How Do You Know if You Are Moving Too Fast in a Relationship?
We've all been cautioned against letting a relationship develop too quickly. There seems to be a belief that if two people jump into a relationship too fast, they're on a collision course for failure. Yet some long-enduring couples (Ronald and Nancy Reagan are the first to come to my mind) claim they knew from the moment they met that they were meant to be together.
This article will explore the way relationships develop and whether there is an ideal timeline for new couples to observe.
Love is a Drug, Baby
People in the beginning stages of a relationship have been compared to drug addicts. They want to tell the whole world about what a great guy or girl they've discovered. They can't wait to see the object of their affection. Thoughts of that person crop into their mind repeatedly throughout the day. They do irrational things and think it perfectly acceptable.
Looking deeper, we find that their brains are doing things that closely resemble an addict's brain patterns, too. Don't worry, there won't be any difficult explanations about neuro-whatchamacallits here. Let's keep it simple and say that at least four different hormones are affecting how the new lover perceives the world around him and how he responds.
Scientists tell us that this initial attraction can last anywhere from a few months to around a year and a half. In other words, at some point in the first couple of years, those hormone highs fade and our perceptions return to the same levels they were while we were single.
This seems like a sound argument for taking things slowly, doesn't it? After all, you won't reallybe thinking straight until your brain's back to normal, and the same can be said for your lover.
However, by slowing down your relationship's development, you may be defeating the whole purpose that Mother Nature (or God, if you prefer) had in mind for us. There are two key factors that are sabotaged when we interfere with the pace of the process.
The first interference relates to sex. Indeed, most suggestions to take things slowly revolve around delaying intercourse. Sadly, this means men have gotten a bad rap for being too focused on wanting to have sex, and women have been taught to feel shame if they indulge too quickly. But those social implications are beside the point. Sex is, and always will be, an important area of compatibility that couples must evaluate.
Dating is a period in which two people get to know each other sufficiently to figure out whether they're compatible, right? The pillars of compatibility are: 1. Emotional 2. Intellectual 3. Sexual 4. Spiritual. (I personally include a fifth one, Financial.)
A major incompatibility in even one area can leave a relationship struggling. If more than one area are in conflict, the relationship is unlikely to be permanent.
Here's Why - And How to Spot 'Em
Respect Red Flags
This brings us to the second key factor. If the dating period is an opportunity to evaluate those pillars of compatibility, the hormones that are affecting us signal what's good and bad. They magnify our partner's effects on our lives. We feel exhiliration over the smallest pleasures, and utter anguish over minor miscommunications. This is nature's way of showing us what we need to see before we get too invested.
Unfortunately, many of us take those moments of anguish and turn them into justifiable explanations instead of seeing them for what they are - signals of incompatibility. Meanwhile, those hormones are still firing off at the speed of light, and they are what makes it possible for us to bond to other people.
Here are some common red flags that people often regret ignoring:
- "I'm so busy! I need someone who understands that I just don't have time."
- "I'll settle down if I find the right person, but for now I just want to have fun."
- "I don't trust anyone."
- "It's hard to reach me by phone. Just send a text."
The suggestion to take things slowly is an excellent one if we're unable to see those tortured moments for what they are. By withholding some of our financial and emotional investment, we can wait for our bodies to settle down before making costly commitments that we'll regret later. However, that doesn't mean simply forsaking sex. It means taking the time to learn your partner's compatibility in every aspect.
Let Nature Take its Course
This was how it worked a hundred years ago. You engaged in a long courtship, spending very little time alone with your partner, and getting to know them as an individual before deciding to devote yourself to that one individual. You considered their stability, their ability to remain devoted, and their companionship. If these were satsifactory, you married them. Maybe you discovered that your sex life was not good only after marriage, but it wasn't okay to consider sexual compatibility as a factor in your marital happiness then.
Today, it is. So while your body's saying "Hey, here's a good bond! Look how good it feels!" we shouldn't hesitate to find out all we can about every facet of compatibility with our potential partner, including physical intimacy, as long as we pay attention to those signals that tell you "Wait a minute - it might be time to slow down."
How do you recognize those signals? For one thing, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of being physically intimate. You may find yourself feeling bad over something that happens or something that your partner says. Perhaps you feel puzzled, and cannot understand his or her viewpoint on a subject that is important to you. If you're really lucky, the signs will be obvious - he doesn't call as often as you'd like, or she flirts with other men in your presence. Rather than talking yourself into trying to change your viewpoint, pay attention and step back to evaluate.
