A friend went on The Best Date Ever. Originally scheduled as a lunchtime meet, it lasted all day and into the night. The following day she said it felt like they’d known each other for weeks instead of hours. She never heard from him again.

Another friend met a guy who she was half-heartedly interested in. He kept trying to pick up the pace of things and after some initial reluctance she let herself get swept up in it and started to trust him and her feelings increased. A weekend in the country, romantic walks in the park, lots of phone calls and texts, and then being introduced one night to his friends and colleagues who all said they’d never seen him like that, all in the space of a few weeks. It was the last time she saw him.

I have countless emails from readers telling me stories of guys (and women) who moved the initial dating period along at high speed. From declarations of falling in love and ‘I love you’ when they’d barely known them a hot minute, conversations about babies, marriage, moving in, meeting parents and being whirled around like a show pony amongst friends, or hearing about how ‘Everyone is so eager to meet you’, to high intensity liaisons with persistence, great sex, average sex, and multiple phone calls, texts, emails, and letters in a bottle, all of these people have been whizzed at high speed through the early crucial stage of dating.

It’s called Fast-Forwarding and it’s a technique where someone sweeps you up in a tide of intensity when they’re pursuing you and you’re dating them that you end up missing crucial red flags.

They either disappear when they start to feel panicky about the fact that you will want, need, and expect in line with the great show they have been putting on. Or…they just revert to the ‘real them’, ripping the rug from under your feet and replacing hot with cold and someone who you barely recognise.

Fast-Forwarders…

– Push for emotional commitment and often sexual intimacy very quickly

– Make you feel like the centre of their universe

– Distract you from looking too closely at them

– Can be emotionally demanding

– Refer to the types of plans that people who have been in relationships far longer would discuss – marriage, babies, etc

– Some will introduce you to friends, family (including their kids) very quickly

– Say stuff like ‘But it feels like we have known each other for X months’ when you object to something and mention how you hardly know each other

– Can be petulant and sulky when they don’t get their own way so you quickly learn to minimise conflict

– Even though they appear to respect an asserted boundary, often quickly try to recross it

– Are very persistent when you’re not interested in them

– Will privately and sometimes openly think you’re The One pretty much immediately

– Will be eager to ‘title the relationship’ and demand commitment even when you hardly know each other

– Often have strings of high intensity short dalliances that fizzle out quickly

– Overestimate their level of interest

– Often veer between deflecting questions about themselves, oversharing, or telling lies and using selective omissionsPeople who engage in Fast-Forwarding are Future Fakers, whether they directly do it by talking up a storm about plans or do it indirectly by behaving so intensely and putting so many demands on you (emotional, sexual, wanting to be with you all the time), that they let you believe that the level of intensity you are experiencing is what is on offer. You will use a number of the things that they fast-forward you with as basis to trust them with – Trust Points.

It’s crucial to remember that dating is a discovery period. You should date with a reasonable level of trust as a basis and your interactions serve as a series of checks and balances. Positive things increase your trust, dodgy stuff should have you rolling back and assessing the risk.

Dating is a fact finding period where you should be discovering ‘facts’ that let you work out whether you can proceed, or whether you should be cautious, and/or abort the mission.

If you love and trust blindly and get sucked into being moved along at high speed, you will be blind in the relationship when you actually have a responsibility to yourself to have your eyes open.

Fast-Forwarding creates a pseudo connection. Slowing down and actually getting to know each other at a healthier pace creates a real connection.

I’ll be honest with you – while there are anomalies where people have had a whirlwind romance that progressed, in the overwhelming majority of cases, when someone wants to be intense immediately or very quickly and fast-forwards you through the relationship, it is a red flag.

In fact, let me say it real straight for you – this is not a fairy tale. You are not in Pretty Woman. You’re not in a rom com where you move at high speed to a happy ending. Also don’t you remove the mystery and stuff to look forward to when you try to do it all very quickly? Nuff said.

If you are being fast-forwarded you will miss crucial red flags that indicate that the relationship is unhealthy. Even without red flags, by Fast-Forwarding the relationship, you will both create great expectations that may stifle the relationship before it has a chance to prosper. If you took things a bit more slowly, you could actually get to know each other. The high intensity of Fast-Forwarded Relationships is impossible to sustain and when the intensity stops, it feels like you’ve crashed and burned.

