Falling in love is pretty darn amazing. It is a memorable time in a relationship when you feel like you are floating on a cloud and that nothing can stop this fast train heading to happily ever after.
People falling in love feel happy and smiley all the time, nothing really bothers them -- with the other person or with anyone or anything else, like work or their ex, and it lends a feeling of youth, excitement and gratitude that perhaps you're being given another chance at bliss.
But while all that sounds heavenly, falling in love can sometimes have consequences if you aren't careful. Falling in love can cause people to do stupid things; things that can have really bad outcomes, simply because they were so blinded by their powerful feelings that they didn't realize the mistake they were making.
Here are 8 ways falling in love can cause stupidity, and how to prevent that from happening:
1. You push him or her on your kids before they are ready. You might want him or her around 24/7, and that is understandable during that time when you're falling madly in love. But, your kids might not. Children of divorce (or whose parent died) crave time with their mom or dad. Alone. A good mix of doing stuff with your kids and doing stuff with your kids and your new guy (or girl) works. I truly believe that even if the relationship turns into a second marriage, the parents should spent alone time with the kids (without the new spouse.) It's nothing personal and the new spouse should understand and spend time occasionally with his or her kids alone also.
2. You move in together too soon. This is going so great and I want to see you every minute. So, what's the solution? Let's move in together. Now! Very bad idea and the best way to ruin a really good relationship if done too quickly. It isn't easy being apart from the guy (or girl) you are madly in love with, but it's better that way than rushing a move-in and realizing later you jumped the gun.
3. You get married too quickly. Same thing as #2 but way worse. I think getting married too quickly accounts for so many divorces in second and third marriages. Divorced people need a long time to mourn their first marriage and live alone before undertaking a second marriage. I get it. Trust me. When you are falling madly in love, you want the fairytale. My advice is, you can have it, but it pays to be patient.
4. You get married without a prenup. People are so blindly in love that they can't imagine it won't work out. Guess what? People change. We keep changing all the time. You never ever know what the future holds, what can happen, or in all honesty, the person. Wouldn't it be a shame if you had 5 years of true happiness, and then your spouse cheats, you are completely shocked, but you decide divorce is the best option? No prenup will offer a whole new set of headaches.
5. You get pregnant. I am a huge fan of babies if it's with the right person, during the right time and in right situation. Of course at the beginning of a relationship, a woman will say, "I love him so much I want to have his baby." That is very sweet and understandable. I've said those words myself to a girlfriend about a guy. But thinking it and actually getting pregnant are two different things. I guess what I'm saying is, don't take a chance by not using birth control. If the two of you have a rational conversation after dating for a long time and plan a pregnancy, that's a whole other story.
6. You get an STD. I have heard horror stories about older men and women in the suburbs contracting STD's. Sex is very powerful and when you're falling in love you are obviously having a lot of it. What you don't know is your new guy or girl's sexual history. He or she could leave out a story about a one-night stand that could leave you with herpes. My advice is to use condoms until you both have been tested for STD's by your physician. And by the way, even if your new guy or girl has an STD, that's OK. It doesn't make him or her a bad person and it doesn't mean the relationship can't work out. Knowing about it is good so he or she can get treated before giving it to you. In the case of herpes or HIV where there is no cure, it is helpful to know to avoid contracting the disease.
7. You lose touch with all your friends. I have seen so many people unintentionally dump their friends because they are so in love, all they want to do is spent time with him or her. I get it. But, seeing friends regularly will actually help your relationship. It makes you feel more independent, like you can have fun without him or her. The bottom line, you can have both.
8. You fail to see the red flags. This is big, perhaps the most common way people falling in love turn into fools. You fail to really notice that he has at least three or four drinks at every meal. You don't let yourself hear the late night texts on his phone. You pay no attention to the fact that he is never at work. Missing red flags is easy when you are head-over-heels for someone. And by the time you let yourself see them or you find out, it's too late. You are so in love that you might decide to settle. Not good. And even if you don't, the heartbreak is horrible.
This article might sound negative, but it really isn't because you can still fall in love and be blissfully happy and NOT be stupid. The key is -- and I hate to say it, keeping one eye open. It's sad, but divorced people need to exercise a little bit of caution. I'm not saying you can't dive in deep and have the time of your life. Just order a side of common sense with that love crazed passion.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.