It’s passionate. It’s surreal. It stops time. It takes your breath away. But in view of the larger picture, it only lasts a few seconds.
What is this short-lived relationship? It’s most every beginning (and end) of our well-known love affairs. Cupid strikes again to knock us off our feet, and you’re suddenly fucked… but not in a good way.
Take Jacob, A Kent State student, for example. He’s been talking to a guy for a couple months now, and the relationship has had its ups and downs. One week the guy is interested, and the next he’s not. We all know exactly what this feels like. He told me how they began to get closer as the months progressed, sharing emotional and sexual connections, but then the guy suddenly stopped talking to him. Jacob now sits in a puddle of confusion and doubt about why it ended. Did he do something wrong? Was there no connection for the other guy? Did he just want sex? All are valid questions, but most times they go unanswered. Jacob is coming to understand that he had simply found himself in a #dalliance, a brief love affair.
“I thought he was amazing… then things got hot and it was even better. But then it turned shitty,” Jacob told me.
Jacob explained how he now waits day and night for this guy to send a text that simply says hello. He knows it’s ridiculous to wait around for someone, but he explained that after feeling such a connection, it’s hard to just get up and leave.
“All he has to do is tell me to hit the road, and I will, but until then I don’t know what to do,” Jacob said.
Another common situation we find ourselves in is the one-night-stand love affair. Whether it’s someone in a relationship fooling around outside of the relationship or two single people taking it to the sheets for a night, there’s always emotional baggage to deal with.
Consider the guy who’s in an unhappy relationship and starts to look elsewhere for the attention he needs in his current relationship. We all know it’s not a good idea, but I spoke with a guy who complied with the taken guy’s needs and started feeding him the attention he craved.
“It’s not like I didn’t know it was a bad idea,” Andrew, a KSU student, said. “The guy’s in a relationship, and yeah he’s not happy, but that doesn’t make it right for me to fool around with him or go on dates with him.”
But Andrew became emotionally invested.
Soon the “I miss you” texts, weekly coffee dates, and the exchange of dirty pictures started flaring between the two and as John Mayer so delicately sang it, they found themselves most definitely slow dancing in a burning room.
Andrew had to cut ties with the guy because while the relationship could have flourished had they both been single, he knew this guy was just as capable of cheating on him as he was with his current boyfriend. He said he realized that logic needed to over-power emotion.
Dustin, another student here at KSU, talked to me a little bit about a situation he had with a closeted football player.
“It didn’t last cause his roommate caught us, and he wasn’t ready to come out even to his roommates,” Dustin said.
“I think I was happy because it wasn’t just for sex towards the end. He would come over and hang out, watch movies when he could, and he would just stop by to say ‘hi.’ Towards the end he made it seem like he was starting to feel better about himself, and like he was maybe going to come out. But I think his roommate seeing us together scared him.”
On the flip side, brief love affairs can sometimes be the foundation for a great relationship. Brianna, a Kent State graduate, said her current engagement started from what could have been very brief.
“I started a brief love affair and I think that ended with an engagement ring,” Brianna said, as she laughed. “But maybe that’s why people indulge– despite everything else… because you never know if this is the opportunity you’re not supposed to pass up.”
I think Robert Palmer said it best in his 1986 song “Addicted to Love,” in which he bravely recalls this situation for his listener, singing, “you can’t sleep; you can’t eat. There’s no doubt you’re in deep. Your throat is tight; you can’t breathe. Another kiss is all you need. You like to think you’re immune to this stuff, but it’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough.” It’s true—we’re all addicted to love, but I can’t help but ask how much addiction is worth the hassle and the heartache?
It’s a strange phenomenon, this thing called dalliance. I always wonder what happened to the days when tearing off a flower petal determined if someone liked you or getting hit, shoved, pinched or made fun of on the playground by the opposite (or same) sex meant you could sneak an innocent kiss with the person after school?
Now we have to worry about emotions, #relationships and sex—you know, the adult stuff. Sometimes, though, the adult stuff is just too much.
*All quoted participants have opted I use either an anonymous name or leave out their last names.*