I was less than enthused about the last person I dated, but could not put my finger on why. He was nice, smart, attractive, and I had enough fun with him, but something wasn't right. At first, I chalked my indifference up to a personal tendency towards being overly critical. I had shoved off the detritus of my last long-term relationship, and was feeling open to new things and experiences. Dating him felt like something I should be doing -- or at least trying -- so I did. My enthusiasm never peaked though. It merely flatlined at a "I guess this is good enough" level for six months. It was only after we broke up that I was able to identify what was really going on: I was in a panic relationship.
A panic relationship is one that is formed by reaction as opposed to desire. Perhaps you meet someone, and you're in a delicate emotional state, emerging from a long, drawn out breakup. Perhaps the future looms ahead of you, with a vision of yourself greying slowly into spinsterhood. Maybe you've decided that you are ready to drop your mantle of shunning new experiences and will let someone in, completely and totally. Or maybe it's fall and the prospect of romping through foliage is enticing. So you do it, you commit. You go on some dates, you settle into a routine -- and then what?