Lisa was a childhood friend who had been dating her boyfriend, Jeff for three months before they got engaged.
Although I wanted to be happy for them, I couldn’t quite silence the dread that had been building in my stomach since they started dating.
“I love you’s” were exchanged after only a couple of weeks, and by all appearances, the two of them were leaping into the relationship without thinking twice or even really knowing each other well.
Throughout their engagement, it became clear that they both wanted very different futures. The wedding was called off, and all that remained was two people who had good intentions but hadn’t taken the time actually to get to know each other.
There are extreme benefits to pacing yourself in a relationship, many that I had to learn the hard way. Here are four reasons why you should take things slowly with a new romantic interest.
#1. You don’t want to cheat yourself out of future moments
Think about a night when you had a little too much to drink. At the moment, you may have an absolute blast dancing and laughing. Then, you start feeling sick and have to cut the night short. The next morning arrives, and you find out that you missed out on some exceptional moments that you could have shared with your friends.
It’s similar to a new relationship. Sure, you could say “I love you” right away, spend every moment with your new romantic interest, and rush straight into being serious. Still, you may be cheating yourself on the joyful moments you would have experienced by going just a little slower.
You don’t have to feel rushed if someone is the right fit. You can enjoy the entire relationship stage, from the beginning rush to the comfort that comes later.
#2. You don’t want to give your heart to someone who isn’t the best fit
My parents were married after three months of knowing each other. Thirty years went by with two people looking back and wishing they had found a better match because they weren’t compatible.
Their example is a prime one of how often people settle for the wrong fit because they rush into what feels good at the time.
There has never been a relationship that I’ve looked back and thought to myself, “I wish I hadn’t gone so slow.” Instead, there are moments that I look back upon and wish I hadn’t moved so quickly because it caused me to spend far too much time on people who weren’t a compatible match for me.
#3. You can figure out if your future goals and ambitions align
Across the street from my library in college was a little coffee shop, where I sat with my boyfriend at the time. We had just started dating a couple of weeks prior. Somehow, the topic of kids was bought up, and I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if I wanted them.
My boyfriend didn’t say a word until months later when we were in the midst of a screaming match. He said that he wanted to get married soon even though we were so young and that he had hoped “that he could change my mind.”
It is not healthy to force someone into what you want simply because of a timeline. If you pace yourself, you can identify if someone aligns with you and be in the right headspace to walk away if they don’t.
#4. You can keep a clear head for when potential red flags arise
A friend of mine went through a toxic relationship and then a divorce several years ago.
Her healing journey has been incredible to watch as she has been a pillar of strength and healing. After several years of working on herself and building a life that she loves, she is exploring dating again with a very different perspective.
For a month, she was seeing someone that began displaying behaviors that felt off to her. Instead of allowing herself to have her vision tainted by rose-colored glasses, my friend listened to her gut that he kept secrets from her, which turned out to be true.
As he begged for her to forgive him, she realized that in the past, she would have. Still, because she had said honesty was the most important element to her in a relationship, she decided to cut ties instead of sticking around to see whether or not the lies would continue.
Pacing yourself is never going to be a bad thing.
When I was younger, I immediately jumped into every relationship and put everything on the table.
Something within me shifted when I met my fiance. Although I was excited, there was a little voice in the back of my head that said to pull back slightly and not try to fast-forward the relationship simply because I was impatient. I’m so glad that I did because we moved at a healthy pace, and it allowed us to build a connection before making things official truly.
Pacing yourself will allow you to take the time you need to assess whether or not someone is a match and ensure that you know exactly what you are getting into.
If someone isn’t willing to take it at the pace you are comfortable with, that’s an answer in itself that they were most likely not a healthy match.