Maybe this has happened to you: You go out with someone new, and he or she starts talking about love and marriage and having children -- on the very first date! In Western cultures, at least, that's a taboo. Or maybe this person wants to jump into bed before you're ready. Sometimes it's just the opposite: you're ready and they're not. These unilateral situations aren't fun for anyone.
And then sometimes it's bilateral -- the relationship starts out normally, deepens gradually and mutually, with both partners moving at the same speed, with equal enthusiasm, and then one person abruptly puts on the brakes, and says the other person was moving too fast.
Late one night I overheard two people breaking up. They had been seeing each other for a month.
She said she felt trapped. He said this puzzled him, because he had watched her carefully, and had seen only that she was just as eager as him to get more involved. She said he should get some hobbies and stop hanging around her so much. I couldn't tell, just from listening, who if anyone was more at fault: whether she had changed her mind about him and was now shifting the blame onto him, or whether he was just inept at reading the signs and had been blindly charging forward.
(I trust I'm not embarrassing this couple by telling their story here --
these breakups happen to millions of couples every day.)
How are couples supposed to know how to behave?
Is there an ideal timetable for lovers to follow?
Can things be rushed if both partners consent, or is that unwise?
And is it really about keeping a pace and staying in step, or is it about
not getting more involved with someone who has particular flaws,
or who suddenly turns you off?
If more people would share their insights and experiences, we might all learn some important guidelines.
Maybe you can help. Please take a moment to answer the questions below.
Have you ever been in the above situation? yes
no, but I am filling in this form because
Who allegedly moved too fast?
my partner did
What signs did you see that the relationship was in trouble?
And how long had the relationship gone on before you saw these signs?
What were the reason(s) given for breaking up? (check all that apply)
I feel trapped
I don't have 24 hours a day to spend with you
I think we should see other people
You're very nice, but.... /I love you too, but....
I'm just not looking for a relationship right now
We never had a relationship -- we're just friends
This is your fault -- you shouldn't have moved so fast
Breakups are often accompanied by insults.
What insults do you remember hearing?
Did the problem occur when/because you suddenly lost feelings for your partner? yes
If yes, what did your partner do wrong? Or what caused (or preceded) this loss of feelings?
Which of these are true:
I saw my partner backing away, and so I began trying harder to make the relationship work.
In addition, my partner resented my efforts toward staying together.
I wanted to break up, but found it difficult to put my exact reasons into words.
If you were the one who wanted to break up,
what if any indirect hints did you drop, and did your partner seem to get those hints?
What happened to the relationship?
We broke up
We stayed together
What lessons should be learned from this relationship?
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