It’s human nature to get swept up in the whirlwind of the excitement of a new romance, especially in the beginning. But the truth is, the only way that a *real* relationship can emerge is by giving it time to develop in a healthy way, advises our dating coach, Paige Parker.
You can’t concentrate…
You find yourself laughing for no apparent reason…
You haven’t had an appetite in days …
You are positively ecstatic to the point of being giddy.
(And this has nothing to do with drinking one too many apple martinis.)
So what could all of this mean?
You’re in love!
Or at least, you think you are…
But wait a minute!!!
Are you really?
Have you actually spent enough time with “Mr Perfect” to know for sure that he has all of the qualities you’re looking for?
Or is it possible that you’re in love with the *idea* of him?
I mean, could you really know that he is
* a good communicator
* has similar life goals and dreams and
* will treat you well
all in the span of a couple of weeks?
Of course, it’s human nature to get swept up in the whirlwind of the excitement of a new romance, especially in the beginning.
But the truth is, the only way that a *real* relationship can emerge is by giving it time to develop in a healthy way.
In the first few weeks of dating, both people are on their best behaviour. It’s virtually impossible that you’ll get a peek at any of the skeletons in his closet or see any of the red flags. (You’re too busy trying to prove how fabulous you are.)
And it doesn’t really matter – you’re both only seeing what you want to see anyway.
In my e-book “Dating Without Drama,” I describe this phenomenon called the “Infatuation Phase,” and explain exactly how to handle it.
Here’s a teaser: although it can be positively exhilarating, it can also be very *dangerous* if you’re not careful…
Case in point, this letter that I just got from a reader. Read on for a cautionary tale that will blow your mind!
Drama of the Week: “Runaway Infatuation”
Here’s a letter I received from a reader:
I’ve purchased “Dating Without Drama” and it’s a really good read. I agree with everything you’ve said and though I haven’t made most of the mistakes you discussed, I have made a big one that I’m sitting here regretting.
We didn’t make it past “the big fight.”
If you have any advice – brutal honesty – to offer please do so.
Here’s the situation:
He is a co-worker (bad already…I know). I think from the moment I laid eyes on him there was a mutual attraction.
We fought it hard for the first week or two but as he helped me get acclimated to the new place (I was the new employee by the way) we had to spend most of our 8 hours together and that, of course, helped our attraction to grow.
I was making plans for my birthday that was coming up and he asked me what I would be doing. I told him I would be coming into the city to party and go to a carnival they were having. He said he wanted to meet me.
Inside I was thinking this will be so cool because I’ll get to have a little “friend” in him outside of work. And yes the thought of kissing him ran through my mind.
So I wouldn’t have to drive I got a hotel in the city and he picked me up and had a birthday card for me. I thought that was so sweet.
He took me around to meet his closest friends. We went to the mall together to help me pick out something to wear to this fancy club he wanted to take me to later for my b-day.
In every store, we stopped and could not keep our hands off of each other. In the car, he held my hand and kissed it softly while he drove. You did catch that this was the first date right?
By the time we got back to work Monday, we were both equally experiencing the chemical reaction you described in your book as infatuation.
He didn’t waste any time letting me know that he wanted us to be exclusive and I didn’t have to ask “where is this relationship going?”.
As if seeing each other 8 hours a day wasn’t enough we had to talk and be with each other all the time. This is week one by the way, in case I’ve lost you.
We both would remark about how crazy it was how fast everything was happening. Once we were kissing goodbye as we left work and he mumbled that we could be married in a year.
Obviously, he’s not scared of commitment… although the comment scared the crap out of me I’ll admit.
In week 2 he offered to have me stay with him in the city 4 days a week at least so I would save on gas and mileage from my long commute. I said, “are you sure you wouldn’t get sick of me?” He said he would love to have me around.
So when did it all come crashing down? We decided to spend the 4th of July weekend together…of course. He told me to bring my clothes so I wouldn’t have to go back home.
We went to a really nice restaurant but got there pretty late. We got the run around on seating and whether or not the kitchen was still open. It made him very frustrated as he was extremely hungry.
I tried to remain calm to keep him calm. Eventually, we were seated and placed our orders. However, after an hour of waiting, we were informed that the kitchen had closed.
Though he sat at the table appearing calm, he’d made a statement that he would flip the table over if they came back and told us they didn’t have any food. Not knowing him that well, I was nervous and didn’t know if he would or not.
But by the time the manager came over to give all of these different excuses about why we just received the worst service in history, I was now furious! Bad customer service is my biggest pet peeve.
