Dysfunctional Dating Pattern #2: Falling for the Flame-Out

Posted on June 1, 2010


In a post last week, I discussed the first Dysfunctional Dating Pattern-Rescuing the Deeply Wounded Man. The next day, Jesse James, Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband, gave an interview to Nightline about his divorce. He claimed his abusive childhood caused him to cheat on his wife. What a completely pathetic excuse for infidelity!

Thank you, Mr. James, for proving my point. Ladies, if you can remember that the deeply wounded man will deeply wound you,you’ll be one step ahead in the dating game.

But suppose you don’t have a penchant for the deeply wounded man; perhaps you’ve learned from your past mistakes or are slightly repulsed by sob stories . Suppose, instead, your Achille’s heel is passion.

Now, don’t misunderstood me here. True passion is wonderful.

It is what makes love worth all the struggle. It is practically a necessity for keeping long-term relationships breathing. It is what wakes us up in the midst of our stressed out, overworked, sleep-deprived lives. But I’m not talking about that kind of passion.

I’m talking about the instant passion that often happens when a man, secretly armed with a bedroom agenda, fawns completely over a woman. The woman, easily seduced by all of the man’s attention and flattery, gets caught up in the game. And then, after one night, or a few weeks, or a month or two, the man gets bored and moves on.The woman is left confused,wondering what went wrong: With all of that passion and great sex, how could love and commitment not follow?

I’ve heard many names for this type of behavior but Diana Kirschner’s “Flame-Out” is my favorite. Call this what you will but the basic formula is the same:

The “relationship” starts with incredible, addictive passion.

Both parties are addicted to the adrenaline rush that accompanies really great chemistry.

Often the woman will naturally segue into wanting more than just the intoxication of the man’s attention. By then it is too late. She has given her heart to someone who was only looking for his passion fix.

He will move on to his next victim and she will left crying to her girlfriends and trying to analyze and rationalize why she fell for such a louse.

Beware of any relationship that starts off with an addictive-like quality. If any man constantly insists that he must see you that very evening without making prior plans with you, if he makes proclamations of love and adoration before he even knows what your college major was and/or if he states incredibly flattering things that sound like they belong in a movie, he is most likely a Flame-Out.

Now, to be fair, there are men from different cultures who are raised and taught to be more seductive than American men. Coming from Italian stock myself, I do know men who are passionate creatures, who believe in love at first sight and who will fall hopelessly for a woman, engage in ridiculously romantic proclamations and will not bolt at the thought of having a long-term relationship with her.

Most men, however, are not like this.

But they are quite tempting. I mean, why else would there be characters like this cast in every unrealistic love movie Hollywood makes?

So if you refuse to listen to reason, if you insist that you are not falling for a Flame-Out despite the fact that the meets the aforementioned criteria, then please let me slip in a little bit of advice here for you. If he, is in fact, serious about his proclamations of adoration, he will wait for you.

He will wait to see you if you already have plans for the upcoming weekend. (And I would advise you to make yourself unavailable many days at the beginning of a relationship with a man such as this). He will wait for you to return his calls, and I would advise you to let many of his calls go to voice mail and answer only some of his texts. He will wait to have sex with you. I am advising all of this is not to play games, but to see if he will wait it out.

A man who is a Flame-Out only wants his drug-like passion high and he wants it NOW. He has absolutely no patience. If you tell him you have plans for the weekend, if you don’t answer his calls and texts right away, if you tell him you’d rather wait a bit until having him spend the night, he will move on quickly. One thing a Flame-Out will NOT do is wait.

If he does not pass this simple test, then you will know you were almost duped by a Flame-Out but were too smart to fall for that dysfunctional dating pattern.

If he does in fact wait patiently for you, and still proclaim his undying love, then by God! you’ve found yourself a romantic gem and the only thing that you’ll have to contend with now are your jealous girlfriends.

If you’re still not sure you know the difference between romantic love and a Flame-Out,  I found a great article on this topic here.