The relationships that survive (healthily) are ones where the two people have slowed down but are in essence still the same two people that met and there isn’t a dramatic shift in character and integrity.

Being confident in yourself is also about believing that there isn’t a fire – you can take enough time to get to know each other without rushing to get your pants down and make big declarations.

Be careful. People who tend to fast-forward can go through their cycle in a few hours (ever met an intense person online who sent you several emails, pestered you and then disappeared?), a day, a night, a few dates, weeks, months, and in some cases, some can play the long game and draw it out for a year.

The end result is the same – the hot tap switches over to cold or if you’re ‘lucky’, lukewarm.

When you get swept up in someone Fast-Forwarding you, you will basque in the adoration. Of course when they disappear or they replace ‘the model’ you got with a pared down version, you will wonder what was wrong with you to cause the loss of adoration.

While it is very flattering when someone says they love you immediately or makes you the centre of their universe immediately, the fact of the matter is that they don’t know you enough to be sincere about it. Harsh, but true.

I’m not saying that you’re not a wonderful person, but aren’t we giving ourselves and them too much credit by believing that our libido, powers of judgement and observation and awareness of our own values are so powerful that we can tell immediately based on looks, sexual chemistry, penis size, words etc that we (or they) love someone?

Why do we allow ourselves to be fast-forwarded? Well, we don’t like to appear to be spoil sports, many of us are not aware of the perils of red flags, and we second guess ourselves. In a startling number of stories, most of these people had some, if not a lot of reservations about the very person that was fast-forwarding them. And let’s be real, it is flattering when someone seems to fancy the arse off us so much that they can’t seem to want to stop ripping off our clothes or saying we’re the best thing since sliced bread.

If these people are still around in a year or two and your high intensity dalliance yields into something more steady, then good for you.

However, the problem with people who fast-forward is that they can’t cope with steadiness. They also make the mistake of being so OTT that they create expectations that they cannot deliver on.

These people overestimate their level of interest because often the uncertainty of not knowing how you feel and needing to ‘win you over’ and ‘suck you in’, is what triggers their desire for you.

When the relationship stops being new, they’re panicking about what you may be expecting, and they’re sure of your interest, the desire loses its ‘erection’.

If you don’t hear from them again, they’ll have moved on and pressed The Reset Button with someone else…and lather, rinse, repeat. If they’re still around and things are going from bad to worse, you’ll be getting the hot and cold treatment while thinking ‘It was so great in the beginning! What happened to that guy?’ and then sinking all your efforts into trying to retrieve the beginning of the relationship.

It’s nice to feel adored and if you’re a passion seeker that tends to talk about ‘type’ ‘compatability’ ‘common interests’ ‘passion’ ‘connection’ etc, you’ll be ripe for someone to fast-forward the crap out of you and then feel desolate and inclined to go on the validation seeking trail when things start to go wrong.

If you have Fast-Forwarding habits, it’s a good time to address your beliefs and attitudes about dating because you’re setting yourself up for failure. In fact, I’d ask yourself how serious you are about finding a relationship because exerting this type of pressure so early on in the relationship not only tests the people out to see if they can meet your emotional demands, but a lot of the behaviour in Fast-Forwarded Relationships is quite unhealthy.

Why do you need to demand so much of the person and the relationship so early on? How much validation does your ego need? Isn’t this all a bit like an elaborate prank that goes way too far?

But for those of you who get swept up in someone’s tide, you can enjoy yourself but it’s time you became aware of red flags, boundaries, and matching actions with words.

You shouldn’t have to emotionally or literally commit to someone you hardly know. There is a reason why you were not interested and while sometimes we get things wrong, it’s important to assess why you weren’t interested rather than just letting yourself be swept along.

If in doubt about someone’s actions and motives, the best thing you can do is put your foot down and press ‘Play’ and see how the relationship copes at a steady pace. If it’s already over, ‘Rewind’ the relationship tape and mentally play it back and you will spot the red flags.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook on emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as the No Contact Rule and more in my bookshop.

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