Oh hey there.

Welcome to the emerald journal. Grab a cup of coffee or glass of wine and unleash your inner artist rebel. 

What happens after the honeymoon phase?

What happens after the honeymoon phase?

Just kidding.

Just kidding.

I sat alone in my bed, snuggled under my fluffy white covers. It was 10 PM and I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed

On the surface, I wanted to read more to understand her, embarrassingly so. I was enthralled by Big Magic and I wanted to explore Gilbert as an autobiographical storyteller. Underneath that, the psychology and history of why we wed and divorce is something I want to understand more. Why do we merge and effectively un-merge?

Love’s fleeting nature cannot be denied, and therein lies the contradiction. We are hoping for forever when nothing in life is permanent, not even love as the evidence points out. Please understand, these observations are not Flintstone vitamins I willingly swallow. These are downright scary theories that make me want to puke.

I am living with my partner (after a while, the person you are committed to and building a life with just seems too important to call a boyfriend) going through the blissful process of merging. So, nowhere inside my whole being is there even a sliver of a molecule that wants to believe in such “realistic” impermanence. And yet, as soon as I read {and became immediately uncomfortable with} Gilbert’s assertion, I ran into this gem on Twitter:

Jason Silva has such a gorgeous, eloquent way of delivering his fears. So does Gilbert. 

I cannot say with any certainty that commitment is a waste of time because love is fickle. There is a seed of truth to that and as the people around me merge, wed, marry and split up, I see it. It’s cyclical, and at times it can seem definite. But what I can say certainly is that love, marriage and our psyche are ever evolving. We are all changing, and therefore nothing, not even –your thoughts– are permanent. 

It kind of seems like I agree with them… but here is where I am going to throw an F bomb.

Faith. What happened to faith and the humble acceptance of change? I think the true problem with love that fades can be boiled down to two major categories: a poor foundation or blurred expectations. 

What’s a realistic expectation? Here’s one: you will not live in the honeymoon phase. That sweet, sticky stage filled with “electrifying vitality and rapture of meeting someone new” will pass. Fact. I wish I could tell you I am in my initial honeymoon phase, but it passed. The truth? Life gives you more versions of this in waves. When you choose someone you care about, reaching milestones together will reopen the potent fragrance of that magical honeymoon dust. Your first place together, your first dog, your first book you wrote and the celebration you both partake in as a result–– hell even a rekindling and rediscovering of your bodies and the slowness with which you worship them! Life will grant you so many more firsts and waves of splendor. 

I don’t know if I mind that, either. I love pulling back the layers of this relationship and learning more about myself in the process. Mastery is boring, and you can never “master” someone completely, can you? We have so many private thoughts (all of which are subject to evolve) and that makes the person you will be with forever impermanent–– which is a good thing. There will always be more to discover about your sweetheart should you stay open and curious.

This moment will pass, this will end. In the seconds it took you to read that sentence, time has been created and has ended (or it’s constantly happening in a very nonlinear way if that’s your jam, but that’s a whole other conversation). And now, you are in a brand new moment. 

Admittedly, I love love. I have always admired its possibilities, realistic or otherwise. I believe love is its own type of Big Magic, and I want desperately to know its powers are real and lasting. But, the human heart is a “tissue of paradox” as coined by Victorian scientist Sir Henry Fink. And Gilbert captures that contradiction in her book. As long as there has been marriage in history, there has been divorce. 

Her book awarded me the gift of truly asking myself point blank: why do I want to be legally married? Notice, I inserted the legality, as this is the true crux of marriage. Technically, we don’t need to be married to form a partnership and have that partnership last. Marriage is about order and the legalities of keeping things organized while allocating certain rights for insurance, taxes, money. It is in the very technical sense a contract you enter with you partner, and YES partnership is inherent because why the hell else would you bind yourself contractually and indefinitely to just anyone? I’ve never thought about it like that, and it made me feel empowered to understand its parameters fully.

But with all the dissolvement of marriages and breakups that happen around me, I gotta say I don’t blame people like Gilbert and Silva for having their reservations… and I thank them. Because all this research I have been accumulating as I enter this phase of my life where dating is behind me and merging is ahead has helped me build a case for it and be humbled by my expectations. 

The fairytale exists but it’s not what you think (I think).

I’m not married so I will not venture to give advice on that, but as a young person going through that weird transition of “dater” to “life merger," all I can share is a humbled perspective. I’m glad I read the doubts, fears, depressing statistics and realizations of the blissful honeymoon stage’s impermanence. As someone who yearns for control and at times sameness, i’m craving more excitement and change as I age. And it makes me happy to know there are more than two stages in any relationship (honeymoon and boredom). I’m straight up relieved to know nothing is permanent because I’ve seen some of the strongest and longest relationships stumble nearly to their breaking point only to be right back at a blissful peek of togetherness. 

I oddly take comfort in the ephemeral nature of our emotional and life states. Isn’t it exciting that we don’t have to be one thing or the other? That the eventual “package” won’t bore us to death but continue to teach us and reveal layers of ourselves? I think so.

Thanksgiving in Brazil

Thanksgiving in Brazil

The Common Denominator of Negative Thinking

The Common Denominator of Negative Thinking