3 Reasons to Slow Down in New Relationships

Crystal Jackson

When I say I’m a fool for love, it’s not an exaggeration. Love often leaves me feeling foolish — particularly when I’ve gone all-in on relationships with partners who were keeping their cards close to their chests. I’m left with the bitter taste of being the last one to see what was probably obvious to everyone else and loving, once again, where I wasn’t cherished and chosen.

I don’t think I should stop loving so fiercely, but I have become an advocate for slowing down relationships. It’s not just an attempt to ward off that foolish feeling either. There’s wisdom in going slowly when it comes to love.

#1 Love is blind — at first.

We don’t see someone’s true nature in those first few months of a relationship. We see them at their best — when love or infatuation help them to shine brightly. In fact, a lot of the cute little quirks we adore at the beginning become absolutely unbearable later on when the shine has worn off.

This is why it’s so important to slow down. It takes time to truly get to know someone — not just their best days but their bad ones, too. Give it a little more time. This will also help them see you better, too, so when you choose each other, you know it’s for who you truly are and not just who you are at your best and brightest.

In my experience, we start to see our partners more clearly in the four to six-month range. Before that, we may not be seeing the full picture — or clearly demonstrating our own. We might want to think about this before we rush to update our relationship status.

#2 Compatibility is key.

Rushing through relationships can sometimes skip key compatibility markers. A couple can be great on their own but disastrous around other people. This may seem unimportant, but most of us want our significant others to be able to get along with our family and friends — particularly as the people close to us may see red flags we could be ignoring. Slowing down our relationships can give us time to see how we fit outside of a one-on-one context.

Try traveling together or spend a few days living together. These tryouts of sorts can help determine if we’re compatible in other contexts. It’s great that we can envision a future with this person — but we need to make sure the compatibility lasts longer than the first flush of love in the relationship. If we haven’t even survived the first fight, we may not want to rush ahead to the next stage of the relationship.

#3 What’s the hurry?

We might want to ask ourselves what’s the hurry if we find that we rush relationships. An anxious attachment could be the answer, or maybe we think that we won’t find anyone better. Anxiety isn’t the best reason to move forward in a relationship, and there’s no one in the world who truly wants to be a consolation prize because nothing else worked out.

It could also be a matter of timing. We might be ready for the next step, and this person we’re with happens to be there at the right time for us to move forward. That doesn’t mean it’s the best relationship to take that next step. Removing that sense of pressure can help us figure out if this is the right move or if we’re just doing what we think we should do next.

Sometimes, love is the reason that compels a sense of urgency. It’s a good reason, but we need to recognize that we don’t have to rush forward because we feel a rush of love. Instead, we can learn to savor it and enjoy the moments along the way without having to race toward them.

With all that being said, there is a reason we should hurry up and get out.

Beware uncertainty

The right person won’t make us question if they actually want to be with us. How they feel will be clear in their words and actions. There are no mind games happening here.

They also won’t need years to make up their minds about a future with us. Uncertainty is natural in any relationship, but sometimes, it can be a sign that the person we’re with isn’t committed to the relationship. Feeling like we have to push our partner toward the next step should be a red flag that they aren’t ready — and likely never will be. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is hurry up and leave when all the indicators are present that the other person isn’t invested at the same level we are.

“If they say they don’t want a relationship right now, that’s not an invitation to sit in their waiting room.” ~Rising Woman

Feeling uncertainty at that level is a sure sign we should leave and choose ourselves. It isn’t self-loving to stay in relationships where the love we’re given is so much less than the love we need. A person who loves us in the way we need to be loved will choose us, too — and they won’t leave us drowning in uncertainty in the process.

So much of my foolishness in love has come from leaping into love without looking. It would be so much wiser to move a little more slowly and to enjoy relationships unfolding rather than rushing them toward some conclusion. After all, destinations are really only an illusion. Our relationships happen in those day-to-day moments of connection, not in exchanges of rings and vows or joining households. Taking our time allows us to make sure the relationships are healthy and not just convenient.

Sometimes, we just need to slow down and give it time. The right relationships aren’t going anywhere. The wrong ones were never going to stay. If fools rush in, perhaps wisdom is simply slowing down.

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Crystal Jackson is a former therapist turned writer. She is the author of the Heart of Madison series and a volume of poetry entitled My Words Are Whiskey. Her work has been featured on Medium, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, The Good Men Project, and Elephant Journal. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, paddle boarding, cycling, throwing axes badly but with terrifying enthusiasm, hiking, or curled up with her nose in a book in Madison, Georgia, where she lives with one puppy and two wild and wonderful children. Crystal writes about relationships, mental health, parenting, social justice, and more. Never miss an update. Subscribe to emails: https://crystaljacksonwriter.substack.com/

Madison, GA

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