My passion is writing about love, sex, dating, and relationships. I write based on my own personal experiences and those that I relate to.
Everyone wants to rush to the finish line—relationship exclusivity, without fully knowing what the actual prize is—who they are really dating, causing a potential ending to an undeveloped beginning.
You hear it all the time, people who rush into the next level—sex, boyfriend/girlfriend, moving in together, marriage, there tends to be a bigger risk that the relationship will fail. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of it all, since during the first weeks, sometimes months, it's the honeymoon stage where everything seems perfect. But, the true test of any relationship is how that person reacts in stressful situations, when they are angry, disappointed, tired or hungry. How will they treat you when things don't go their way? And of course, are they truly a great communicator or is their communication style to emotionally shut down and walk away?
It's important to take time to know someone—fully enjoying each stage of the relationship, so that you build a strong foundation to help the relationship last, as well as keeping the spark that attracted you alive.
I'm definitely a sucker for romance, who isn't? Hearing stories of couples who meet, instantly become exclusive, then weeks later get married—is very romantic. But, when you actually hear a story like that, usually the ending is break-up/divorce.
Most women would love their life to be like a romantic movie, in which the guy instantly knows that she is the one—causing him to go out of his way to create a happily-ever-after with her. But realistically when a friend tells you that they have met a guy, after a few weeks have fallen in love, and are exclusively dating—as happy as you want to be for them, you're filled with concern since you can already see the disaster ahead, like a car crash that you can't avoid.
I've said this before, most people who fall in love quickly, are in love with the idea of the person (pedestal syndrome), not the actual person. In order for any relationship to survive and for love to develop, there needs to be communication, but also time spent together. Time fully getting to know each other. Time creating experiences. Time for the honeymoon stage to dissipate and the core of the person to appear. Time to build a strong foundation past the sexual desires. And time to interact with the outside world—family, friends, work stuff, etc to see if you actually are compatible in all aspects of life.
Relationships that move too quickly will end just as quickly. When a person is desperately seeking companionship and love, they do not take the proper time to date, and get to know their potential partner—I've been guilty of this.
I have dated guys who have swept me off my feet in the beginning, and since we were still in the honeymoon stages of dating, would push exclusively. Although knowing a guy wants to be exclusive is flattering, it is also about their ego, taking the other person off the market—like a trophy they have won. Realistically, when you don't know someone thoroughly, how can you decide to be exclusive? There's an order for things for a reason. It's not first comes marriage, then comes love...it's first comes love, then comes marriage.
Why would you be exclusive, and then get to know the person? I'm not saying that you need to know 100 things about the person before exclusivity, but most people don't even know ten things! (middle name, political views, birth date, sibling names, religious views, place of birth, allergies, passions, favorite color, etc)
Needless to say, once I was exclusive, the effort these men put into maintaining the relationship dwindled. The dating and planning became nights staying in, and the expectation was for me to come to them versus them coming to me. When you do not immerse yourself in the dating experience, you lose out on creating a pattern of working together to keep the spark ignited—and continually making each other feel special.
The beautiful thing about dating is that it gives you the time to get to know one another. The longer you date, the more experiences you create, and the truth becomes clear if long term will work.
When you first start dating, you don't meet the person, you meet their representative—aka: that person is putting their best foot forward—showing you who they think you will like the most. Eventually, the true self always appears, and that person might not be who you really want for the long haul. That's why it's important to date someone for at least two months (preferably longer) before deciding if going to the next level is right.
Relationships that are rushed are bound to fizzle quickly.
Many people treat relationships like sex. In the beginning, there is a little foreplay—dating, before they jump right into sex—a relationship. It's very rare that two people who rush into sex, just like two people who rush into a relationship, end up lasting. With men, if you sleep with them too soon, they usually lose interest since there is nothing to work for any more. Same with relationships—if you rush from dating to an exclusive relationship, complacency sets in, the courting ceases, and before you know it your date nights consist of evenings at his house watching movies and eating takeout. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with staying home once in a while, but if you didn't rush the dating process, would he still value you as the prize?
Ladies, it's also not just men. Some women tend to get lazy in their appearance once they are in a relationship —not working out as much, going from sexy to frumpy, living in casual clothes, never putting on high heels and dresses.
When you take the time to embrace the dating experience—giving the relationship time to bloom, you have a better chance of having a successful one.
One of my girlfriends used to rush the dating experience. She would always have a boyfriend after just a few weeks of dating. This same scenario brought similar situations—these men would go from planning dates, and putting their best foot forward, to doing the complete opposite once they knew that she was their girlfriend. These men didn't try to keep the relationship blossoming because they got what they wanted—her. This pattern got old quickly. My friend decided that the next guy she dated, she would take her time, and not rush the dating experience
By not rushing the dating experience with the next guy, she was able to determine if they were a great fit for each other. During this extended dating (three months) a pattern was developed and formed—by continually trying on both their parts. Guess what, not only did they keep the spark alive, they created a bond that developed slowly, a deeper bond than she has ever experienced previously. This time around, this guy not only become her boyfriend, but is leading her on the path to marriage.
Ladies, take time to enjoy the experience of dating. If he is truly the right guy, he will want to take his time to build a relationship with you—valuing you and what you both have together. Know that relationships should be treated like delicate flowers. When you take time to find the right soil, plant the right seeds, and water properly....you will have a garden (relationship) that will continue to grow.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Stephanie Bailey (author) from Denver on July 14, 2014:
Thanks dashingscorpio. Agree, agree, agree! :) Thank you for reading!
dashingscorpio from Chicago on July 08, 2014:
AMEN! Voted up, useful, and awesome! (Great advice)
Your statement: "Realistically, when you don't know someone thoroughly, how can you decide to be exclusive?" says it all.
I've been advising people (especially women) on this topic. They're too afraid of becoming "emotionally invested" if they take things slower. This drives them to want to jump to "exclusive status" BEFORE they know if this is the person has the traits they're looking for!
It's the equivalent of hiring someone without conducting multiple interviews or verifying their education, past employment, and references.
Although without a doubt there are stories of those who "instantly knew" they met "the love of their life" and continue to live happily ever after.... those are the "exceptions" and not the rule.
Most people are better off having "milestones" when it comes to a relationship progressing. Never commit to anyone you know very little about.
Dating multiple people is the equivalent of a company interviewing multiple candidates until they find the "right one" to offer the job. Having said that you don't want to infer or mislead anyone either.
Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse. You owe it to yourself to make the best choice possible. That takes time.