Have you ever been to the cinema to watch a film, only to be disappointed that all the best bits were in the trailer?
This blog is about that.
Rushing to the happy ending, before you’ve even started the first chapter.
With this in mind, meet my friend Laura.
Laura is amazingly efficient.
If Laura wants something done, she just does it.
In fact, if she could get something done yesterday, it would be done already.
It’s her greatest strength, but also her biggest weakness.
She’s not great at being patient. I’m not saying that she’s spoiled. She is utterly selfless and amazingly fabulous. But, she’d rather just make something happen than wait around for someone else to do it for her. This means she can always do things at her own pace – which is often super speedy fast.
It’s great to be like this if you’re auditioning for The Apprentice, but it can be quite detrimental when you’re dating
A couple of weeks ago Laura met a guy.
“It happened quite unexpectedly” Laura gleamed, as we worked our way around the Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. “I’ve had the most fun with this guy then I’ve had in a long time. I really think I’m onto something with this one”
In the hour that followed, I learnt everything there was to know about Laura’s latest PMM (potential marriage material).
His name was Scott McRyan. I had seen all of his best Facebook pictures. I knew where he worked. I knew where he lived, and where he was brought up. His favourite food. What he wore when they last met. What he wore when they first met. How he laughed. How he smiled. Who his ex-girlfriend was and why they broke up. Who his ex-ex-girlfriend was, and why they broke up. His hair colour - brown. His eye colour - green. His shoe size – 11. I even knew what turned him on….. (much to the shock of the passer-by, who clearly hadn’t expected such Freudian inspired speech to accompany his artistic observations.)
In short, it was clear Laura had put her love-mobile into first gear and thrown herself full-throttle into this latest romance.
Naturally, I was excited to meet Scott McRyan. The man who was not-so-slowly, but very surely sending Laura head over heels.
But, as someone who has been in this situation before, it was difficult not to have my doubts.
It’s my firm belief that, if something is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.
I don’t want to seem like a pessimist, if my friends are happy then I am happy. But, as any good friend, I will always do everything I can to stop them getting hurt.
Which is why it came as no surprise that on Valentine’s day I got a text from Laura.
“Can you call me please?”
Big red flag alert.
Turns out Scott wasn’t so PMM.
They had seen each other nearly every day for the past 3 weeks. They were living in each other pockets. The sex was amazing. His flatmates loved her. He was going to her Aunt’s birthday that weekend. Things had been going perfectly.
It had been just like in the movies. A couple meet, you instantly just know that they are ‘the one’ and that marriage, kids and eternal bliss are just a heartbeat away.
Until last weekend.
“We went out for a few drinks at some local bar” Laura explained as we tucked into our two favourite men – Ben and Jerry.
“We were each buying in the rounds, and this was only round 2. So we weren’t even drunk” She worryingly sighed.
“I had gone to the bar to buy his usual pint of Fosters, and a Strawberry Daiquiri for me. It was a Saturday night so the place was busy” Laura innocently remarked “Whilst I was stood there, the guy next to me made a move”
Now, any 20-something girl will know, if you are stood at a busy bar on your own, you are pretty likely to be chatted up. For a guy, it’s an easy opener and a good way to kill time.
Laura enjoyed their delightful little bar chat, but had made it quite clear that she was there with her boyfriend and had no interest in anyone else.
Which is why the next few moments were so SHOCKING!
Before you could say “let’s get ready to rumble”, Scott had turned up.
“You alright mate?” he said, like a bulldog ready to bite.
According to Laura, it all happened in a flash. Drinks went flying, punches were thrown, and Laura was caught in the middle, like a rabbit in the headlights.
As 3 bouncers dragged Scott out of the bar, Laura looked mortified at the blood down his white shirt.
He had looked so attractive when he first put it on. Like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Now he looked more like Hannibal Lector.
Once outside, Laura hailed down a taxi, as Scott launched into a tirade of abuse. In his eyes, she had deliberately flirted with that guy to annoy him. She had shown him no respect. She had wanted to make him jealous.
As she closed the Taxi door, Laura knew she was closing her relationship with him.
It turned out Scott wasn’t the man she wanted him to be.
Scott wasn’t her happy ending.