If none of those things is happening, though, simply enjoy and let your relationship develop at its own pace. After all, we're most interested in the people who are genuinely into us. Why fight that and try to push them away?
jellygator (author) from USA on February 19, 2013:
I like that, MissJamieD! Thank you!
MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 19, 2013:
Very good hub. I also agree that we need to let nature take it's course. If you listen to your heart and mind, it will guide you. I say "if there's ever a doubt, get out."
jellygator (author) from USA on January 21, 2013:
Thanks, Theresa! Now if only we could recognize that the things we read really *do* apply to us, huh? LOL
Theresa Kennedy from Minnesota on January 21, 2013:
Another great hub that I need to link to from one of mine! So many of us have had to learn the hard way, but sharing what we've learned can help others from making the same mistakes and maybe validate those struggling to end a bad relationship.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 10, 2012:
That's exactly what most people should do, not by simply refusing to have sex but by giving their brains enough time to catch up with the pheromones and such.
Thank you for reading and commenting, Gail!
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on October 10, 2012:
I enjoyed reading your hub. This is a different perspective than I ever recall reading. I guess the key is to find that balance between jumping too fast and going too slow. If you can find it while your hormones are raging and you can't think straight. lol The more attracted I am, the more I seem to stand back to try to see who I'm dealing with. Voted up!
jellygator (author) from USA on October 03, 2012:
Thanks for checking it out, Carol and Andielynn! We've all made mistakes, and hopefully we've learned from them. I do hope someone can learn from this the pain-free way!
Andielynn23 on October 03, 2012:
I wish that I would have seen this when I was 18, it would have saved me from making a lot of stupid mistakes about my feelings.
carol stanley from Arizona on October 03, 2012:
I came upon this hub and thought I would read. I am always interested what people write about relationships.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 03, 2012:
Thanks very much, khmohsin!
khmohsin on October 03, 2012:
Thank you very much for your lovely hubs . The same things were floating in my heads too. Now I am sharing this with my friends.
voted and liked
jellygator (author) from USA on October 02, 2012:
Thank you for sharing it!
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on October 02, 2012:
A girlfriend and I were discussing this very topic yesterday so I am passing along the Hub to her. She will be translating it from English to Croatian. Regards.
jellygator (author) from USA on October 02, 2012:
Anastasia Kingsley from Croatia, Europe on October 01, 2012:
Excellent point of view, Jellygator. Congratulations for making the Hottest Hubs today!
So true, when people are compatible, the energy really flows. The red flags are there for a reason, though. Financial pillar - absolutely. I like how you compared courtships of the past to today's society. Imagine that we can - and really should - keep it slow to avoid painful mistakes that can definitely be avoided. Kind of like a road map for new, successful relationships. Voted up and Awesome!
jellygator (author) from USA on September 24, 2012:
:) Thanks, Mariaa!
Mariaa on September 24, 2012:
Omgg , That is really Story o.O
jellygator (author) from USA on April 27, 2012:
Thanks, Suzette! I'll look forward to getting to know you, too.
Suzette Vearnon from Raleigh on April 27, 2012:
Gurl, I'm gonna follow you! I like your point of view. Thanks so much for contribution. Now (chewing on pencil), where is that "follow" button? LOL.
jellygator (author) from USA on February 21, 2012:
What's up, Jess?
jess on February 21, 2012:
Can someone please help me
jellygator (author) from USA on January 30, 2012:
I think how much time is needed depends a lot on the individuals. My most successful relationships actually moved faster than less successful ones sometimes, but the problems I ignored bit me in the butt whether I moved fast or not, so I hope that the central idea of calling a red flag what it is can help people - no matter how fast or slowly their relationship develops.
Thanks for reading and commenting, sgbrown!
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on January 29, 2012:
Very good information jellygator! People do tend to move too fast these days. You have to spend some quality time with a person to see if you even really like them. If the person doesn't want to "wait" to get to know you, they don't want a real relationship anyway. Dating is one thing, a relationship is a whole "nother" ball game! Voted this up and useful. Thank you for SHARING this information. :)
jellygator (author) from USA on September 09, 2011:
Thanks, Terri! I've found that it's possible to move too fast if we're ignore those signs, but when the relationship is a great one, they naturally move quickly too.
Terishere on September 09, 2011:
Interesting article! For myself, I find being friends first is best. Usually you can see if you're compatible or not without the pressure, and feeling will start to develop within the friendship. I usually am attracted to the personality, which takes time to get to know their personality.
I've in the past, jumped in too fast, and what a mistake. Looking back, there were red flags.
But like your article says, you don't want to wait too long. If your in a new relationship and you're compatible...good, as long as no red flags are ignored.
Voted up and useful!