I make a rule of never giving couples a timetable of how long certain phases should last in their relationship. There are just too many factors that go into the success or failure of a relationship based on time alone. However, I do encourage a healthy dose of moderation as the partnership progresses. For most, it’s like telling a child to slowly open their presents on Christmas right before they are going to tear the wrapping paper to shreds. Moving at a healthy pace is the last thing on your mind when you’re starting something new.
Are We Moving Too Fast
Lover of Life, welcome to the honeymoon phase where everything is new and interesting. Conversations are compelling, time flies by when together, and even their quirks make you smile. If you’re a month in and want to get married, your honeymoon phase may look like this:
- Week 1: The Fantasy – You’re sitting on the couch watching something on Netflix and, before you know it, you’re in a Disney movie staring at your Mr. or Mrs. Charming. The birds are chirping and you find yourself humming a random love song to yourself.
- Week 2 – The Intensity – Two dates in, you have planned an entire wedding in your head. Another date later, you’ve started mapping it out on a Pinterest board.
- Week 3: The Insanity – Three weeks in and you’re spending every waking minute together and your friends are rolling their eyes.
I know they seem amazing. No, they’re breathtaking, right? Look, take a breath and ask yourself the question at hand: Are we moving too fast? I’ve been in some unhealthy relationships that moved like a Fast and Furious movie without the professional stunt drivers. In our mutual infatuation (no stalkers here), we crashed and burned on the highway of love. Remember that relationships are navigational and, often, asymmetrical. No two relationships will be the same, so you have to find the pace that works for both of you. Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering if your relationship is cruising or about to crash.
Do we talk too much?
I know this seems like an odd question, but newly formed relationships that jump from 0 to 100 overnight have a similar sign of being unhealthy. It’s a few weeks in and your bae wants a play-by-play of your entire day. At first having someone who seems honestly concerned about your life and well-being is flattering. Then their constant check-ins begin to feel a bit suffocating.
You may be tempted to brush off your partner’s persistent phone calls, text messages and comments on social media as adorable puppy love but sadly this is not always the case. There’s a difference between calling your partner to talk about your day because you’re excited and want to, and feeling like you have to check-in (or else). If it starts feeling like an obligation to keep your new partner from getting angry, it’s an obvious sign your relationship is moving at an unhealthy pace.
Do we make choices for ourselves or each other?
I’m sure someone has told you that relationships require compromise — and they do. But while you want to make a good first impression with your new boo, you shouldn’t be bending over backward to make yourself compatible with anyone.
A good gauge for the pace of your relationship is how often you compromise to make it work. Why? Because it reveals that your expectations are not aligned and you could end up making decisions that don’t make you 100% comfortable. Here’s how you know if your compromises are happening too quickly: ask yourself if you’ll be comfortable with your decisions in 4-6 months—whether you’re with your partner or not. Firework relationships tend to fizzle out rather quickly so think twice before sharing a password or meeting their parents. It will save you a lot of heartache in the future.
Do we feel comfortable making independent decisions?
A relationship red flag is one or both of you having trouble making decisions without your partner early on. Couples can often lose their individuality in a relationship. Over time, couples will dress, speak and even act in a similar manner. While there are decisions couples should make together (like how soon to sleep together), scheduling a night out with friends shouldn’t be on the list. It’s a sign your relationship is busting past the speed limit. Just evaluate your gut before and after including your partner in your decisions. If you feel discomfort, trust it.
Do you hide things from friends and loved ones?
Do you normally share everything in a group text with your closest friends but find yourself dodging conversations about your relationship? Unhealthy relationships usually involve a lot of secret-keeping. How do I know? Because I’ve been there. When I was in an unhealthy relationship, I covered for my partner because I knew my friends would say, “whoa, that’s not like you! Are you okay?”
Lover of Life, relationship privacy is important, but if something is keeping you from sharing details of your partnership with those you love, it can be a sign that something is wrong. When I was “relationship drag racing,” I couldn’t tell my partner and I were moving too fast. I should’ve seen the signs, though. I was making big decisions I knew my friends would disapprove of because it was way too early on in my relationship. The lesson I learned? Being honest with yourself and your tribe is the best way to check yourself when you get swept away in love ecstasy.
Bae, seriously—what’s the rush?
When I am love coaching a young couple, I ask them, “What’s the rush?” It can take at least 3 weeks just to see your tinder king/queen’s unique quirks and personality traits. So moving slower is more sensible. The infatuation wants to make you press down on the gas and take off, but what are you racing towards? More time? Getting to know each other faster? Often, it’s nothing more than you trying to impress someone else or trying to prove something to yourself.
Lover of Life, achieving mutual commitment and finding a common relationship pace that works for both of you is not easy. It normally happens with time, time that can’t be rushed. While saying that, I acknowledge that people can stay married to someone they met and married in six months. Yes, it is a possibility, but more like an anomaly. Safe guide your relationship by adhering to the speed that feels best for both of you. You’ll avoid unnecessary accidents or incidents with a little self-control.