You’ve often heard people talk of ‘moving too fast’ when it comes to new relationships. It could be friends warning a friend of a fast commitment or one party feeling overwhelmed by the partner’s speed in the relationship. Unlike in the older days when there seemed to be a guideline on the stages and timelines of dating, couples today seem to make their own rules on the go. The pace of the new relationship relies entirely on the couple involved. While there are no rules per se on the speed of a relationship, there are a few do’s and don’ts to help you pace and build a healthy relationship.
1. Avoid Spending Too Much Together In The Beginning
Got a couple of days off work, and you want to spend all day and night with your new crush? It’s probably wise not to spend so much time together. Although you have heard stories of couples that imply they were inseparable from the moment they met, too much intensity at the beginning of a relationship often leads to the flame fizzling out fast.
There’s absolutely no reason to treat knowing a potential mate like doing a crash course. You need a couple of weeks to learn people, and you have better chances of seeing their true colours by hanging out with them over a long period of time. In the beginning, people are blinded by the emotions that they ignore flaws and red flags. Spending too much time together in the honeymoon stage fosters an environment that will result in you making important decisions based on heightened emotions.
It’s advisable to increase the amount of time as your relationship progresses gradually. There’s no fixed schedule, but you could move from meeting once a week to twice as you grow fonder of each other. You’ve probably heard of couples who got married four months after meeting because they were ‘inseparable’ and divorced shortly after because they barely knew each other. Knowing each other for years before committing does not guarantee a successful long term relationship, but it increases the chances of you knowing your partner better before making big decisions.
2. Ask Important Questions
So you’ve met this incredible person, and you’ve been talking for a couple of weeks, even months, and you seem to be totally in sync. You have shared so many secrets but are you on the same page? You’ve probably met a lovely couple who have been going steady for a while, but they have different ideas for the future. For example, one could be thinking it’s time to meet the parents after six months while the other party thinks it’s too soon.
When it comes to relationships, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for couples. Different people have different approaches towards ‘milestones’ that typically define a relationship’s progress. Some people introduce potential partners to their families early on in the relationship so that if the family disapproves, they can part ways early enough. Others will wait until they are sure that the relationship has a future to introduce them to the essential people in their lives.
Asking critical questions helps you pace your relationship accordingly because you understand what each person prefers. You avoid conflict, and false expectations brought about by assumptions. You don’t want to be picking out engagement rings for someone who is not even sure they want to get married, let alone get married to you.
3. Go Slow on Physical Intimacy
The right time to have sex in a new relationship is controversial. There is, of course, the 90-day rule that elicits mixed reactions. On the other hand, some people choose to get into it as soon as possible, even on the first date. The decision on how soon to engage in physical intimacy depends on the personal choice of each couple as long as both parties consent to it. There isn’t a rule that suits all couples. However, while waiting 90 days may not work for many couples, it’s advisable to know each other for a while before sharing that level of intimacy.
Having sex with someone changes the dynamics of relationships. So, having sex with someone you hardly know can result in feeling a false sense of closeness with that person. Sexual intercourse also acts as a catalyst for defining relationships with people even when some parties are not ready to make such commitments. There’s also the possibility of pregnancy before having such critical discussions, which changes the pace of the relationship.
4. Maintain Your Individualism
Time and time again, we have seen people completely lose themselves in their new partners. Once they start seeing someone who completely sweeps them off their feet, they begin to act as though they had no life before the person’s arrival. They spend less and less time with friends, neglect their interests and hobbies, and immerse themselves completely into the new lover’s world.
Whether this new person ends being your life partner or not, you must maintain your life. Make time for your friends and family as you did before. Of course, with the entry of someone new in your life, you will naturally reduce the time spent with friends and your interests to create time for the new partner. However, make sure you maintain a healthy balance.
Losing yourself in someone is an indicator that the relationship isn’t moving at a healthy pace. The honeymoon phase is filled with jitters and hormones that make you somewhat obsessed with the other person, but this is no reason to overturn your life. Don’t neglect your old friends or hobbies for a new relationship. After all, you don’t fully know your new partner, and you don’t want to lose friends over a relationship that might not last.
Relationships are unique to each couple. There’s no template on the speed of relationships. However, you don’t want your relationship to move at such a fast speed that you miss out on essential details or feel overwhelmed. You also don’t want it to move at a very slow pace, as this would indicate a problem. Good communication and self-awareness of each person will ensure that you are moving together towards the same relationship goals.
Need more relationship tips? Check out 10 Mistakes To Avoid In New Relationships