Real life: Whirl­wind ro­mance can work

Lorna Con­nolly says rush­ing into a re­la­tion­ship isn’t al­ways a bad thing

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Caro­line Flack has had quite a rough year when it comes to her love life.

In Fe­bru­ary 2018, the Love Is­land pre­sen­ter be­gan dat­ing

The Ap­pren­tice star An­drew Brady, 27. Just two months later they an­nounced they were en­gaged. But there was barely time to cel­e­brate – by July, it was all over, with Caro­line, 38, is­su­ing an emo­tional state­ment that the re­la­tion­ship was sim­ply ‘not meant to be’.

Now their ro­mance is re­port­edly back on and some scep­tics aren’t so sure it will last – but Lorna Con­nolly, 24, isn’t one of them. Here, she ex­plains why whirl­wind re­la­tion­ships re­ally can go the dis­tance…

I’ve never been the kind of per­son who be­lieves in love at first sight. I’m still not en­tirely sure it’s a real thing, but what I do believe in is an in­stant con­nec­tion. In my opin­ion, when you find that, there’s no point in hang­ing around.

It was Septem­ber 2016 and I’d been sin­gle for over a year. I thought I was happy, but as I found my­self sit­ting in front of the TV on yet an­other Satur­day night, I couldn’t help but feel lonely.

My friends had been con­stantly en­cour­ag­ing me to ‘get back in the game’ and were des­per­ate for me to sign up to on­line dat­ing. I’d kept on say­ing no, but now, as I flicked through Net­flix, I re­alised I had noth­ing to lose.

Fast-mov­ing dates

Brows­ing through the pro­files of men in my local area, I found Ben, then 25. His bio didn’t say much, but it men­tioned he had a PHD. In­tel­li­gence is a mas­sive turn-on for me, and it helped that Ben looked hand­some in his pho­tos. So I sent him a mes­sage.

‘Hey, how are you?’ I typed. Not the wit­ti­est opener, but Ben replied al­most im­me­di­ately. The next day, mes­sages flew back and forth. By the evening, we’d spo­ken on the phone.

‘Let’s go on a date to­mor­row night,’ said Ben. I didn’t hes­i­tate and we agreed to meet in a local pub af­ter work. Yes, it was mov­ing fast, but I was ex­cited. Ben was even bet­ter-look­ing in real life. As soon as we were sit­ting down with our drinks, the con­ver­sa­tion flowed and when I next looked at my watch, I re­alised three hours had gone by.

As we said good­bye, Ben promised he’d mes­sage me. And by the time I got home, he had. ‘I had such a great time,’ he wrote. Then, ‘Same again to­mor­row?’ I’ll ad­mit, I was sur­prised to hear from him so soon.

To some peo­ple, it might have seemed full-on, but to me, it was re­fresh­ing. It was nice he knew what he wanted. Af­ter that, things moved fast and we saw each other ev­ery day.

Less than a month later, Ben needed some­where to stay while the sale went through on the house he was buy­ing. ‘You can move in with me,’ I said.

‘It’s not for­ever,’ I told friends when they ex­pressed con­cern.

But I wasn’t wor­ried – we were spend­ing all our time to­gether any­way – it made sense.

Liv­ing to­gether, we got on bet­ter than ever. We’d said

‘I love you’ just a cou­ple of days later, then he took me to meet his par­ents.

But all too soon, Ben’s house sale had gone through and I re­alised I was dread­ing him leav­ing.

‘You could al­ways move in with me?’ he said. I didn’t even have to think about it. ‘Yes!’ I cried, grab­bing him for a hug.

‘He moved in within a month’

On again, off again: Caro­line and An­drew were en­gaged af­ter just two months

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