Wise (wo)men say fools rush in.
I used to say fools rush in, warning of the dangers of diving headfirst into a relationship after days or weeks of knowing one another. If you start on such a lust-masked high, the only place you have to go is downhill, I'd tell my friends. Period.
Then I became a fool myself — and in a pretty major way. Somehow, I found myself in an "insta-relationship" (as in instant, not Instagram). And it's kind of amazing. In the seemingly abrupt shedding of my single status, I gained a little insight as to how this even happened (seriously, WTF), and on the fine, mind-messing line between love and lust.
Sometimes, as I've discovered, "rushing in" is far from foolish. Here's why.
1. You didn't enter the situation with a calculated agenda.
The best kinds of quick, intensely romantic situations are the type that happen unexpectedly, without warning, and are rooted in old-fashioned organic interactions as opposed to a job interview-esque date (followed by another "audition date").
The unfolding intensity feels just as organic as the moment you realized you were totally into this person right in front of you (in my case, right when I had conveniently given up hope on the Toronto dating scene). You may even fight that persistent feeling that draws you to the other until there's zero denying it (and giving into it is the best part).
2. You are in love with the person, as opposed to the idea of the person.
It's easy to fall in love with the idea of a person or relationship rather than with the actual person — it happens all the time in our young professional circles. This is especially the case if it's been a while since you've been in a relationship and you've been craving one as of late.
You may be enamored by anything from their intelligence and emotional availability, to their charm and good looks. Or you could be so stuck on the idea of a relationship and want so badly to believe it's the real deal that you convince yourself it is, ignoring all the signs (and red flags) as to why it won't work in the process.
3. You've experienced the "bad and ugly" of the other person.
The only way to be sure you're not in fact enamored by perceptions or ideals of the other person is to experience all sides of them, not simply when they're on their best behavior on date nights during the honeymoon stage. This could mean everything from witnessing them driving through traffic and the way they handle other less-than-ideal (i.e. maddening) situations, to their habits and bad moods.
Keep in mind that people have mastered the art of masking their flaws until the other person has already fallen in love with them.
4. You have the self-awareness to maturely assess the situation.
Sometimes, the combination of the right timing and a strong connection is all you need to find yourself in a sudden, passionate relationship. There's no denying that euphoric feeling. The thing is, you need to be able to reflect upon whether it's the real deal or something else, like lust, neediness, or infatuation.
Odds are, if you've been in love before, you'll be able to identify that unmistakable feeling. Not to mention, if you've been active in the dating department, you're seasoned enough to know what you want in a relationship, what you don't want, the compromises you're willing to make, and the ones you're not.
As cliché as it sounds, sometimes when you know, you can indeed know.
Without a realistic outlook and the self-awareness to properly manage the situation, you risk an intense whirlwind that usually ends as an undoubtedly emotional few-month fling. While I'm a new advocate of being a "fool rushing in," just remember to be smart about it.
This article was originally published at notable.ca. Reprinted with permission from the author.