One of our readers wrote to me last week saying "I have a friend who recently met a man who is going absolutely overboard with professing his love (after 2 dates) and giving her gifts. She's, of course, eating it up while all I see are red flags."
This is one of the questions I’m typically asked after it’s all over (which is usually fairly quickly), but not when it’s still going on. The question is commonly phrased something along the lines of "Why did he come on so strong if he wasn't interested in a committed relationship with me? Why did he pursue me like that if he didn't really want to be with me?" But in this particular case the woman in question has a beautiful friend who is looking out for her, and is concerned about the situation while it's occurring.
I have to say that I agree with her concerns. While I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule, the whirlwind love-at-first-site romance that turns into a lifelong love affair is, unfortunately, very rare. It's much more common that the intense burning flame quickly turns into a flame-out.
I've lived through it myself many times, and I've heard too many similar stories to count. How is it that he can treat us like such a princess, going almost overboard with flowers and gifts and romantic gestures, and then just disappear from our lives as soon as we’re completely smitten and ready to say I do?
There is a reason.
It’s because this is what he does best! This is what he’s all about. It’s the chase, the conquest, the prize – this is what it’s all about to him until he knows he's got you and suddenly he realizes on some level that this has become all too real and now it’s his turn to deliver on his promises and make a commitment. It’s at that point that everything starts changing. For reasons that have everything to do with him, and nothing to do with you, this is the MO of the guy who we have the hardest time understanding.
Because it doesn't make any sense. At least not to us.
You see, my beautiful friend, this guy knows all the moves, all the right things to say and do because he’s practiced this more than a few times. He may say he wants a relationship and a commitment, he may see he’s just never met the right woman before, he may say he wants exactly what you want, but the reality is, he hasn't figured out what he needs to do to make this happen, and his own insecurities give him no motivation to do anything different. He hasn't looked into what holds him back, what makes him not want to commit, what makes him fail to get past the incredible beginning of a new and exciting conquest. And he doesn't have to because we keep making it so easy for him to continue behaving like this with us!
It may help to know that your friend is not the only one who’s fallen for this type of man. Most of us loving, giving, caring, believing women have experienced him at one time or another. This type of surface relationship catches most of us off guard because it seems – he seems – too good to be true, but at the same time it feels so true. And we so want to believe it, believe in the fairytale.
And that should be our red flag.
Because the reality is, he doesn't even know who you are yet! He doesn't even know (yet) that you’re worth all this time and energy and expense this early in the relationship. And he certainly doesn't know if he's in love with you yet.
And just like you don’t even know him yet, or know if he’s worth giving any part of yourself too, yet, you need some time to spend getting to know him and who he really is, not getting caught up in all the surface things he’s doing or saying, no matter how flattering it is!
My advice to your friend would be to make sure, through all of the abdominal butterflies and fireworks, to remember what it is she's really looking for: a real guy who’s looking for a real relationship with a real woman, like her.
She can enjoy the attention from Mr. Speedy while making sure that she keeps her head clear and her eyes and ears open to reality. She can also keep things at a more realistic pace on her own terms – If he's not happy with that and disappears, then she has her answer – he wasn't the real thing after all. And she found out sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, if turns out to be the real thing, and he's proven to her that he's in it for the same reasons she is, and that he values the same things she does, he wants the same kind of commitment that she wants, then things will just keep getting better and better. Until she knows that for sure, none of the words, gifts or romantic gestures matter.
I'll finish with a short story:
I was out with one of my girlfriends on the day I met my husband, and she met a guy the same day. By the time my husband and I had arranged to get together and he picked me up for our first date, they had been together 24/7 for about a week straight, and were already planning to move in together. She told me that she knew it was the real thing, it was just so intense, so passionate, so amazing.
A month or two later, just as we were starting to get serious, their relationship was over. Now, about twelve years later, my husband and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.
Some things just can't be rushed.