You may be familiar with — possibly even living — the following scenario: You met someone and immediately, the sparks flew. Indeed, the sparks sprayed all over the place, like those lawn fireworks you have to sprint away from to avoid setting yourself on fire. Maybe you plunged pretty quickly into the sex period, wherein you two couldn't keep your hands off each other or your butts out of bed. Those days were fun, but now it turns out you've been seeing one another for months and, oops, maybe you missed that moment where you figure out if an actual connection can or will form. You don't have much to talk about when your mouths aren't glued together, or maybe you find yourself pretty annoyed with this person pretty much all the time. Sounds like your
hot and heavy new relationship fizzled.
Incredible physical connection aside, a lot of this fizzling may have to do with expectations: The ones we set for ourselves and for one another. If expectations and reality don't align, but the sex fog obscures that inescapable fact, we might find ourselves sitting on the rubble of a whirlwind romance, wondering what the heck just happened.
"If you jump in too quickly, and even you know this seems to be going too fast, you might be headed for heartbreak,"
Stef Safran, a matchmaker based in Chicago, tells Bustle. "It takes time to get to know someone, and a good 'feeling' isn't enough to make you go full force without thinking about the future. If you start assuming the person you've just met is special and doesn't have 'flaws' like the last person you dated, sooner or later ... the honeymoon period will end."
In the beginning, people may present a varnished version of themselves — or, their partners may be enamored enough to overlook the cracks. "People in couples often avoid communicating in ways that would reveal the partner, the relationship, or ... themselves in their fallibly human (and legitimately disappointing) state," Mark Borg, PhD, a New York City-based psychologist, tells Bustle. We avoid showing the cards we imagine would make people want to stop playing, or we make our own assumptions about people without having all the information — either way, it means we sometimes build relationships on false foundations. Those have a tendency to tumble down.
So when is a hot and heavy honeymoon phase destined for imminent doom? Here are nine signs your new relationship may soon fizzle out, according to love experts.
1 You Text *A Lot*
"If you make too many assumptions about the other person early on, you may have a big shift in feeling when you get to know them better," Nicole Richardson, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Austin, Texas, tells Bustle. Dating apps may actually prove fertile ground for misconceptions, she says, because the chat format leaves a lot of space for projection.
"Texting can allow someone to show up in a way that may feel authentic to them, but also runs the risk that the other person will fill in a lot of blanks with assumptions," Richardson says. When you eventually realize the person isn't who you thought — or mentally built them up — to be, things get confusing.
So if you find yourself texting constantly with a new person, maybe take a pause. It's not to say that constant banter definitely signals rocks ahead, but make sure you make time to hang out and talk face to face — fill in the blanks with actual information about the person, rather than wishful thinking.
2 You Have Instant Sexual Chemistry... But Nothing Else
If you felt the immediate need to jump your partner's bones, and spent your first few months together basically just doing that, don't be surprised if the relationship doesn't have staying power.
"One of the best indicators that a relationship will burn hot and fizz is instant chemistry: If you stop someone from across the room and you have to have then now, even before you know there name, you are operating on lust," Dawn Maslar, M.S., dating coach and author, tells Bustle. "Lust, or 'love at first sight,' is caused by the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. It’s a fight or flight response and is meant to be temporary. That’s why it wears off quickly."
Of course, Maslar adds, that doesn't have to be the case: A partnership can start with lust, but it needs other types of fuel to keep it going. If there's no emotional compatibility, if you share no common ground, if your communication styles clash, a lust-based union will likely burn out.
3 You Overlook Warning Signs
Sometimes, in the early stages when we just don't know our partners that well, our idea of them can clash with the reality they show us. When we ignore the red flags, Borg says, the relationship runs into trouble. If, for example, you and your partner express anger in different ways that don't jell — if they are a vocalizer and you really hate raised voices, for example — you may be headed for collapse when you quash the internal voice that warns, "Bad fit!"
