Maybe half a year ago, a dude I was dating took me along to buy his weed. At the time I barely smoked and didn't know much about pot, but I *do* love plants so when it turned out the person selling said weed also grew it, I immediately got super curious about the life cycle and habits of the pot plant. Because plant people often "get" each other this resulted in an hour long rambling conversation drifting from best hydroponic practices, to some deep personal anxiety the grower had about his ability to be a good partner to the woman he was dating.
At the time this marriage of topics made sense, and after helping him process some deep feelings and giving advice for moving forward (namely, own your mistakes and apologize for them, if the pain of losing a partner is worse to you than the pain of bruised pride), he brought me two recent clones off his mother plant, as a gift. He said in all earnestness, "they are like my children, and I feel like you get it and will take care of them."
Suddenly I went from "Mags who has smoked once or twice" to "Mags who grows girl scout cookie kush." The relationship I was in ended, and he didn't want to keep the plants, so here I was driving around with some pot plants in my trunk.
Once I settled into my Bay Area home, I started researching how to tend to my new plants. So, here's the thing: Weed is called weed for a reason. It's super resilient and hard to kill. But, it's first goal is propagating itself, which is not really in line with the primary goal of humans growing it. Left to it's own devices, it waits until natural light cues tell it to start flowering, then directs all its resources to flowering. If it's a little bit stressed out by inconsistent light or wrong nutrients, it'll become a hermaphrodite and self-fertilize, prioritizing it's main goal (making seeds) over our main goal (it developing huge flowers for smoking purposes).
I am an impatient partner. My heart and body are, from some combination of hormones, evolution, and upbringing, fast to bond, and the moment it seems like it could be a good time for it I start trying to make a relationship something that will move towards life partnership and child-bearing. Much like a weed plant, what my heart does left to it's own devices is goal-oriented, but not necessarily useful for my higher-functioning priorities.
The biggest and best kolas (the flower part of the weed plant- what you smoke) happen when your plants have had all the time, light, and nutrients they need to form a hefty thick stalk with many fan leaves, which the plant uses to create energy during it's life but especially when flowering. During flowering, almost all nutrients go into the flower itself, and many fan leaves die- so you need a hefty bush of them before it's a good time to flower. This takes a lot of patience, and setbacks along the way like erratic weather or various pests can slow down when it's the right time to flower. Sure, you can get a flower without all of these factors just right, but your yield will be... underwhelming.
My last relationship zoomed along, experiencing the rapid growth you'd see in a plant given ample light, fertilizers, and ideal growing conditions. Like an over-zealous grower excited about the health of the plant and impatient for a harvest, we shifted into something more serious than either of us were able to support right now. While the first signs of flowering were exciting, it quickly became apparent that the yield was not going to be what we were looking for, because it was too soon. If you throw your flowered-too-soon pot plants under a 24/7 grow light to disrupt their flowering cycle, they'll stop growing new kolas, but they still need to finish maturing the ones they started. The shift from flowering back to vegetating takes weeks, and for a while there I wasn't sure if my plants were going to make it.
I don't know if you can scale back a relationship. If something that was healthy and beautiful that tried to flower too soon, before the physical structures like a sturdy stem, or emotional energy structures like ample fan leaves, were developed enough to support it, can go back to healthy. My pot plants made a full recovery, and I currently have 3 quart jars full of buds curing. I don't know the future of my (ex) relationship, but I do know moving forward to let my heart grow into love like a pot plant: focus on physical and emotional structures first, feed often with nutrients that promote growth of stabilizing patterns, and be patient.
Love, like kola maturation and bud curing, is worth the wait for best results.