This is the phase where we step back from the intense merging of the honeymoon phase, we take off the rose-tinted glasses and ask ourselves if we can live with the reality of the other person. It is easy to build a dream-like version of the other person only partially based on reality in the honeymoon stage.
In the honeymoon stage, we might try out watching soccer every Sunday in the freezing cold. By the time the differences stage rolls around we are clear we don’t like soccer that much and they can go on their own from now on while you stay home with a cup of tea and a good book.
Things we thought were cute in the beginning might be annoying now. Maybe it was cute that he would get a bit jealous of your male friends in the beginning, it showed how much he loved you, but now it is feeling stifling.
In this stage, you are learning how to be together and how to be apart. How significant the differences are and how well you resolve conflict will dictate how you do in the next stage of ‘struggle’.