark in your relationship, things change. The two-year mark, for many people, is when reality sets in that you’re in a pretty serious, long-term relationship. And with this comes a whole lot of problems, fights, discussions, and pressure.
6. You begin to fight a lot more about serious topics.
While all relationships are real, the longer you’re in one, the more reality will set in that this can be a “forever” thing. After two years, the “infatuation” and obsession wears off as people begin to calm down and get comfortable. Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, says:
After a year or so, the new relationship euphoria begins to wear off, and reality sets in. Both partners relax, and stop being on their best behavior.” But this isn’t all good. “Old family habits assert themselves, and they begin to disagree about things they were tolerant of before. Both partners are realizing this is about the rest of our lives, and that is a scary concept.”
5. You start to feel bored.
After two years, you and your partner essentially develop routines and habits that are easy for you both. While it’s healthy to have routines, not breaking away from them can drive the fun and “spice” out of your relationship at lightning speed. Relationship experts and therapists often urge couples to break out of their weekly routines to ensure that the relationship remains exciting. Marriage and Family Therapist, Relationship Specialist Jen Elmquist says:
Patterns will develop: Over time you will develop patterns or a way of dancing in this relationship together that will become predictable and at times monotonous. Pay attention to the patterns you create and change them if you need to.
4. You start to feel a lot of “remember when…” moments.
After the excitement settles down and the “thrill” of the brand new love begins to fade, you’ll begin to have those “remember when we did…” moments and begin to resent your partner for not keeping that “spark” alive. Relationships are like getting that toy you always wanted as a kid. The more you played with it, the less excited you were to use it. The same goes with relationships–it’s not that you don’t love your partner, you just feel the thrill fade away.
Dr. Rich Nicastro points out that the slow-down in our excitement has to do with our brain’s hormones.
Research shows that the brain’s pleasure centers go into overdrive when love is new, and as a result, our mood improves, we become more motivated and focused, and what was once considered uncharacteristic for us (like going dancing until the wee hours of the evening; or sharing our “true” feelings during a three-and-a-half hour conversation) now feels totally normal.
3. Society will start pressuring you to think about your “future.”
The two-year mark is when people start to look at your relationship as “serious,” especially, your family. Everyone around you will begin to pressure you into answering questions you may not be ready to face or answer. Word to the wise–if you’re personally not ready for something, do not let other people convince you that you are. The worst thing you can do is pressure yourself or your partner into moving too fast.
2. Your sex life slows down.
Everyone knows that when you first fall in love with someone, the sex is usually incredible (and rather frequent). Hey, it’s one of the reasons you fell in love in the first place. As time goes by your sex life tends to take a rather big hit. If you feel as though your sex life is deteriorating at a rate that doesn’t work for you, be sure to discuss it with your partner. Communication is key when it comes to solving problems in a relationship, rather than ignoring the issue and allowing it to manifest and grow over time.
1. You and your partner change as individuals over time.
It’s inevitable that as time goes on, you and your partner will both change as people. You will grow, mature, and change with all of the movements and obstacles life throws at you. Many couples struggle when they, or their partner, begin to change a bit in the relationship. Dr. Rich Nicastro points out that many times, couples see this as a huge problem.
Many couples interpret these changes as evidence that they’ve made a big error and ended up with the wrong person, rather than seeing this period as a transition phase of the relationship that requires compromise and the ability to negotiate the emerging challenges.
Change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. A relationship that is at a stand-still is much more toxic and unhealthy than one that grows and changes over time.
The two-year mark doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
Statistics show that relationships and marriages are 50% more likely to end once you reach the two-year mark. However, reaching two years together doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your love life. If you’re willing to work on your relationship with your partner and your partner only–compromising and putting in a solid effort to keep it alive–you’ll be sure to reach that three-year mark, too.