I Asked My Exes Why Our Almost-Relationships Failed
Another whirlwind boyfriend has just called time on our relationship, if you can even call it that.
We were talking for six weeks and officially together for three. We rushed into things, talked about our future together and made extravagant plans.
We talked about marriage and kids, and he wanted us to move in together pretty much immediately.
Then, as quickly as it started, it fell apart. And I knew it would because I know how the whirlwind romance works.
I'm a sucker for the intense emotions and excitement you feel in such a brief period of time, and I've been drawn into these situations again and again.
Here's a summary of pretty much every almost-relationship I've been in for the past two years:
Girl meets boy. Girl isn't all that keen for boy, but boy is super keen and persistent.
Girl gives boy a chance, and boy treats girl very well. Boy texts and calls all the time, talks about their future together and takes girl out on romantic dates.
Girl starts to like boy, and for a while, things are great. Boy then cancels on girl a couple of times in a row. Boy stops talking about the future, and things take more of a casual turn.
Girl drunk calls boy one too many times. Boy doesn't text for a few days. Girl tries to salvage it. Boy loses interest.
These situations have almost always lasted around two months, and I have had five of them within the last three years. Five.
And every single time, I've thought, “Wow, this one's really different. We're going places," just before his flaky, mixed-signal behavior kicks in and I go out of my mind with insecurity.
Sometimes it's been me who pushed them away, losing interest at the drop of a hat and not really knowing why, suddenly seeing how overly interested someone is and magnifying all of their flaws.
Not being a grudge-holder and having a pretty good ability to move on, I've stayed friends(ish) with every single non-boyfriend I've ever had.
So I took the liberty of asking the ones that went cold what went wrong.
These were their responses:
I was "a bit much."
You were a bit much. It got intense very quickly.
This comes from a boy who told me he wanted us to have a kid within two years.
Also, two weeks into our relationship, he took a detour on the way to a movie theatre to show me an apartment that was up for rent. He wanted us to move into it.
But I was a bit much.
This ex didn't want me to put too much weight behind our interactions.
I really enjoyed hanging out with you, but I didn't want you to get too invested.
He also took me to meet his parents on our second date.
But I was the one getting too involved.
This guy gave the oldest excuse in the book.
You were the first person I really liked in over a year, but with my job, I didn't have the time for a relationship.
This one is clearly bullshit.
He showed real aversion when I mentioned I didn't want to get married until I was 30. He also told me he was buying us a house the following year.
All of these translate to “We fucking ran away with ourselves before we even knew each other, and it scared the shit out of me.”
And this is the ultimate problem with the whirlwind romance: It puts way too much pressure on everything, way too quickly.
You get caught up in the sheer passion and sexual chemistry, and immediately decide this person is “The One."
But then... you start to feel trapped. You keep them at arm's length until you can work out how you actually feel. The other person picks up on this and tries to get things back to where they were.
They don't understand this sudden shift in your behavior, why you now don't want to text all day and aren't calling every night.
They get anxious, and they call you out on it. And you can't talk to them about it. You can't go from planning your future with someone one day to telling them you aren't sure the next.
Whirlwind romances put way too much pressure on everything, way too quickly.
So, you pull away gradually, getting more and more freaked out with every display of emotion from the other person.
And then, you end it, citing any reason you can think of as an excuse but never declaring the cold, harsh truth that you simply just lost interest because it was all too intense.
And I'm not doing it again. I've been a martyr to it one too many times.
I love the excitement; I love getting carried away with it all. But it's time to take a more pragmatic approach.
The realest love I ever had was with a work colleague I was friends with for a very long time before either of us revealed we had feelings.
We spent time together and those feelings grew organically. That's what I want again, and that's what we should all look for.
But for now, if you can handle the whirlwind romances, just go with it.
One day — and hopefully sooner than I did — you'll figure out they probably aren't going anywhere.