Relationships are the most stressful thing you’ll ever be involved in, short of having a career as an underwater bomb defusion expert. They bring out the crazy in everyone. This means they really bring out the crazy in crazy people, as any cursory viewing of an episode of “Cops” will tell you immediately. All relationships have stages, but relationships where crazy fuels the fires of love have different stages. What may start out as innocuous fun could end with your suits or dresses on fire, along with several restraining orders.
Stage 1: Courting The Crazy
You meet, probably at a grocery store where your future significant other is admiring the sexual iconography of something like boxes of cereal. You mistake this as him or her shopping like a normal human being. You strike up a conversation surprisingly easily, despite no initial intention of doing so. Shortly after, the two of you exchange numbers. You think there could be potential here after a strangely in-depth, half-hour chat, so you mention you’re down for dinner or drinks sometime soon.
Before you can finish packing your groceries into your car, you have three texts from him or her. At the time, you assume this person is cute and enthusiastic. Little do you know that you’re about to go off the rails on a crazy train. All aboard!
Stage 2: Riding The Crazy Train
After an incredibly successful first date, you go back to his or her place and bang. You probably bang in such a way that neighbors are woken up, authorities are called, children are consoled, and everyone for three miles gets the distinct feeling that someone, somewhere, just had awesome sex. The room will never be the same, no matter how much bleach and soap you use on the walls and ceiling. Bodily fluids just don’t wash out very well.
With that one night of what might be called high-production pornographic sex if caught on film, you’re hooked. However, as the weeks go by, you realize something is amiss. Maybe it’s the 10 goodnight texts before 9 p.m. Maybe it’s your significant other’s uncanny ability to always be where you are. Maybe it’s the NSA-approved webcam he or she gave you for your birthday. Whatever it is, through your cloud of euphoric happiness, you sense something is not quite right.
Stage 3: Going Off The Rails
After the initial luster of intense affection and sex wears off, you definitely think things need to change in the course of your relationship. You don’t just mean your locks–you never actually gave a key to your significant other, but that didn’t seem to matter. The whole “wanting to spend every waking moment practically on top of you” thing is getting old, though it is a nice way to get leg day in without the usual struggle of making it to the gym.
That said, you just can’t take his or her obsessive attention and paranoia about you associating with anyone else, let alone anyone of the opposite gender. It was definitely awkward when your significant other nearly assaulted your boss at the company Christmas party just because your boss complimented how you looked that night. Explaining it to HR the next Monday was not your idea of a good time, and court appearances do not make for a holly, jolly Christmas.
Stage 4: Hitting The Fan
For whatever reason, you decide you no longer want to describe your relationship with Bond film titles, especially “The Spy Who Loved Me.” You decide to break it off with Captain Crazypants and start over again with someone else, someone who is more likely to understand that personal space does not include waiting outside the bathroom for you like a 6-month-old puppy.
In this stage, rational people have a discussion, realize there are serious differences in feelings, and agree to an amicable break or breakup. Captain Crazypants will take this conversation as a personal nuclear assault on his or her character. You will swear, from this person’s reaction, that he or she is fighting an emotional Omaha Beach invasion on relationship D-Day. There will be casualties–most likely some things you love, like your Xbox, TV, car, or other worldly possession. Much like America evacuating people from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, you should be prepared to pre-evacuate high value personnel from what will soon seem like an active combat zone.
After a series of unpleasant talks and a wider spectrum of emotions than you see on a TV soap opera, you’ll both be done and find that you’re ready to move on. Just don’t expect all of your clothes back, because your former significant other will probably keep some of them to make a voodoo doll or something.
Stage 5: Moving On
You’ve learned some valuable lessons, like what not to look for in a mate and how to bend in ways posited to be impossible by classical physics and anatomy models. Relationships with the batshit insane are always a good learning experience, so long as they are not both creepy and insane. At the end of the day, you’ll use your experiences as cautionary tales for who not to date, and your former significant other will go back to doing whatever crazy people do between relationships. I assume it involves the crazies banging their way through entire states of people and posting impassioned political opinions of Onion articles on Facebook, but I’m not really sure.
If you find yourself dating someone who is obviously reaching for Stage 5 clinger territory, take a step back and stop yourself before you have to spend the next several months trying to figure out how to get your favorite shirt back without a “Mission Impossible”-style extraction mission.