Whirlwind relationships can be dangerous – here's what to look out for

If you’re an always-online type or diehard celeb gossip fan, by now you’ve likely read Julia Fox’s gushing essay about her second date with Kanye West.

If you’re neither of those things, a quick recap: On January 6, 2021, the actress wrote for Interview Magazine about their ‘instant connection’, detailing an incredible second date after they met on New Year’s Eve.

Now, let us be clear. That’s New Year’s Eve, 2021. Meaning at the time this essay was published, the pair had known each other for less than a week.

While we can’t all relate to dinner at Carbone and a man filling an entire hotel suite with clothes, many of us will have felt that same excitement that comes with a whirlwind romance.

You know, the ones where things move fast – you’ve only known each other for a short time but it feels like true love, you’re going on super romantic dates, and you feel almost drunk on the buzz.

Whirlwind relationships can be a lot of fun, and they’ve been glamourised by everything from rom-coms to, well, an essay by Julia Fox on how everything with Ye has been ‘so organic’.

But before you get swept up in the rush, it’s important to heed this warning: whirlwind relationships pose some real risks, and it’s essential to proceed with caution.

Why whirlwind relationships can be harmful

The problem with whirlwind relationships is that when you’re being swept off your feet and pulled along at break-neck speed, you don’t have the time or space to spot red flags.

‘The clue is in the phrase “whirlwind”, which suggests the other phrase “swept off your feet” – both indicate being in a state of surprise; out of balance and not being grounded,’ explains senior therapist Sally Baker. ‘In this exciting state it’s challenging to maintain equilibrium and the ability to make considered, rational decisions.

‘A whirlwind romance is close to the dynamics of love bombing, which has more sinister motivations.’

When you’re throwing every bit of yourself into a relationship from the get-go, there’s potential for real pain if it doesn’t work out… and frankly, that’s a likely outcome.

‘To put it simply, it takes time to get to know someone,’ notes therapist Stina Sanders.

Give it some time to really know someone before you commit to emotional investment.

Signs you’re moving too fast

Nailing the pace of a relationship is no easy feat. Too slow and you can tip into the never-actually-meeting-up or are-we-just-friends limbo, but too fast throws up its own issues.

Stina breaks down some key signs that you’re heading into whirlwind territory:

You see each other multiple times in the week

‘While you may want to spend all your time talking and speaking, creating some distance will not only protect you, it helps you to process the relationship,’ Stina tells Metro.co.uk. ‘If you feel like you have to be in constant contact because you’re worried they will lose interest, it may be time to re-evaluate.

‘At the start of any relationship, I recommend meeting once a week – and don’t be afraid to reduce the amount you talk or text. It’s important that you continue to prioritise yourself in these early stages.’

You’re already meeting the parents

You might be rejoicing over not being stashed, but if your date is intro-ing you to the closest people in their life a week in, that should ring some alarm bells.

‘Generally people introduce their partner to their parents around the three month mark, sometimes even longer,’ notes Stina. ‘While meeting someone’s inner circle is an important step when building your relationship, it shouldn’t be rushed.

‘Before involving others, whether that’s friends and family, make sure you have built a close connection over a period of time (not three dates).’

They’re already saying they love you

‘It’s totally normal to have strong feelings at the beginning but these emotions are often lust and not love,’ Stina explains. ‘If someone claims their undying love for you but doesn’t know you, warts and all, then this is a red flag the relationship is rushed. Or worse, heading towards toxic.’

You’re oversharing

Stina says: ‘When getting to know someone, wait until the trust has been built before you revealing all your secrets.

‘If you expect a bond to happen immediately after sharing, you will likely be disappointed and more likely manipulated. Go careful with oversharing, you are ultimately given your partner a manual on how to manipulate you.’

You or they just got out of a relationship

‘If your new relationship is following another relationship that you recently ended, it could be a sign you need to slow down,’ Stina notes. ‘While there isn’t a specific amount of time you should take between relationships, it is best to take time to heal and process your last relationship. Rushing into a new relationship when you’re not ready could lead to disaster.’

They keep making big plans for the future

Are they dazzling you with promises of loved-up holidays away, weddings, and a family? Could they be future-faking? Watch out for when talk of the future sounds a bit too good to be true.

‘There’s one thing to tell your partner that you want to settle down and have children, then there’s actively planning your future with them when you don’t know them,’ says Stina. ‘Go careful with anyone trying to get you to commit to anything too soon.’

What to do if you’re in a whirlwind relationship

Simple: slow down.

Gently press the brakes to see if the high of instant connection can turn into something longer-lasting. Give yourself and your date some breathing space so you can see each other without the rose-tinted glasses and properly assess if this is the person for you.

‘Whirlwind romances aren’t always doomed and can transition to a stable relationship after the initial stage,’ says Sally. ‘Stability and longevity demands a different dynamic from whirlwind romance but the initial mutual attraction, lustful feelings and excitement can metamorphosis into a deeper, committed love affair.

‘This is when honesty and trust become more crucial. A whirlwind romance is a heady, confusing and exciting state to be in and it might just be a light that burns bright and naturally burns itself out.

‘However, that magical, obsessive state can work long term once the stardust settles and everyday life takes over.’

Stina agrees – building trust and letting things progress without pressure is the key here.

‘Whirlwind relationships are not always a recipe for disaster – although, they certainly can be,’ she adds. ‘It’s really important that you take your time getting to know someone to make sure they are who they appear to be.

‘Trust, connection and love is built over time and experiences together, so there is no need to rush.

‘Don’t put pressure on yourselves and let the relationship form naturally.’

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