Why can't I have a serious relationship

When is it a relationship? How I left my relationship status undefined

There are things in my life that I take my time with: for example when I cook, on long walks or when it comes to paying my rent. I rush everything else. When cleaning, I rush through the apartment, which is why my floor is never really clean. I rush through the supermarket and only notice at my doorstep that I've forgotten the damn milk again. And, worst of all, I fall head over heels into relationships. For most of my adult life so far, I've dated at a teenage pace: I get to know someone, we have a first date, then another, and at the latest after the third, I look for a vacation home on Airbnb for weekend getaways in the countryside and wonder if his mother already knows about me. (Does not she.)
In my first three relationships, this pace served me well: I was still in school on my first, so it was perfectly normal; with the second, I had been friends with my partner for years, which is why we could simply skip the introductory phase; and the third was with a lazy, intellectual ass who added only the bare essentials to our relationship, which is why I had to make all the decisions. But when I said goodbye to these three guys and plunged into the reality of the dating world, where phrases like "I'm not looking for anything solid" are literally thrown around, I quickly found that most of them are in no hurry have like me. In fact, most of the time we didn't talk about it, let alone define anything we were doing.
Because I'm prone to extremes, I started doing the opposite and tried to stay cool and not think too much about what the status of every relationship I entered into. It didn't take long until I realized that it didn't suit me: in fact, I'm a big fan of rules and labels - which is perfectly fine. My experiment just failed terribly and culminated in a drunken showdown with a guy I had allowed me to fidget for almost a year. Then I finally accepted that I was looking for a real, long-lasting relationship, which I told the men I started with pretty quickly.
This new attitude wasn't very successful until I had a new Bumble match in mid-February: Hannes *. We got along really well, quickly began to exchange ideas via SMS and at some point he asked the question, which I look forward to when I meet new people: "What are you looking for?" I explained to him that I don't want to rush things ( Exercise folks!) But that in the long run I was looking for someone to develop a serious relationship with. He said he wanted to, but he had just ended a relationship and so he wanted to take it slow. I agreed and we started dating.
We both tried to slow the pace. But if you like someone and you have time for each other and you also spend it together and then you are still in that initial dating frenzy and just damn happy that you found each other, then it really is easy to get carried away allow. Every time we met, Hannes and I spent the night together in his or my apartment. We wrote to each other all day. If he had to work late in the evening, I would cook for him. He ate fried chicken with my friends, I with his Veggie Pho. When we first slept together, I explained my rule to him: If you jump into the box with someone else, you have to tell me because I don't sleep with men who sleep with other people. He agreed.

You can probably guess how it all ended.

On the one hand, I felt like half a couple. At the same time, I found out things about him that I didn't really like: he had a few macho quirks, he was stubborn and still not really over his ex, and once he looked me straight in the eye and said he respected Trump's former advisor and chief strategist, right-wing conservative Steve Bannon, for his intelligence. So I wondered if this was really a relationship I wanted to be in for longer. I was itching to define our relationship status, but he wasn't interested and for obvious reasons I wasn't sure if I really wanted this guy to be a partner.
When I look back on my dating past with a little more maturity, I see that my urge to smack the boyfriend label on every forehead was probably because I was terribly insecure. I used to rush into the relationship drawer because it gave me the supposed security of not being abandoned - and at that time I absolutely needed a partner. But now I knew better. I knew I wanted it, didn't need it. I didn't need Hannes or a relationship. So I was able to step back a little, slow down the pace and consider whether it suited my ideas, while on the outside it seemed as if we were just floating around. At one point, when I was mad at him about something, I wrote to my friend Sarah:

I don't think I really want to date him anymore.

Then you have your answer.

So when he tearfully confessed to me one Friday that he had slept with someone else instead of calling me, I ended it. I cried in the cab on the way home while my driver handed me handkerchiefs to the back. The next morning I wallowed in self-pity. But by the afternoon I realized that I had learned something important.
Because I've chased labels for such a long time, I routinely ignored warning signs that should have kept me from doing something more serious with someone. I knew deep down that the intellectual ass was an intellectual ass, but because I was so intoxicated with having a boyfriend, I ignored my doubts and focused on the few positive things about our relationship. If you slow down a bit, you can see things more clearly. Of course, that doesn't mean that I won't have relationship problems in the future. After all, nobody is perfect. But before you commit yourself to someone, you should find out if you really fit together because it's much harder to address the big problems when you're deep in the love trap.
With Hannes I saw the warning signs and admitted to myself that he wasn't the type of person I wanted to be with for a long time. I didn't finish it myself, but that realization alone was worth its weight in gold. Getting to know someone you can imagine a romantic future with is a marathon, not a sprint. For me it is important to draw firm boundaries until I have the feeling that I know the person really well. One of those limits is my “sleep with no one else while you sleep with me” rule because I've learned that when we've had sex, I'm quick to fall for men. And I don't like to share. After Hannes, I won't have regular sleepovers with men until they have earned my trust and the privilege of spending so much time in my realm.
My floor is still suffering from my hasty cleaning, but I've decided to treat the beginnings of my next relationship like cooking: one step at a time, enjoying the beautiful feelings while drinking lots of wine.
* The name has been changed by the editors to protect the anonymity of the person.