As told to Charlotte Ivan.
There are many ways to move too fast in a new relationship. Everyone’s preferences are different, and their expectations vary.
For some, saying “I love you” too soon is an enormous turnoff. For others, a marriage proposal after only a few months can be more than a little unnerving.
When I bought a house with Dylan, I really didn’t consider what the future would look like if we ended up not working out. I wanted to be settled with a person I cared about, who got along with my young daughter, and who wanted the same things I did.
All three of those stipulations were true when we signed the papers and had our new house keys in hand on a warm summer afternoon. It felt like the beginning of the life I had always wanted. The life I was so eager to begin.
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At the time, Dylan and I had been together for a little over a year.
I figured that was plenty of time to get my bearings on what the relationship would be like. On who he was. On what our future would look like. We enjoyed the little life we were building, and my daughter, from a previous relationship, was happy in her new school.
Until the fighting started.
When you look back on relationships that have gone wrong in your life, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact day or time when you stopped being happy. When everything changed. Dylan and I eventually realised, independently, that we didn’t have a whole lot in common.
The way we communicated was vastly different, and it often led to bitter arguments and petty disputes.
Those things seemed small at first, but they grew into something so unrecognisable from what our relationship used to look like that it physically made my heart hurt.
Dylan was several years younger than me.
He cared about me and convinced himself that he wanted the same things I did. I convinced myself he wanted them, too, because I was wanted him to love me. We felt so grown up when we bought our house. Like we were entering the next, less turbulent phase of our adult lives.