The Seven Year Itch? The Three Year Ditch? Forget them all, because none of it matters unless you can get over the 6-Date Hump.
Throughout high school, I – a devout hopeless romantic – was in a desperate search for love (or namely just a long-term boyfriend). However, whenever I thought I was finally getting somewhere with a guy, I would get dumped, ghosted, or worse – discover them getting handsy with their ex in a hot tub (yes, that happened, still bitter). There seemed to be one noticeable common theme between the many vastly different rejections I received – they were all exactly 6 dates in. Thus began a running joke amongst my friends of my 6-week boy curse, and I wondered dejectedly if I would ever truly be able to break the spell.
Then, upon my arrival at St Andrews, I somehow managed to snap a boyfriend up within the first two weeks – huzzah! I had done the impossible, beaten the curse (and found a loophole of never needing to go on dates when you live in halls together xo), and we lived happily ever after.
If only. Jump three years and one ~fun~ breakup later, I re-entered the dating world with a new perspective on love and a wealth of relationship experience under my belt – I would not succumb to the curse this time. Having found myself a seemingly more mature and attentive man, who provided daily good morning messages and rapid replies, the troubles of my youth felt like a lifetime away. I had really truly broken free. Life was blissful and nothing could stand in my way. Until BAM! 6 weeks in and my good morning messages disappear in a flash as I am left putting in all the effort, having to take on sole responsibility of being the ‘popper-upper’.
I know what you’re thinking, reader. Once again I was going to end up ghosted, rejected, left by the wayside, victim to the curse once more. But alas, do not fear, I am still seeing this fine gentleman 6 months on, and have since been able to relinquish some of the popping-up responsibility to an (almost) 50/50 share. So, what happened 6 weeks in you ask? Well, this is where my sage wisdom comes into play.
What I have learnt from my many, many, many rejections is that the 6-date hump is inevitable. That does not mean however that it is something one should fear. Rather, by expecting it, it is far easier to overcome. I am by no means a qualified relationship counsellor, but I believe I can shed a little bit of light onto what the 6-date hump is, from a straight girl’s perspective, at least.
In the very initial stages of dating, as I’m sure many of you can verify, the ‘chaser’, as I’ll call them, can be excessively keen, particularly when messaging you (see daily good morning texts). This part of dating is new and exciting – you hardly know each other, and the chase is still on. Cut to 6 weeks (or dates, fairly interchangeable if going on a date once a week) later and this enthusiasm begins to decline. You find yourself having to carry more of the conversation, them becoming the ‘chasee’ and find that they take longer and longer to reply.
The key, and often-carried-out-by-me, mistake here is to assume they are no longer interested. This is not necessarily the case (although sometimes may be; in that case, my sincerest condolences). Rather, the initial novelty of the romance has simply worn off. This tends to be around the time you begin to know this person quite well and are looking to go exclusive – the chase is up, and so they no longer feel the need to bombard you with kind get-to-know-you messages. For someone who relishes in the attention of the early stages, like myself, this can be hard to adjust to. This is the point in which my natural defensive instinct wants me to go psycho on the boy for leaving me on read while he goes out with his mates.
But this is where acknowledging and expecting the 6-date hump comes into your favour. By assuming the worst, or going psycho on their ass, you only end up driving them away. This is the make or break time in the dating period in which you will either end up in a relationship or fizzle into nothing – so it’s important to play it right. By expecting the hump and the changes in their behaviour, you can easily adjust with it, knowing that this is not them losing interest in you but rather your relationship evolving into a stronger, more comfortable stage.
The 6-date hump is real and unavoidable, but essential to pass before any long-term relationship can blossom. My advice: expect it, embrace it, and just ride it out, because on the other side lies endless joy, happiness and love (until the messy breakup). And hey, if that doesn’t work, I’m more than happy to provide a shoulder to cry on and a bucket to throw up into following a messy night out come Valentine’s Day.