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With the excitement of Christmas and New Year well and truly dissipated, and pandemic restrictions seemingly being phased out, singles are ready to get back on the dating scene and find (potentially) The One.
New research from dating app happn shows over one third of 18- to 34-year-olds are looking for love in 2022, and there’s certainly something in the air when we look towards celebrities for dating inspo.
Whether it’s Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s sudden sexually-charged partnership, or younger sister Kim and her unexpected dalliance with Pete Davidson, or even Megan Fox and her bizarre blood-drinking antics with new fiancé Machine Gun Kelly, some of the world's biggest stars are falling headfirst into whirlwind romances.
A newfound love affair that sweeps you off your feet certainly may sound exotic, enticing and sexy – but the intensity of such a sudden romance often leads to heartbreak, says psychotherapist Sally Baker, with some elements of romantic relationships could even appear to be emotionally abusive in some cases.
“Whirlwind romances can appear quite similar to lovebombing, and lovebombing is a way of adding and bringing confusion to someone, making someone feel on the backfoot or off-balanced,” Sally explains to Tyla.
“You’re not thinking clearly or having any great clarity.”
For those that are uncertain, love bombing is when someone piles on affection and grand gestures of love early in on a relationship in order to win their partner’s love and trust with the intent of manipulation and control.
This can include being lavished with gifts, being in constant contact with one another, neediness and a lack of boundaries.
While not all whirlwind romances may show hallmarks of lovebombing, Sally urges those caught up in a fast-paced relationship to trust any intuition they have that things may not be right.
“If you start hiding things from your friends about what’s happening in your relationship, that’s a red flag,” she says, “These are people whose opinions your trust. If you’re not sharing implicit information about certain aspects of your relationship, it’s because there’s a part of you that feels uneasy about the intensity of the whirlwind. If you were comfortable with it all, you’d share it.”
The power of hindsight, when you’re away from the eye of the storm you find yourself caught up in, can also be revealing about elements of your relationship that are problematic.
“We often look back on whirlwind romances, and things that we appreciate at the time we can now give pause for and we may think: ‘wow, that’s odd,’” Sally says. “That’s the thing you’re not meant to have ignored.”
Another defining factor that makes whirlwind romances so volatile is the lack of solid foundations in which to build upon, with Sally blaming “lust at first sight” for perhaps overriding our senses.
“Whirlwind romances are built on pheromones,” she says. “That attraction chemical has a finite life and can wear off.
“When a relationship is based purely on attraction, it can lead to problems later down the line when that ‘honeymoon period’ has died out.
“To make your relationship sustainable, you need to be be laying down firmer foundations, so when the pheromones are depleted, you’ve replaced that with a lot more stability – shared experiences and values.
“Otherwise, when that initial attraction has rubbed off, you might find out you don’t have that much in common, and that you don’t even like the person that much or what they stand for. “
Sally adds: “The initial throes of a whirlwind romance are just not sustainable long term.
“Being swept up in this maelstrom of near obsessional levels where all you can think about is them can be very seductive and exciting, and that’s why it’s hard to free yourself from such a whirlwind.”
So what if you’re caught up in a whirlwind romance and you want things to slow down? Well, there are ways to stop your relationships hitting burn out while still in the early stages.
“It’s important you’re honest about your feelings and avoid any game-playing.” Sally says.
“Just pull away and say you’re not around for the next few weeks and have a break.
“It’s important to tell your partner that truth that you feel you’re moving too fast and you want things to slow down.
“If they override you and don’t honour what you’re saying and don’t understand you need a break, that’s a warning sign that your needs aren’t going to be heard later.”
Sally continues: “This is the early stages of a relationship where your partner should be at the most receptive to what you need. "So if they cant hear, adapt and modify at this whirlwind stage, then it doesn’t bode well for your relationship down the line.”
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