Most people know at least one friend with a history of moving into new relationships much too fast. This typically results in disaster, but the cycle seems to repeat itself over and over. Often people tend to rush into relationships when they know they cannot sustain the current status quo.
The person rushing the relationship or pushing the fast pace may be highly manipulative, creating a reality that is simply not true. With a whirlwind of activities, love bombing, and constantly being everything to you, they sweep you along in their relationship goals, even if something inside of you is not comfortable with the speed of the developments.
Signs of Potential Concern
The signs you may see or experience that should alert you to a potential problem include:
- Constant togetherness – rushing into a relationship typically involves spending all your time together. You are actively encouraged by the partner to eliminate friends and family from your life so you can just focus on “us.” This is the first sign of isolation, a common strategy with toxic people.
- Constant contact – when you are apart for work or other obligations, you are in constant contact through text, social media, or calls. If you don’t respond immediately, the partner ramps up the pace. At the same time, they make you feel guilty for giving them concern.
- Sex is a priority – rather than spending time talking, doing things with friends or family, or even engaging in typical dating activities, your partner has a priority on sex. While this may seem flattering at first, the demands often increase while anything you may want to do is ignored or pushed to the side.
- Early talk about moving in, marriage, or kids – if you are only dating for a few weeks or even months, big milestone discussions that seem to take for granted they are happening in the near future are a red flag.
- They are your first concern – it is normal to have some give and take in a relationship, but if you feel you cannot do what you want or you have to prioritize their needs, it is a problem. This is particularly true if the relationship is still new and you feel lost as a person in the emotional entanglement.
Sometimes, people may rush into relationships because neither partner feels comfortable in communicating the need to slow down. The good news is that there are ways to slow down the relationship to give it time to develop a strong foundation of commitment, love, and caring for each other.
Tips for Slowing Things Down
The first and most important aspect of slowing things down is to acknowledge to yourself that something does not feel right or balanced in the relationship. Recognizing your discomfort with the relationship is critical to be able to talk to the other person and clearly communicate your desire to slow down and get to know each other before taking big steps.
- Schedule a talk – pick a time and a place to have a conversation with your partner. Know what you want to say and have a clear set of expectations of what you would like to see in the relationship moving forward. Let the partner know you are not breaking up, just looking at a more realistic timeline to see if you are truly partners.
- Set aside time for yourself – one way of slowing things down is to take control of how much time you spend with each other. Make it clear that you will spend time with friends and family on your own and that your independence is important to your future comfort with the relationship.
- Consider your date’s requests – some things, like going to wedding together, meeting the parents, or helping the partner pick a new apartment, are significant milestones, even if they are downplayed by the partner. If you think the event is more than what you want to do as part of a couple, be comfortable in saying no and explaining why you see it as inappropriate at this stage of the relationship.
- Set boundaries – if texting, social media messages, calls, or even simply dropping by or showing up is a concern, set clear boundaries on this behavior. If they are violated and ignored, it is time to end the relationship and find someone who will respect your wishes.
Your partner should respect your wishes to slow down. Often, clear communication can help to put the relationship back on track and at a comfortable pace.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW and Transformation Coach