Driving home from the beach on an August night, my friend Kelsie and I excitedly talked about our romantic interests—Kelsie fresh off a first date, and me, giddy about a new prospect.
In the span of just a few weeks, we both went on a series of dates with these new beaus, completely swept away by our whirlwind romances. We were thrilled to be seemingly starting the type of relationships we’ve both been anxiously awaiting.
But not all things are meant to last and as Summer turned to Fall, my romance confusingly came to a screeching halt. Days later, so did Kelsie’s. Both of us were left reeling, feeling dizzy, misled and angry.
However, through sadness, we can find answers, clarity and ultimately, peace. We are able to see the the red flags we ignored, the feelings we brushed aside and uncover valuable lessons we can carry with us into future relationships.
Here are six important lessons we learned from our whirlwind romances.
1. Pace the relationship.
It’s easy to get swept off our feet when he engages in typical “boyfriend behavior.” We found ourselves constantly smiling at text messages, bubbling with excitement when he talked about future plans and feeling butterflies during cuddle sessions. We happily perceived these actions as confirmation that we were on the road to relationship-ville.
The fast-paced trajectory of a whirlwind romance is thrilling and consuming. However, we learned that it’s not always sustainable.
Next time, we plan to take more control and pace the relationship ourselves. Before assuming or getting too far ahead of ourselves, we plan to have an honest conversation with our partners to make sure we’re on the same page. We learned that maintaining a healthy emotional distance is the way to go.
2. Pay attention to your feelings.
Why haven’t I heard from him? Is he still interested? I can see he read my text, but why hasn’t he responded? All of these questions and more flooded our brains once we sensed the spiralling of our romances, but the voice that spoke volumes was the overwhelming anxiety we felt.
The beginning of a relationship should be light and breezy. Sure, natural nerves are normal, but the primary feeling of a new relationship should be excitement! Insecurity and anxiety are feelings that merit attention and reflection. We now know to trust our intuition. There is a voice that doesn’t use words—and we plan to listen to it!
3. Find a physical and emotional connection.
It’s easy to be confused into thinking a new courtship is on the road to a full-blown relationship because of an electric physical connection. Yes, chemistry is important, but remember that it’s not the only thing a successful relationship needs.
Our judgement was clouded by an exciting and intense physical connection. When it comes to intimacy, things can get complicated—one person may perceive this type of connection as the start of something wonderful, while the other may see it as something purely physical.
Lao Tzu said, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” In our next relationships, we won’t be afraid to slow things down physically to ensure that an emotional connection is also present.
4. Out of sight, out of mind.
Social media has made relationships (and more specifically, relationships ending) 1,000 times more difficult. With the click of a button, we are privy to a complete update on that person’s world.
So, what’s to be done? Purge. Unfollow. Unfriend. Delete.
Here’s what we know now: obsessing over what the person is doing on social media is akin to torturing ourselves. Re-reading cute text messages makes us feel sad. The answer for us is simple, yet challenging: unfollow their social channels and delete those texts.
Out of sight, out of mind is a real thing. This step is both painful and cathartic, but it’s only when it was done that we were able to move on without constant reminders of what might have been.
5. Own the end and forgive.
In order to move on, we had to accept the new reality of the end and find a way to release our disappointment. Although brief, the impact of our whirlwind romances was shattering. We agreed that the time spent together doesn’t necessarily equate to the amount of emotional energy we expended on these men.
Even after accepting the end, we still struggled with all sorts of lingering emotions, including nostalgia, anger and shame. In order to renew our emotional stability, we realized the necessity to forgive the other person. We learned that sometimes we have to forgive not because they deserve our forgiveness, but because we deserve the peace that comes with forgiving and letting go.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…” An ending is the perfect opportunity to reflect. When we reflected, we were clearly able to see red-flag worthy behaviors and an idealization of a relationship that wasn’t actually there.
During our exciting, yet stressful Summer romances, a good friend of ours reminded us of the following, “You deserve to be with someone who adores you. The right person will not hesitate to be with you.” In our hearts, we knew she was right. And we knew these relationships were wrong. We decided to think of our whirlwind romances as previews of fulfilling feature-length relationships, coming soon.
Sometimes you have to forget what you think you want and remember what you deserve. And you deserve something more—something deeper and more meaningful than a whirlwind relationship. Don’t settle for anything less than that.
Have you ever been in a whirlwind relationship? What lessons did you learn from your experience?
Authors: Jessica Lawlor & Kelsie Strunc
Editor: Katarina Tavčar