“I feel so stupid” Laura cried as we reached the bottom of the chunky monkey extra-large tub. “I thought he was the one. I was certain this time.”
“You shouldn’t feel bad” I reassured her. “He is the idiot, not you. And you deserve much better”
“I know, but I have spent the past 3 weeks telling everyone how amazing he is, only it turns out, he wasn’t that great” Laura wiped the tear from her cheek.
“Don’t worry. We’ve all been there before” I hugged her, and tried to pick up the pieces Scott had broken.
It’s true. We’ve all done this.
Maybe we haven’t been out with a violent jealous maniac like Scott. But, we’ve all met a guy and immediately rushed into ‘is he the one?’ mode.
It’s only natural to have butterflies when you first meet a guy.
But it’s one thing to really like someone and another to throw yourself at him.
It’s the difference between showing a guy the trailer and giving him the whole movie, before he’s even bought a ticket to see the film.
I’m not saying things should move at a snail’s pace, but they shouldn’t progress really really fast either.
When I first met my now best friends, we were at secondary school together. I didn’t know that 13 years later I would be so close to them. In fact, all of my friends became friends over time. We hung out. We had things in common. We hung out more. We laughed, we joked, we enjoyed each others company, and over time, you’ve made a new friend.
This is how you should approach things when you meet a guy you like.
Things should progress at a comfortable speed.
I’m not preaching about the ridiculous ‘wait until the 4th date’ rule. This blog isn’t about that. I’m a firm believer that sex is sex, you should do it when you feel comfortable. If that means sleeping with him on the first night, that’s fine. If that means waiting until you’re married, that’s fine too. Sex is entirely your prerogative, it should be done on your terms – and that is an entirely different blog.
What I am talking about is not giving away your emotional soul, before you’ve even turned the first page.
Not making a guy your Superman, without seeing his Clark Kent (excuse the obvious innuendo).
In Laura’s case, she likes dating, but she is desperate to meet Mr Right.
When Scott came along, Laura was so determined to make it work, that she created a fantasy world of romantic possibilities, without ever reviewing the guy she had hung her hopes on.
Like all women, Laura she hates the uncertainty of the first few dates.
It makes us want to rush to the part where we’re certain.
It’s a woman’s natural instinct to get the answers. We hate the guessing game.
We like to know what’s going to happen and where it’s going to go.
But when it comes to relationships, in order to get the happy ending, we have to endure the beginning and middle.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t put any effort in. I am just saying you can’t push things.
Rushing into things because you’re impatient isn’t going to make it any more of a relationship then if you just take your time and see how it goes.
If something is going to end after a few dates, then it will end after a few dates. Regardless of how much you want it to work.
We need to stop heading full-speed for the happy ending, and recognise the beauty in a happy beginning.
The most beautiful place I have ever been to was Zanzibar.
What was beautiful about it? It was just still. Peaceful.
If you want a beautiful relationship, you need to learn to be peaceful at the beginning.
Just take a deep breath and look at things one day at a time, instead of creating a whole fantasy of a relationship that probably never existed to him.
Next time you meet someone you like, enjoy those butterflies he gives you. And, yes, you probably act like a complete dork when you’re near him. And yes, the flirting might be out-of-this-world.
But don’t over analyse what any of it means, and, just accept that maybe nothing will happen.
Oscar Wilde said ‘I have no expectations. I only have now.’
So, yes, you may really really like him and you probably want to spend more time with him, but just start by enjoying the getting-to-know-eachother stage.
Stop worrying about whether he likes you as much as you like him? Stop trying to work out his game plan?
Honestly, at this stage there’s no way of knowing what he really thinks.
Maybe it’s that uncertainty that forms the attraction?
The fact is that, even when all the signs are there saying ‘he’s totally interested’, the opposite can still happen.
He can still turn out to be a Scott, a Michael, a James.
So, stop looking for the signs. Stop over-analysing where your ‘relationship’ is going, and just go with the flow.
Learn to have fun. Laugh. Talk. Hang out.
Take the time to find out if he’s a real keeper.
And even if it doesn’t blossom into anything, then at the very least, you’ll have made a good friend, or got rid of someone who wasn’t worth your time.
Start your film at the very beginning.
You’re just a girl who likes a guy.