When a girlfriend not too long ago ended a phone conversation with her new fling of just two weeks with “I love you,” I nearly spit out my sip of wine.
“Are you serious?!,” I asked her (obviously).
And she was. That is, for about another week until she met someone else and deleted the first guy’s number, claiming she just wasn’t into it anymore. At least my girls are great for entertainment value, right?
But I get it (though I definitely don’t throw around the ‘L-word’ that loosely).
At heart, she and I both share the ability to fall quickly and passionately for others every now and then – and a history in our younger years of jumping too quickly, too deeply, too headfirst into a whirlwind of what usually ends as an intense, undoubtedly emotional few-month fling.
No longer than that.
I know because it usually happened every three years or four like clockwork – usually in between serious relationships. Most of us have been there at some point; call them insta-relationships.
You go on one great affection-filled date that turns into another, you play ‘relationship house’ for a week, proclaim your love for one another, stay in bed all weekend long, meet one another’s friends and family, and fantasize about the future the two of you will share. You know, now that you’ve finally found one another.
After all, dating isn’t easy in our cities.
The problem is, that fantasized “future” is usually short-lived, once reality sets in, along with that sinking realization that – despite how ready you are for a relationship or how good the two of you may be in theory – it’s just not going to work. By “reality,” I mean parts of the other person – from their lifestyle and personal habits, to their moods – that you didn’t know existed in the early stages of dating. Most people have mastered the art of masking their flaws until the other person has already fallen in love with them.
Or, more accurately, with the idea of them.
If you think back, it’s likely that none of your long-term relationships began like this, and rather followed more of a rational, slower, and steadier route. Well there’s no point in dating someone if you feel zero chemistry from the beginning (obviously), and it’s increasingly refreshing to think with your heart rather than your head these days, we need to be smart (but not calculated) about a few things.
First of all, in the first hormone and sappy text-filled month of dating, you don’t know each other. Period. This means, when the other person floods your phone with “I miss you so much it hurts,” “I don’t know what I would do without you,” or anything similarly over-the-top, it’s sometimes super cute to hear (or read) and buy into, but, how authentic is it really, as much as it may be to the other person in the moment? How can someone miss you that much when they don’t even know you?
That fine line between lust and love has the power to mess with your mind in a major way, especially when that “I’m so ready to fall in love” craving resurfaces from hibernation.
With that said, you can totally know you’d seriously consider marrying someone after a few months. When it comes down to it though, I don’t think you know how compatible you are with someone for the long haul until you spend an entire year with them, through the daily grind, the changing seasons, celebrations, wins, losses, highs, lows, and life’s curveballs.
Most couples will tell you that their relationship looks a lot different after two years than it did within the first two months. (If not, they’re probably lying.)
Remember, when you start on such a high, you usually have nowhere to go but down. It’s way more fun to build up (and up, and up, and up), until you just, well, know (but for real).