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The Honeymoon Complex March 20, 2009

Posted by anoddphrase in Love, Relationships, Sex.
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When I was a young and innocent girl, one winter, I discovered my first, true love.  We met at night, a prequel meeting to drunken boxing at a party (I know, so romantic).  We flirted.  He asked me out.  Unfortunately, for me, this first, true love–or boyfriend at the very least–lived in a land far away.

Alas, my plight was that my new boyfriend was in college.  I was in high school at the time and the idea of a college boyfriend seemed alluring, forbidden, mature.  He was also a fireman and had amazing abs.  But moving on from salivation, I quickly realized his college was over 8 hours away.  That for me, as a young lover with no driver’s license at the time, was hard.

But we saw each other every couple of months, over break, for a special weekend–and we talked ALL the time over IM (instant message), the phone, hell, he even became a regular reader of my personal blog at the time (talk about devotion).  To me, he seemed like the perfect boyfriend.  Attentive, romantic, he’d say all the right things at all the right times, whenever he saw me he’d bring chocolates, I’d write him poetry (I know–don’t bother saying it), we’d help each other concentrate on our studies.  And finally, six months later, our patient and distant love paid off.  Summer came and we were together at last.  He was from my hometown and we started spending all of our time together.

It took me about a month to realize there were so many problems in our relationship… so many problems I had with him.

So many problems that I hadn’t noticed over the phone or IM or the brief moments that we snatched together and snuggled on our ‘honeymoon’ trips to see one another.  I won’t go in depth about my problems with him–it’s not really fair, since he hasn’t really got the chance to defend himself here.  But to summarize, I realized that we didn’t really have anything to talk about.  We had almost nothing in common.

Furthermore, I realized that I would’ve figured this out mere weeks (or even days) into our relationship if I had dated him in person, instead of through the internet, through the phone, and through distance.  Because of the distance, I was allowed to romanticize his silence at my chatterings of things he had no interest in.  The moments we got to see each other we were always in great moods–it was like taking a romantic vacation away from our lives.  But when we started spending every day with one another.  I realized just how much we didn’t mesh.  Our relationship had been conceived in a romantic ideal, in a honeymoon that we gave ourselves whenever we saw one another–it wouldn’t, and didn’t, survive the banality of the every day.

Now, I’m not knocking online relationships.  Hell, I’m not even knocking long-distance relationships.  I’m just saying they’re not for me, and that’s what I learned here.  I think all of those things can occur and depending on your personality and your needs from a relationship, they can even thrive.  I know people who have had years’ worth of long-distance and internet relationships.  And that really works for them.

My grandmother and grandfather, for instance, were married for more than fifty years–and they started their relationship by letter-writing during World War II.  They got married and my grandfather pretty much shipped out again.  Then, after the war, my grandmother worked as an obstetrician, delivering babies all through the night, while my grandfather worked through the day as a technician.  They rarely saw each other most of the time.  After that, my grandmother immigrated to Canada by herself because she was unable to gain visas for my mother and her siblings–so all in all, my grandmother and grandfather spent most of their relationship apart.  My mother told me that her earliest memories are of her father waiting in line at a public telephone to call long-distance from Taiwan to Canada and that he’d written down everything he wanted to say, because it was too precious a phone call to waste not knowing what to say.  Now that my grandfather is dead, my grandmother often jokes that she doesn’t feel like he’s gone–she just feels like she’s waiting to be with him again, like all the rest of their relationship (romantic, I know).

What I learned about myself, comparing my experience to my grandparents’, is that I really can’t stand not knowing someone’s everyday self.  I need the farts (oh, yes, that darling aspect of all our closest relationships), the bad moods, the good moods, the ignoring for computer time moods, the cooking, the cleaning, the shouting.  I need all of that for a relationship to work with me.  I need a relationship that is grounded in the everyday for me to survive not killing the person I’m with because I can’t stand their bad habits.  For me, at least, there’s a comfort in the familiar and it helps me if their bad habits slowly chip away at my awareness–I just stop noticing it after a while.   And I’m able to focus and appreciate the person’s ability to be there for me when I need them to be.

But that’s just me.  And I realize that a good relationship and good communication can come in more ways than one.

So the lessons, I think, we’ve got from this analysis are:

1) Again, with the Know Thyself stuff.  But really, relationships are all about knowing who you are and what you want and need.
2) Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it (unless it’s something you know you really can’t deal with it).  Because even though the Honeymoon Complex didn’t work out for me, it could work out for you.  And the experience allowed me to learn more about myself.  Plus, the sex is great.

Term of the Day

Honeymoon Complex [ˈhə-nē-mün ˈkäm-pleks]
1. A product of long-distance or internet romantic relationships whereupon a couple feel euphoric or romantically idealistic upon seeing one another for only short periods of time.