The Fast and the Serious

The Tale of the Speed Rail

I have been fascinated by the new programme ‘It’s Love Actually’. The programme shares statistics and then clips from interviews with couples. The interviews with the couples shine light on several issues in relationships and are actually very honest and entertaining. The stats however, tell a different story…

“22% of couples fall in love after a month”

I’ve heard women say things before like they only need 5 minutes to suss out a man, or you can tell after 1 date if they are the one. What I would say all of these people have in common is this, they are all people who are looking back on their relationship trying to pin point the moment they fell in love. And let’s face it, you are kidding yourself. Of course if you are in love with the person now, you are going to feel as if you have been for the majority of your relationship and hence you will presume this happened after a time frame of say, one month.

It is comforting to know that less than a quarter of couples actually believe this (kill me now if the other 79% think it happened in less than a month). But it still makes me wonder what it is that makes someone so sure that it is love. From what I gathered, this stat was based on those who said the words “I love you” after a month. Let’s think about this logically, if they have a job or indeed do anything with their time during the week, this allows for only 4 weekends in which they could spend consecutive days in one another’s company. In relationship years, a month is less than a 12th of a year, it’s more like a day. Even if you were seeing the person every day (you most certainly should NOT have been by the way), but this is not long enough to get to know someone. PROPERLY at least.
Just the other day, I was told a story of a girl watching Made In Chelsea with her fella. It was the most recent Christmas special, the scene where Fred is in the church singing a Latin song in his usual operatic voice. All of a sudden the girl’s boyfriend breaks out into song, singing along to the lyrics that were, yes, IN LATIN as if it were the latest Olly Murs track. Her face of horror and amusement was enough to prompt his explanation that “they used to sing it at school”.  She knew he was posh, but come on.

Of course, I am not saying that you can only be in love with someone once you know what songs they sang at school (although this one should have perhaps come with a warning sticker). But I can’t help but think, this was a couple who had been together for over a year, and she had no idea he could speak a degree of Latin. What else didn’t she know about him? At this point in the relationship, nothing that would be too important hopefully. But after a month of knowing each other, there would surely be a considerable amount more that you wouldn’t know or that the person didn’t feel obliged to tell you. And this stuff is just the general trivia of a person, which in most cases wouldn’t have too much affect on how you feel about a person emotionally. But if a month isn’t long enough to know all of his siblings names, or the reason why his previous relationship failed (which p.s. should never be the topic on the menu for the first few weeks!) then there is absolutely no way a month is long enough to know a person’s true character.

I’m sure many of the romantics out there would say that as the relationship develops you just fall in love with a person more and more. The first time you say “I love you” is just the start of that. But from an entirely cyncical point of view (for a change), if you’re going to use up one of relationships greatest milestones, why not save it?

All the other firsts in a relationship are now used up relatively quickly and it is not rare for either person to feel a loss of excitement at the lack of things to look forward to. For that matter, this is why things such as marriage and children are often discussed early on, and also explains why many males often feel pressured to propose. If after 2 months you’ve had sex, said “I love you”, met the parents and been on holiday together, you can bet that you are on a speedway to moving in together and after 3 years, one of you is starting to feel like you’ve not moved for 2 years and 10 months, which HELLO you haven’t really, and whose fault is that?!

Everyone just needs to slow down and enjoy the pit stops along the journey of your road trip. Sure, you may have a destination in mind, but remember, once you’ve reached it the only place to go from is the beginning, and the chances are, you’ll have someone else front-seat driving.

Using all the ingredients you have at once may make a good cocktail, but in a relationship, it’s a fast lane to the hangover.