In my discussions with friends I have discovered a new, alarming trend in dating that may or may not coincide with the guy phenomenon: the three-month-guy.
The three-month-guy (or as I affectionately like to call him, the three-monther) is someone you date, who comes on strong, seems great, terrific and wonderful, and despite yourself, you find yourself really liking. Sure, you have only known him a short time, but he says and does everything right and hell, he was the first to say the L-word and so maybe, just maybe the universe is finally giving you a break. After all, didn’t you have to endure countless terrible dates (remember the guy that whipped out his third nipple on your first date) and near-heartbreaking rejections, not to mention the sideways glances and questions and sounds of a clock ticking you get from your relatives every Thanksgiving. And just when you have convinced yourself it is okay to let go and like this guy – poof. He disappears. Vanishes into thin air.
Those lucky enough to track down their three-month-guys are always met with some lame excuse about needing to focus on something in their lives that is not your relationship.
Meanwhile, you can't shake the feeling you are being punked. After all, wasn’t he the one who was pushing you two to spend so much time together? He was the one who put this relationship on fast forward. You were just along for the ride. So if he needed more time to focus on his career, school, family, friends, art, or Star Wars collectibles, why didn’t he just take that time? Why couldn’t he just tell you he needed to slow things down? Why does he seem to believe you require so much time and attention? Why couldn’t you two talk about this like grown-ups? What made him think it would be okay to just disappear like that? What made him think you didn’t deserve/earn some sort of explanation for why he was smothering you with affection one day and not returning your calls the next? Did you do something wrong? Say something wrong? Step into some bad lighting? Oh my god, could he be gay?
Somewhere in the middle of all of those questions is the answer – you couldn’t talk about this like grown-ups because he’s not one.
It helps if you think about this guy like your eighth grade boyfriend. Remember him? Remember how you met at a school dance and you two danced all the slow songs together? How he called you that weekend and asked you if you wanted to go out, which meant you two were boyfriend and girlfriend not that you were actually going to go anywhere? The next week he passed you a note that said he loved you. He held your hand while the two of you walk down the hallway, he always met you at your locker between classes and waited after school with you for your bus.
Then wham – you come to school one Monday and he’s not waiting by your locker. By third period you learn over the weekend he ran into Jenny Kline at the mall and now he loves her.
It’s a lot like that.
Just like your eighth grade boyfriend had no real reason for dumping you for your best friend, the three-monther can’t explain why he can’t date you and pursue his lifelong ambition to become a professional base-jumper. Because there isn’t a reason. This isn’t about you. It’s about him. He is essentially still an eighth grade boy who falls for every new shiny object that is out there.
To him, you were just another shiny object to play with for a while, and then discard when he got bored or something newer and shinier came along.
I should point out that not all three-monthers stick around for three-months; some last only three weeks, some make it to six months. So don’t think once you’ve cleared the three month hurdle you are in the clear. Likewise, if you fell for a guy after only a month, when he disappeared, you could still be the latest victim of this trend.
Sadly, I also can’t give you advice on how to treat the three-month-guy mostly because you can’t spot him until after he is gone. I mean I guess I could tell you to be weary of any guy whom you have great chemistry with who comes on strong, but that could mean missing out on something great. After all, there are great guys out there that are ready for a relationship (right?). So short of growing cold and bitter and choosing never to let anyone close to you again, avoiding the three-monther is damn near impossible.
No, I only wanted to draw your attention to this sort of guy so when you find yourself a victim you can reduce the amount of time you spend wallowing in self-loathing and self-doubt. Remember how, back in the eighth grade, you went home and cried and cried and maybe listened to a couple of Chicago songs over and over again until your parents came home and asked what was wrong and in between sobs you told them about what a jerk your boyfriend was and how you hate Jenny but moreover you hate yourself because you aren’t as pretty as Jenny.
Remember what your parents said to you that day? Oh, god, no, not the ugly duckling speech. The other things. About how you are wonderful and perfect and there is nothing wrong with you and that one day you will find someone who appreciates you for the wonderful person you are.
So there’s no need to pull that Chicago 17 CD out from the back of the closet. Think about what your parents said to you then (and your Aunt Tati is saying to you now). Your life isn’t over, you will meet someone else and there is nothing wrong with you. It’s him.
Trust me on this one.