The Honeymoon Effect Is Real, And Here's Proof

We've all heard about the "honeymoon effect" -- the theory that everything is peachy in the beginning stages of a marriage until reality sets in, and it's no longer all it's cracked up to be. Now, new research says there is scientific proof to back the oft-quoted phrase.

In a new study published in Prevention Science, Dr. Michael Lorber from New York University and his team of researchers examined data collected from 396 couples during their first two-and-a-half years of marriage.

At the end of the study, researchers discovered that 14 percent of men had experienced a clear "honeymoon effect" -- meaning that at the beginning of their marriages they were very satisfied with the relationship, but their feelings of elation quickly diminished. After 30 months, they were extremely unhappy in their marriages.

The same occurred for 10 percent of women, although the researchers note that the women who experienced the "honeymoon effect" were not as satisfied with their relationships to begin with compared to women who didn't experience the effect.

So which couples are most at risk?

"Men who were more depressed or aggressive, or whose fiancées were more depressed or less satisfied with the relationship, were more likely to exhibit the honeymoon effect," Dr. Lorber tells The Huffington Post. "Things worked out pretty similarly for the women as well ... The more depressed or aggressive women were, or the more depressed, aggressive, or dissatisfied their fiancés were, the more likely they were to have fairly high initial satisfaction that dropped sharply."

Recognizing these red flags is actually a good thing, explains Dr. Lorber, because it might save time -- and the relationship -- later on.

"We can make some predictions about which highly satisfied newlyweds or soon-to-be newlyweds may not stay that way, and then try to help those people ... it might be easier to do some relatively 'light touch' interventions early on than to do intensive marital therapy after things have already soured," he said.

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