"You tell yourself that it was a
one-off experience," Borg says. "You tell yourself, 'No, this is not my partner,' this was a mistake born of an extreme circumstance (even when whatever that circumstance is isn't clear), and you avoid the issue altogether." You fall into "a pattern of avoidance," he says, and that pattern allows you to tell yourself that everything is fine, your needs are met, all "while creating more and more commitment to avoiding the so-called elephants in the room." 4 You Put The Person On A Pedestal
No one likes being put on a pedestal, because it's untenably precarious: There's not much to do up there on your lonely perch, and eventually, you'll probably fall off. When people cleave to an idealized version of their partner, however, things feel bound to fizzle out.
"The disappointments that build as a result of living close to someone else are repressed, and are then, later, acted out in 'bad behavior' and painful feelings (like resentment) that seem to arise out of nowhere," says Borg. Not taking the time to get to know someone leaves room for you to vaunt them up on that pedestal — or for them to do the same to you — and eventually, for that pedestal to crumble.
5 One Of You Suddenly Seems Distant
Shifts in communication patterns can be subtle, but often, a change in the way or rate at which you speak with one another signals a change in the relationship.
"If your hot and heavy squeeze starts to pull back and doesn’t say where they’re going, chances are the relationship is sliding," Julie Spira, an online dating expert and CEO of
Cyber-Dating Expert, tells Bustle. Similarly, she adds, "If you notice any change in patterns such as the good morning texts coming less frequently, the drug-like high may already be wearing off."
"Some people dive deep quickly then wake up one day and feel over exposed and start to pull away," Richardson agrees. "This is especially common with people who have
avoidant attachment styles." 6 You Spend All Your Time Together
"When a relationship starts hot and heavy and you go from zero to 100 in a digital split second, you’re often living in a fantasy world, where you’re projecting to the future, without staying in the moment," Spira says. "If your new partner wants to see you 24/7 and doesn’t have a life of his or her own, it could burn out and fizzle once the novelty runs out."
It may be fun and exciting to be part of a couple, but remember that life you had on your own and don't let it slip. Keep up with your friends and your pre-existing obligations — dating someone doesn't absolve you of your day-to-day responsibilities, and no one likes feeling like they exist to entertain friends between partners.
7 One Of You Is On The Rebound
Many of us would prefer not to discuss ghosts of relationships past on the first few dates, but if you suddenly find yourself in a sex hole with someone new, you might want to talk about your exes.
"If they are recently out of a long-term serious relationship and seem too eager to get into another relationship," Safran says, it may be time to press pause.
That doesn't mean every person you meet in the wake of their big breakup will abruptly cut and run, but most people need time to internalize lessons from recently collapsed relationships. Otherwise, they may roll those problems into the next one.
8 One Of You Is A Serial Monogamist
"History does repeat," Spira says, "so while getting to know your new squeeze, find out their previous relationships, and how [long] they lasted. If there were many 'serious' short-term relationships, you might just be the next one that will fall like a row of dominoes."
That's not to say that everyone who dates a lot will ghost you, but if you're going to build something long-term, it's important to have this conversation anyway.
9 One Of You Is Possessive
A person who shows clinginess, or jealousy, or any similar emotion when you do something other than hang out with them has insecurities to hash out on their own. If you've just started dating and they put this behavior on display, take it as a warning sign. (And hey, at least you know early on.)
"If your new partner wants to know where you are when you’re not with them and wants continues to text you when you’re out with your friends, it’s a sign of obsessiveness, which is not a healthy partnership," says Spira.
"If they refuse to listen to you wanting to slow down and they are controlling the pace, you have to wonder what will happen when you completely disagree with them about something," Safran says.
In general, she says, it's a good idea to take new relationships deliberately slow: Even if you want to see the person all the time, limit your availability. Make sure you keep seeing your friends and maintaining your chore schedule, your hobbies, your plant collection, whatever. Don't give in to the 24/7 hangout impulse. Schedule dates that involve activities you enjoy, and ask your partner to do the same. That's a better way to figure out if you actually fit together, rather than just retreating to your bedroom. Tempting as that may be.