When my husband and I first started dating, we were the cutest couple on the planet. We couldn’t bear to be apart and we delighted in even the mundane; we grocery shopped together and we sat next to each other as we paid the bills. We exercised together, we watched the same television shows, and we enjoyed exploring the city we moved to after college. There was so much “we,” “us,” and togetherness that it’s pretty shocking our friends didn’t leave us and our saccharine lovey-dovey behavior. Seriously, we were ridiculous. And just so damned cute.
The honeymoon phase was wonderful after we got married. We made gourmet meals together and relaxed on our front porch in rocking chairs, often dreaming of the pitter patter of little feet coming to the newly refinished hardwood floors in our family room. We were happy, in love, and dammit, still so damned cute it hurt.
When our first child came along, we worked hard to keep the magic alive but, let’s be honest — there’s nothing hot or sexy about pumping breast milk at the kitchen table as your husband eats breakfast. Not that I did that or anything (I’m lying). After a few years of marriage, it was clear that if we were in this marriage thing for the long haul, I was going to have to get over the fact that he can smell up the bathroom worse than any gorilla exhibit at the zoo. And, he was going to have to accept that watching me put on a sports bra is not something that will ever make him horny.
Romance and signs of affection have taken on a very different role in our lives after 17 years of marriage as well if I’m being honest. While we may not have fireworks and candlelit dinners every night anymore, we have a lasting connection based on a mutual understanding that I will binge-watch Orange Is the New Black in bed while he snores like a 747 at take off.
While romance is very much alive in our house, I can assure you, the honeymoon is loooong over. Here are some other signs that the honeymoon phase might be over in your marriage too.
1. The last time you went out on New Year’s Eve, it was Y2K.
2. You’ve stopped trying to please his mother.
3. The Christmas tree is filled with presents you bought for yourself. And you are really excited about those fleece leggings.
4. Romance is a new water heater purchased just in time for Valentine’s Day.
5. Two words: courtesy flushes.
6. You’ve gone to bed angry once or twice since your wedding day. Okay, 562 times.
7. You no longer giggle when someone calls you “Mrs.”
8. You’ve considered throwing yourself a “Replace the Broken Wedding Appliances” shower in time for your 10th wedding anniversary.
9. Forget candy and roses. The way to your heart is your husband emptying the dishwasher without being asked.
10. “I’ll take care of bedtime” is foreplay.
11. You both roll your eyes when you see a young couple kissing in public.
12. You haven’t been to a wedding in 15 years.
13. “Dinner and a movie” is now Netflix and takeout.
14. You buy your underwear at Costco and you give zero fucks.
15. Love notes on the bathroom mirror have been replaced with “Bring home milk or don’t come home” texts.
16. When you call someone “Pooh Bear,” you are actually referring to a stuffed animal.
17. Your husband no longer makes jokes about having extra people join you in bed.
18. “Clothing optional days” now only apply to the toddler in your house.
19. You come home from your daily run with just one coffee from Starbucks.
20. Your husband no longer pretends to notice when you’ve gotten highlights or a new dress.
21. He trims his nose hairs as you clip your toenails and neither of you thinks it’s weird.
22. You give him the stink eye when he tries to join you in the shower. Come on, dude, it’s the one place I don’t have to listen to kids whining.
23. The only time you light candles now is when the power is out from a storm. Or when he’s polluted the bathroom.
I don’t need sweeping romantic gestures like I did when I was 20. These days, I’ll settle for laundry actually making it to the laundry basket and dishes being put in the dishwasher. While I do miss getting flowers unexpectedly sometimes, what I don’t miss is having to pretend or trying to impress my husband. He’s seen all of me — the good, the bad, and the ugly and he still gives me the bedroom eyes more times that I can count in a week, even when I’m wearing those leggings he gave me for Christmas.
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