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Falling in love too fast?
By Mark Miller
I have a confession to make: Not only do I not have the typical male problem of an inability to commit to a romantic relationship — I seem to have the exact opposite syndrome. You see, I commit way too often and too easily.
Say I’m on a coffee date that appears to be going well. The woman is attractive, the conversation intelligent, entertaining and flowing smoothly. You might think she’s interested in me. I certainly do. What I’ve come to realize about this sort of encounter is that she may or may not be interested in a second date. She could simply be enjoying a pleasant first meeting, and if I pursue anything further, I can pretty much be guaranteed some version of “You’re a great guy. It was really nice meeting you, but I just wasn’t feeling the magic/chemistry/spark/mojo.”
How fast can I fall?
Meanwhile, I’m oblivious. Before we even get to dessert, my mind is hard at work. I’m planning not just our second date, but also booking her for events up to six months down the line, introducing her to my friends and family, picking out towels and dinnerware, and, of course, in the ultimate grand gesture of imagined mutual love — purchasing adjoining gravestones with lyrics of “our song” on each. The song, naturally — “‘Til There Was You.”
I started thinking hard about why I fall in love so rapidly, and I think it’s part of my optimistic nature. I see my bed as half full rather than half empty. But I knew I was going to have to stop being so naïve, stop wearing my heart on my sleeve, stop making assumptions about what’s simply a pleasant one-time encounter.
On my next date, I decided to try something new. But it wasn’t easy. At coffee with a woman named Kathy, it took no more than five minutes for me to check off the all-important attributes she had: smart, funny, attractive, interesting, fun. Naturally this triggered the part of my brain that transports me to Nordstrom’s to pick out our sheets. I wondered whether we should use an Arial or a Times New Roman font on our wedding invitations. That’s when the alarm went off and I tried to force myself to stop.
To do so, I engaged in what Method actors refer to as Sense Memory. I recalled my marriage — how it started (a comedic series) and what it became (a canceled drama). I flashed forward my relationship with Kathy to the point that we’re both fed up with one another and want out. This slowed my libido way down. I immediately dropped the bed sheets, walked out of Macy’s and settled into a more reasonable, mature perspective: Kathy is a lovely woman with whom things may or may not work out for the long term. We’ll just have to see. My marriage may have failed, but its lessons will help me succeed.
Breaking the “too much, too soon” syndrome
So, what can I offer you, fellow post-divorce dating rapid-lovers? How about my Ten Post-Divorce Dating Commandments:
I. Thou shalt focus on the present (which is real), not the future (which is all in your head).
II. Thou shalt slow down. Way down.
III. Thou shalt not let feelings in thy sexual parts overrule those in thy thinking parts.
IV. Thou shalt not assume the object of thy desire feels the same about thee.
V. Thou shalt not introduce her/him to thine parents/friends/children/neighbors/boss/coworkers within the first month of meeting her/him.
VI. Thou shalt not purchase expensive gifts for her/him within the first month of meeting her/him.
VII. Thou shalt not end thine memberships on online dating services within the first month of meeting her/him.
VIII. Thou shalt not suggest dating exclusivity within the first week of meeting her/him.
IX. Thou shalt not utter the words “I love thee” during the first month of meeting her/him.
X. If he/she chooses to end the brief “relationship,” thou shalt refrain from anything resembling a nervous breakdown.
So the next time you see me, if I mention I’m in love, ask me how long I’ve been seeing her. If it’s less than a month, slap my face and shout, “Snap out of it!” You have my permission.
Mark Miller, a writer and stand-up comedian, has written for numerous sitcoms and once worked as a humor columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org