We’ve seen it within the realms of celebrity relationships, courtships that zoom from zero to 60, only to come to a screeching halt just as quickly.
A perfect example is the “swift romance” of British actor Tom Hiddleston and singer Taylor Swift. In June, photos surfaced of the two as a couple. Within a month, they had not only met one another’s parents, but were taking vacations together to Australia and Italy; all the while, their romance was being chronicled online by the paparazzi. But then, by month three, their relationship had catastrophically derailed.
These “fast-track” relationships are not exclusive to the rich and famous, but seem to be quite prevalent among us ordinary folk as well. Celebs, of course, gain maximum publicity from these “crash and burn” relationships that help to promote their next film, album or television show. However, it is difficult to see how relationship experiences of that nature benefit the average person.
But for those of us normal, everyday people, what is the allure of the swift romance, and why are these super-speedy courtships suddenly so common?
Marital therapist Andrew G Marshall, author of I Love You But I’m Not in Love With You, says being able to easily express our likes and dislikes via social media has led to the world as a whole speeding up when it comes to dating and coupling. We have a need for instant gratification: if we like something, give us more, and right away! Then, when we tire of something or dislike it, we just turn off, tune out and disappear.
The emergence of a dating culture that involves the use of websites and smartphone apps has also contributed to this sense of immediacy. There is pressure to move quickly when it comes to relationships, because if one doesn’t seize the moment, someone else will be ready to swoop right in and claim your spot before you’ve had a chance to ‘swipe right or left.’
Of course, sometimes two individuals meet and know instantaneously that they are meant for each other. The couple quickly becomes committed and, as luck would have it, they are able to spend the rest of their lives in happily-ever-after mode. But for most of us, a swift romance vanishes as quickly as it appears.
Here are just a few reasons why jumping headlong too quickly into a romance can bring it to a screeching halt.
1. There’s no time to get to know one another
Thoroughly getting to know and understand another person takes time. When we first meet someone and are attracted to them, we tend to wear rose-colored glasses. That blurred vision prevents us from seeing the true colors of the other person. It is only by spending time with him or her that we are able to take a deeper look into their true self.
2. Makes you seem codependent
Becoming attached too quickly robs us of our independence, gives us a false sense of security, and sets us on a path of believing that we couldn’t possibly find happiness if we had to go it alone.
3. Lowers our standards
Just because someone pays attention to us doesn’t mean they are “The One.” Knowing what we are seeking in a partner, setting a high bar and having the ability to set boundaries gives us a chance at relationship success from the outset.
4. We’re not living in the real world
A swift romance can be, and often is, just a fantasy. Just as no one is perfect, no relationship is perfect, either. So keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground even when our head is in the clouds will enable us to be more realistic about our new love interest. We’ll be better able to view the pros and cons objectively.
5. Sex too soon clouds our vision
Speaking of clouds, becoming intimate with someone too soon can alter our judgment and put physical intimacy at the top of our list of priorities when there is actually so much more to consider about a person. Just because there is an amazing physical connection doesn’t mean that that person is a long-term partner or marriage material.
A solid, long-lasting relationship is an investment. Both you and your potential partner owe it to one another to take the necessary time to get to know each other in a variety of ways and situations. If you are truly in search of a committed relationship, be aware of the pressures of the new crash and burn dating culture. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts. Opt instead for the type of old-fashioned courtship that allows each of you time to gain a deep understanding of the other. Develop a solid attraction for the person as a whole. Otherwise, if you settle for fantasy, that island may just turn out to be a mirage.