Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as to how long people should get to know one another before dating, carrying on a relationship, and then, if things work out, get married. But, I have to ask..."Is there really a timeline?"
Love happens in its own time. I've known people to date the same person for years on end to have them end up getting married and the relationship quickly ends in divorce or have them end things before marriage is even discussed.
At the same time I've known people who've gone out with one another for two or three weeks, realize that they've found their true match, get married right away and still be married 30 + years later.
So is there a timeline that one should follow in regards to relationships, whether in reality or in fictional writing? The answer is NO!
As a fellow author I've heard complaints about both my books and others. They range from, "I thought the couple would never get together" to "The relationship is hard to believe because it happened too quickly". The comments are endless. In reality, you might not want things to happen so fast, but they sometimes do, so it isn't a stretch of the imagination. Then again, a book is fantasy, not reality. It's a means to escape reality and go into a fictional world where romance and love exist in perfect harmony, with the occasional switch-up.
I know I've been guilty of having my characters trust a bit too easily in the other person, fall too quickly, and marry within no time. I did have them carry out things over the course of many, many months. But, if you think about many of the books out there, especially the erotic genres, you almost have a "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am," kind of persona. I've read some where the characters instantly fall into lust, bed, and not long after, marriage. Even FSOG goes from a first encounter to marriage within the course of a little over three months. Talk about quick, but an amazing story! (Can't wait for the movie!)
Does love at first sight exist? It's possible. Let me give you an example of a true romance and how fast it transpired.
Imagine if you will a female who's married to her work, but at the persuasion of friends, places an at online and starts dating. Yep, you guessed it, she ended up with a lot of toads and one nut case that caused her trust in men to falter. But, when all hope seemed lost...along came a "too good to be true - knight in shining armor." She was going through a lot of life changes and a family emergency, but he was caring, considerate, and offered hope.
The couple ended up talking via instant messaging, email, and then moved on to phone calls for about two months before finally meeting. She needed time to grieve for the loss of a family member, he was swamped with work. The two finally meet, knowing after all their daily phone conversations, lasting hours on end, that they'd always be friends. But, there was an instant spark. They've discovered they've lived within blocks of one another time and time again for years; even shopping at the same stores on the same nights, but had never met.
Their very first meeting resulted in another date, and another, and another. They became glued at the hip, even completing each others thoughts and sentences. In eleven, yes I said eleven, short days, they went from meeting to becoming engaged. After seven months had passed, they were married and are still together today, even more in love than ever.
I will admit this did seem a bit rushed. But, my parents had always told me, "When you find the one you're meant to be with, you'll know. It will feel like all the air has been taken out of your lungs and you've been hit by a Mack truck. The pull you'll have toward one another will be undeniable and you won't be able to resist staying away from each other, even for just a day."
Yes, I'm talking about how I met my husband. The strangest thing is that we came so close to meeting so many times in the past, but our fates must not have been ready for us to meet yet. When we finally did meet, I stopped looking because, "Once you find your forever, there's no need to look any further."
This week we'll celebrate our 16th Wedding Anniversary. I will admit we've had our ups and downs and plenty of things that should have torn us apart, but the foundation in our relationship was solid, so we've been able to weather all the storms and come out stronger than ever.
It amazed me this weekend when we were driving along and a song came on the radio. It was a song from Queen and I looked over to see my hubby smiling. I began to say, "You know what this song reminds me of?" He immediately finished my thought, "Wayne's World?" Sure enough, he knew what I was thinking, because he was thinking the same thing. It's actually scary just how in tune we are with one another. I've had people complain that we can't possibly love one another and share so many likes and dislikes, but we do.
Our love story was the inspiration for the series Remembrance, especially how the two characters fall in love in I Remember. So do I tend to write my characters falling in love too quickly at times? Yes, I do. But, I have a lot of personal experience and pull from similar stories to my own.
Love happens when it's the right time. There is no right or wrong timeline, place, etc. It just exists. May you find the love of your life and your happily ever after. I know I've got mine.