“The initial heat and passion people feel at the beginning of a relationship is called limerence, or ‘the honeymoon phase.’” says Dr. Holly. “This phase is a powerful cocktail of novelty (the seat of human desire!) and hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin.” But as fun as the honeymoon phase is, it’s not sustainable. “We’d literally burn ourselves out if we continually moved through the world that way,” Dr. Holly adds.
Limerence inevitably fades, but something just as valuable takes its place. “In healthy, long-term relationships, security—secure attachment—starts to take the place of novelty and excitement, which leads people to believe the spark is gone. It isn’t necessarily gone, it just needs to be re-lit in a different way,” she describes.