I decided since my baby was starving and obviously livid that I would handle the situation. The tables then turned and he was now trying to calm me down.
He began to tease me but because I had had 2 or 3 martinis and was already emotional, I took it to heart and reacted with a woman’s instinct.
Now we were arguing. By the time we got back to his apartment, I decided that I was going to show him by packing up my crap and leaving, but not before giving him a piece of my mind.
For what? I ask myself in retrospect. The real enemy was the restaurant we just left. But no, I throw my little tantrum and leave.
The next morning I had remorse and instead of calling as I should have, I sent an email. Yes, an email apologizing for my behaviour but also telling him that he wasn’t an innocent in the situation either.
He didn’t respond, didn’t call, and when I tried to talk to him about it at work he was very distant.
He said that he based the success of his relationships on the woman’s ability to handle conflict. And if we’re fighting like this, this soon, it could only get worse.
He said he can’t be stressed as he’s trying to pursue his career and he won’t allow anything in his life that doesn’t make him happy.
I am devastated!! If I wasn’t a mature, sane woman, I would think that we BOTH fell in love in 2 weeks.
I blame the alcohol for clouding my judgment. I know I would have handled that much differently if I had not had those martinis. But is he really that through with me?
If you have any advice for this very, very, very, touchy situation, please send it my way. Yes, my heart is aching but if you need to kick me in the butt with some brutally honest advice to snap me out of it, please do so. What is his deal???
Signed, Working With The Enemy”
Dating Dish Tip: The Danger of Infatuation
“Hi ‘Working’ Girl,
It sounds like, as you identified yourself in your email to me, you two were experiencing one of the most heightened cases of infatuation of all time!
And while I don’t blame you for wanting to eat-sleep-and-breathe the person with whom you’ve just made this phenomenal connection, I need to warn you that it *can* be dangerous.
As I discuss in Chapter 12 “Getting Serious” (pg. 100), in the beginning, you’re both actually spending time with the IDEA of each other, rather than the real person.
It takes time to get to know who someone really is (you even said it yourself when you described how he said he would flip the table over, and for a moment you wondered if he had the capacity to get aggressive like that because you didn’t know him that well yet).
Now I know you’ve given me permission to “kick your butt” with some brutal honesty, but I’m certainly not going to judge you for something I have so done myself in the past.
But I do believe that every negative situation in our lives can teach us an important lesson, and I think the lesson here is that the next time you feel such strong infatuation, it’s ok to enjoy those feelings of excitement but you must also try to temper the way you act on it.
Healthy, *real* relationships can only truly develop with time and care, and I guarantee that you’ll get to know “the real him” better by going on a couple of dates a week, talking on the phone, and going through a bit more of the courtship phase before getting serious.
When a guy practically asks you to move in after a week and also drops the “m” bomb (marriage), as much as we women long to hear stuff like that (it validates us, makes us feel irresistible, etc), you need to stop and recognize that this could be a red flag that you’re dealing with a very impulsive guy.
Speaking of which, that’s really where I see the problem here.
If I had to analyze what happened based on the details you provided, it seems to me that this very romantic, impulsive man (not bad qualities when used properly!) swept you up in this whirlwind of infatuation, where he basically fell in love with the *perfect* you.
Now you sound like an amazing woman to me, and I’m sure you’re pretty damn near perfect, but let’s be honest – no one is perfect. We all have our character challenges, and we certainly all have our “moments.”
Seems that things went wrong when his *perfect* woman had a less-than-perfect moment (and, by the way, I do not blame you for freaking on that waiter – at best it sounds like it was merited, and at worst, it was the martinis talking. So not your fault).
But it’s like he just couldn’t handle things getting *real* with you two. It shattered his wonderful world of infatuation, and he couldn’t stand to stick around and actually try to work things through with you.
And frankly, I’m curious to know about his past relationships.
I wonder if he’s ever been able to seriously commit to someone. If he’s looking for a woman who will be perfect all of the time, well, he’s in for a lifetime of disappointment. This woman does not exist, and I hate to break it to him, but he’s not perfect either!
Real relationships can produce that blissful, intoxicating feeling you experience in the infatuation stage, but they also require a bit of work! Every couple faces challenges that need to be overcome through healthy communication.
And since this man “pulled a Houdini” and disappeared the second you guys hit a rough patch, well, he’s clearly not strong enough for a *real* woman like you anyway!!!
Hang in there babe… the right guy is out there, and when he finds you he’s going to love every little thing about you – both perfect and not so perfect!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Your friend, Paige
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