Serial monogamy is a thing. Some of us hop from serious commitment to serious commitment, which leave a trail of broken promises and codependency in their wake. Perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but you get the picture. Why do some of us jump into devotion while others spend months or even years in solitude between? Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author whose most recent work is The Dang Factor, has a few professional opinions on the matter.
To put it frankly, Afont says, “The reality of choosing to enter into a committed relationship at lightning-fast speed is really a crapshoot.” While we don’t want to discourage successful stories of love at first sight, or the whole “when you know, you know” sentiment, we do want to get real. We promise we aren’t cynics. But the proof is in the stats.
“Decisions made during the honeymoon phase of the relationship, when endorphins and best behavior are at the forefront, quickly wear off, and the ‘real’ person you have committed to shows up. ‘Relationship rush’ is often the reason for the majority of breakups within the first year of a relationship.” But is it just the endorphins we’re chasing? Why else do we do it?
“Several factors play a key role in our decisions to rush into commitment. Sometimes, the rush is attributed to nothing other than complete physical and sexual attraction to your newfound love. Oftentimes, the rush to love is based on the fact that the new couple had been platonic friends for many years and feel comfortable taking it to the next level so quickly. Or, maybe, both parties are just sick and tired of dating and want to give love a shot and fast forward to marriage and babies.
Other less compelling reasons to hastily commit, which offer minimal success rates, include:
• Dysfunctional family dynamics whereby a father or mother figure is needed as a partner to compensate for a lack of parental presence growing up.
• A rebound relationship where there is no breathing period between a breakup or divorce and the new love interest. Rebounds are used to distract from the pain of a previous breakup.
• Trying to prove family and friends wrong about their opinion of your new love.
• Filling the gap of loneliness.
• Panic that we may never find anyone.
• Low self-esteem whereby your partner defines your feelings of self-worth.
• Some people simply cannot be alone and need a partner, regardless of true compatibility.
• One or both partners has very limited relationship experience or prospects and jumps at the chance for love.
• A fear that ‘if I don’t commit right away, I could lose this person.’
The maternal time clock and the pressure to start a family by a certain age.
• Bumble Burnout and Tinder Tired. In some cases, both parties have been looking for so long for a satisfying relationship and have gone on countless bad dates with countless bad outcomes. At that point, when a semi-possible connection does come along, they are ready to quickly commit and be dating app-free.”
But Afont is no cynic, either. “The key, of course, is to give the relationship a reasonable amount of time to find its way. As long as your core values are met in the beginning, there is certainly no harm in giving love a shot at high speed. For relationship success, however, it is important to know when to end the relationship or slow things down if your dream partner is not all that dreamy after all.”
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