I didn’t love Dolly Alderton’s book “Everything I Know About Love” (how ironic!) but I found some relatable parts, for instance, when the author realised that she was mistaking intensity for intimacy. Her being drawn to fast paced relationships clearly wasn’t going to lead to a happily ever after: one guy proposed to her at the airport after pretty much a one night stand, another guy wanted to fly her to a different country after a few weeks of hectic texting (yes, they’ve never met in person).
I was tempted into similar liaisons with hopes of great future more than once. Similarly like the author I felt that it was an all-involving relationship I needed and I should focus on getting it instead of fixing actual problems in my life.
Intensity Can Be Fun… But Context Matters
If you’re looking for a holiday romance, intensity can be amazing. Imagine you come to Thailand on your own and you end up travelling with an amazing backpacker from Australia, who you’re having mind-blowing sex with. Saying goodbye is bitter-sweet because you’ve fantasised about your future together for a day or two but then you’ve realised you have a life to get back to and the guy is just a cool memory to have. No one (apart from hectic prudes) will tell you there’s anything wrong with a little bit of healthy lust. Being open to adventures is what makes holiday romance cool, especially when you’re unattached.
Similarly, when you’ve just ended a long relationship maybe you don’t want to jump into the next one straight ahead. Rebound can be necessity and if this means that you’ll stay over someone’s place for a whole weekend for an extended one-night stand, there’s also nothing wrong with that.
What if you just feel like you want some action because you’ve been on a sex drought for a while or you just want to have some fun? Be my guest. As long as you stay aware of the fact that there’s a difference between being lost in lust and in love, it’s all good.
When Intensity Is A Red Flag
The reason why so many intensity-driven romances happen on holiday, during the rebound phase or when you’re feeling bored or confused is because these are the moments in your life when you’re not grounded. You’re looking for something that can draw you in and change everything or at least let you forget about everything.
As a rule a person looking for a full-time, all-involving romance is looking for a distraction because they’re not happy with where they’re at. That means that if a guy sees you for the first time on Monday and wants to see you on Tuesday and Wednesday too it’s not because you’re so amazing. Sure he must like you but he’s mainly trying to fill the void. Similarly, if a girl is always available to meet you, I’m smelling trouble.
There can be two main reasons why a person could be so available. Option 1 is that they literally have no life. Maybe they have a job but as a Billy No Mates have no friends, maybe they have no interests, maybe they don’t even work. In any case, a LOT of free time is a red flag.
Option 2 is that they don’t have a lot of free time but they’re ditching everything for you. While everyone will understand occasional flaking on a friend when you’ve started seeing a really cool person, a drastic change of plans for someone you’ve just met is a bad sign. It may be an indicator of low self-esteem or simply a lack of relationship maturity of someone who thinks that it’s healthy to let a partner be literally their everything.
I know we like to think that the reason why a person would want to see us all the time is because we’re amazing. I’m sure you are! But just think about it. What you know after the first few hours or a date or two is “This person is really cool, I’d like to see more of them”. If they want you around all the time instantly, it’s not about you being amazing, it’s about them trying to ground themselves by entering a relationship ASAP.
What’s Wrong With Intensity, Really?
The person going for intensity will expect from you spending all the time together, ditching friends, moving in together ASAP… or not. They may simply want you to be available on demand as if they weren’t someone who just appeared in your life but a person with whom you’ve had a long history that could justify an out of the blue neediness.
Whatever the case, if you’re worried that saying “no” to them may mean the end of it you may be right. Isn’t it proof though that it’s ultimately not about you, or even the connection between the two of you but about them desperately looking for something?
I think we would all agree that any reasonable person should be okay with an alternative. If you can’t see them on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday should be acceptable. And yet, it isn’t for an intensity-driven person. They may, in fact, ditch you for someone who’s more available. Would you, however, really want a relationship with someone who’d mostly be with you because you’re available and because they’re needy? I didn’t think so.
Another problem is that such a person will still look for intensity once you guys are “settled”. The best way to get the fireworks back is by causing drama and fights. And, of course, with a person that requires your immediate attention whenever they feel like it, life won’t be easy and fights will happen often.
Last but not least, easy come, easy go. The relationships that start with an immediate boom are likely to end in a blink of an eye too. You may even end up ghosted as I was once…
Exception To The Rule…Is An Exception
I’ve recently watched an old rom-com on the plane “He’s Just Not That Into You” and it’s surprisingly clever. As one of the characters was explaining to his female friend, women love to believe that they’re an exception to the rule. I’d argue that men too but the point is that we all like to be special, different and show them all.
So yes, there must be someone in the world who moved in with their partner after date one and they lived happily ever after but in most cases this is not how such rushed decisions end (in fact, there’s a danger you could be dealing with a cock lodger).
You can either be realistic or choose wishful thinking, in any case, the results of your actions are unlikely to be best case, statistically improbable, scenario.
Intensity-Seeker Vs Real Deal
Okay, so all that I’ve said is true but one needs to be careful not to attribute intensity seeking qualities to someone who’s a Real Deal. The fact is that really good relationships with people who are compatible also progress fast. So how to know the difference? Here’s a list of suggestions and red flags:
- Say “no” to a suggested date, offer them an alternative and see how the person reacts. If they get fussy, pushy or go quiet, let them go.
- How quickly is the person trying to get into your pants? A lot of intensity-seekers are trying to have sex with people as soon as possible not so much to just get laid but more to establish a semblance of intimacy. Real Deal will lust for you more respectfully.
- Does a person talk a lot about your connection and how similar you are after a date or two? To the point that you need to silence your inner voice telling you that they don’t really know you?
- Are they making crazy future plans that feel sort of nice but are actually unrealistic? This is a tough one because making plans with you in mind is usually a good sign but think a day trip versus traveling together next year after date 3.
- Listen to their relationship history when they’re sharing it. Look out for a repetitive narratives of moving countries/cities or changing life plans for partners they’re now bitter about.
Last but not least, when it’s right, it feels right. If you’re doubtful, proceed slowly. An intensity-seeker will move on to his next victim, while a Real Deal will stick around because fast or slow they ultimately just want you in their lives.
Have you met a lot of intensity-seekers in your life? Any good experiences such as holiday romances? Bad stories of not being on the same page? Let’s chat!