I’ve come to realise that we’re all living with a terrible affliction, a curse of the modern age that infects almost every walk of life. It’s called The Lure Of The Instant. In the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury, we want it all … and we want it now.
If it isn’t delivered today, we’re not interested. We want music now. Books now. Films now. Our favourite TV shows now. Download speeds must be superfast, fast food faster and a quick buck easier to make.
The days when we sent our photos off to Boots and waited a week for them to come back seem almost prehistoric. Getting online through a dial-up connection that took ten minutes to deliver the world to our screen ridiculous. Using mail order to get a CD delivered preposterous (and what the hell is a CD anyway, right?)
And this malaise, this creeping and often malevolent virus also contaminates our romantic lives. Think not? Two words: speed dating.
Back in the day we could be waiting months for a messenger arriving on a horse to deliver a love-letter — nowadays there is a tendency to start getting seriously twitchy if the double blue ticks on Whatsapp haven’t been acknowledged within ten minutes.
The ways to contact someone are myriad and near-infinite and technology has turbo-boosted the pace at which relationships start. And unfortunately that also means our anxiety levels are superheated, too.
How our junk food mentality of modern society affects your romantic stress levels all depends really on what you are looking for. You can have incredible nights, weeks and months with people, but I believe problems occur when we mistake intensity for intimacy.
That heady, yet judgement-clouding triumvirate of sex, alcohol and fantasy-about-the-future can see your common sense, not to mention your wisdom and intuition, dancing their way merrily through a sea of red warning flags and straight out of the side-exit.
That’s not to say good things cannot be easy and flow well – I believe that’s a good sign; it’s more that if you’re looking for a life partner rather than another kamikaze love affair (especially if you have previous in this area) or you just want to step off the merry-go-round of over-before-it-started-flings then it’s wise to take it more s-l-o-w-l-y.
We are drip-fed (perfume advert anyone?) a steady diet of a story of happily ever afters based on style-over-substance chemistry explosions and little else.
Love is where both men and women can abandon themselves by getting so intoxicated that they are blinded to behaviour they would never tolerate from friends, co-workers, family members etc. and I’m afraid that if you continue to abandon yourself (saying yes when you mean no, ignoring uneasy feelings about someone’s behaviour, neglecting self-care, friends and other commitments to see someone every single night of the week because that’s what they want) you will continue to crash.
Who are you actually giving your heart to? Do you know? If you don’t – and the majority of us can’t honestly insist we do in the first flush of romance – then you need to find out. And that, in my opinion, takes time. Most of us are dating ‘adverts’ for the first few weeks anyway!
If you’ve started something and you feel like you are getting swept along too fast – and we all know and understand that it’s the easiest thing in the world to get carried away – then it’s absolutely your prerogative to set the pace and slow it down to establish a healthier footing so that you can work out what is right and wrong for you.
Because if you don’t, then the wise old voice of your intuition is likely to be lost in the roar of your emotional afterburners. We need to at least go slow-ish to able to listen to our intuition.
One of the main things our single clients come in with at Zoe Clews & Associates when they are looking to work on relationships is a ‘checklist’ of everything they want in a suitable partner.
But checklists that are a long list of physical attributes and worldly accomplishments mean nada if you have failed to establish the fundamentals:
1. Are they available?
2. Are they saying all the right things but actually not following through in their actions?
3. Do your values align?
These aren’t just questions we can ‘ask’ of someone on a first date, these are things we need to observe over time.
I’m not here to put the dampener on romance – love is absolutely the most wonderful thing in the world, and I’m all for following your heart. But just be absolutely certain to take your brain with you.