I was reflecting the other day on some of the patterns I have seen myself take with past relationships, and there have been two major paths. The first path was after meeting a girl, I immediately wrapped my head around getting romantic with her. Our relationship rocketed off, and I quickly dived deep into an intimate ordeal probably within a month. The other option I have taken was befriend a girl without ever really thinking about dating them, and a few years down the road realizing that there was great potential for something further to blossom.
I am not married so I suppose I can look at each relationship being a “failure”, although I have learned a great deal from each of them. There have been pros and cons that I have been weighing in my head at this fork in the road.
When it comes to dating immediately, I have noticed that most of the time (note that all of this I am drawing purely from personal experience) the relationship is much more exciting and new and passionate towards the beginning. I barely know this girl and I am getting to know her so very thoroughly– emotionally and physically. The unknown is quite exciting. However, this has often led to, in the later stages of the relationship, unpleasant surprises. Many people are not very open right away and tend to front-load their best qualities (which is understandable), but this can also leave one susceptible to deceit.
Whereas when I have dated really good friends of mine, there are really no surprises. I already know all of their strengths and vices and the relationship is much more comfortable. However, I am saddened by the fact that the friendship I have had with some of these girls was never the same after our romance ended. There is some discrepancy with this scenario; I am sure many people have been able to resume a normal friendship after a break-up splendidly, but I have not learned this secret art of not letting history affect the post-breakup friendship.
So I suppose I was curious to see what formula you guys have found between friendship and romance that has worked (in general) better for you. Can a good comparison even be made or is it just another one of those disappointing “it just always depends on the couple” sort of ordeals? Is there any rule of thumb that you follow before involving yourself in a romantic situation when it comes to getting to know them? Should I stave off the romantic impulses with every girl I meet and focus on building a backbone of friendship that could potentially be tarnished later or should I succumb to my emotional impulses and jump right in? OR is there even a clear line at all between the two? I have heard some people consider romance simply an intimate friendship with sex.
I would just be interested to hear some general thoughts on this matter.