Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A friend and co-worker of mine started dating a man recently, and it soon became apparent that this was going to be an Instaboyfriend situation. Within two weeks, they were introducing each other to friends and spending entire weekends together. She was sleepy every day at work from staying up all hours of the night talking on the phone with him. He told her he felt the term "girlfriend" didn't sound serious enough to describe their relationship. At the 5 week mark they met each others' families. At week 6, he told her he's in love.

During a recent crafting session with my friend M, I related all of this to her.

"I wish that would happen to me!" she sighed.

"Me too," I agreed.

Who doesn't want to skip all the pain of dating and go straight to Instarelatioship? It sounds so appealing -- skip the questions about if they're seeing someone else, where this is heading, whether you should keep dating other people, and go straight to comfortable commitment. But shortly after week 6, the downside of Instaboyfriend reared its head when I came into class one day to find my co-worker looking depressed and exhausted.

"I think we're breaking up," she whispered to me as soon as the kids were busy with their work. She surreptitiously peeked at her phone to check for text messages from him. "He told me he wants kids, but now he says he's not sure. He's not sure he wants kids, AND he's not sure he wants them with me."

I've experienced Instaboyfriend situations many times at this point, both personally and through friends. Several Instaboyfriends ended up as good, solid husbands. My high school boyfriend's parents married after they had known each other for just a few weeks, and they still seem very happy. One friend introduced a boyfriend of two weeks to me as her "partner;" six months later they were married, and not long after that came Instadivorce. La Moustache was my Instaboyfriend, who told me just a few weeks in that he could see us getting married. Apparently, this was much harder to envisage several years later.

After that experience, I took things very slow with Dreamy. We didn't exchange "I love yous" until we had known each other for 6 months, and every step we took was slow and deliberate. And in the end it didn't matter; our relationship didn't have a very solid base despite our caution.

Now I have a bit of an Instaboyfriend situation on my hands again. Doctor O is making it clear that he likes me, a lot. He pulled his online dating profile two days after we first kissed, giving as his explanation that he doesn't want distractions from work. He showers me with compliments and tells me that he likes me and feels good with me. He's a divorcé who's a few years older than me, and he's very open about how much he wants to remarry and have kids. I'm not gonna lie: I like being wooed in this way. Because I like him a lot, too.

All of this is making me wonder, how fast is too fast? Is it an automatic red flag when someone wants things to move quickly? Was my co-worker making a mistake by allowing herself to get swept off her feet? Did I end in that quagmire with Moustache because I let things go too quickly, or because he was a master of deception? I don't have answers to all these questions, but my conclusion is that it's a personal decision. Of course feelings are tenuous after a few weeks, but that doesn't mean they won't morph into something more real and solid. (If they're the kind of person who meets people frequently they feel that way about, that probably IS a red flag.) Dating means putting yourself on the line, and no matter how you go about it, there's always the possibility of failure and hurt. That said, there is such a thing as too fast for ME, and I've made it clear to Doctor O that I'll go at a speed I'm comfortable with. I declined his invitation to go out on a second date two days after our first, and my dating profile is still active. And I'm also eagerly awaiting our next date.

In the end, my co-worker and her beau had a lot of long, difficult conversations and decided to stick things out. He's in therapy. She's thrilled and glowing again. I'm crossing all my fingers and toes for her that things work out. Maybe it's the romantic in me, but I think there's a good chance it will.

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