BY TAYLOR WADE
You’ve just met someone who completely sparked your interest. You can’t wait until you hear from him and you count the days until you can see him again. Your mind goes into an imaginative state of endless possibilities between the two of you. You allow yourself to fall, too fast, too soon. Or maybe you are caught in a stagnant circumstance, twiddling your thumbs, wondering if things will ever progress. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? There are great benefits to moving slowly in the beginning of a relationship... but not too slow!
The benefits of moving slow in a relationship
There are three stages of falling in love. They consist of: infatuation, bonding, and familiarity.
Dr. Dennis Neder, a minister, doctor of metaphysics, and the Author of Being a Man in a Woman's World, says it helps to consider all three stages when determining if you have the real thing. However, in this initial phase, the rush of infatuation can be so strong that couples most often do not step back to look objectively at the odds of the relationship succeeding. It’s important to get to know the person so you don’t fall in love with the idea of him, but the actual person, and what he is offering you (not what you hope he will offer you).
Don't ignore red flags during the infatuation stage
Dopamine, the "love chemical," links to our most basic evolutionary survival techniques. The mental mechanism that alerts us when we need essentials – ie: food and water – also kicks into gear when we’re in love. This drive to feel love can be so strong, we may overlook red flags.
One lady, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote to us in reference to this article. She wanted to share her story of someone she had met on Match.com and to highlight the importance of not ignoring red flags because of “redeeming qualities." I first asked, “What was the first sign that something was a little off?” She replied, “First phone call! He was dogging his former wife for about thirty minutes. I was thinking ‘I could never go out with this guy’. However, he was the king of damage control and kept revealing these amazing redeeming qualities so I tried to ignore all of the red flags."
She went on to tell us that the relationship was full of passion and intrigue. He was “brilliant." However, she tried ending it after she realized he was a full-on alcoholic. After a month of trying to ignore his millions of phone calls and text messages, he showed up banging on her door saying, "I am going to marry you. You are the only one for me." Finally, she had to file a police report.
However, not all red flags should send someone running for the hills—they can open up opportunities to add depth to your relationship. How the two of you handle them determines whether or not you want to proceed. Red flags are examples of hardships you're going to encounter down the road. You have to use your best judgment when determining which issues can be sorted out and which can become serious.
Keep emotions in check
You should keep emotions in check periodically because feelings may be stronger on one side of the relationship. Often, one partner may actually feel more in love than the other, which can be okay unless it continues for a long time. By taking things slowly, you allow feelings to grow mutually on both ends and avoid getting hurt by strong feelings not being reciprocated immediately. We have to remember not all men and women act on their feelings right away. Everyone moves at their own pace in a relationship and some may not fall in love as easily as others.
Downfalls of moving too slow
I am going to speak from personal experience on this one. I was dating a guy I was really into—he was cute, smart, funny, and laid-back. However, in this case, a little too laid-back. He would call and message me on a regular basis, and was always eager to hang out when I initiated things, yet he rarely made the first move. I started thinking he wasn’t that into me until I found out from his friend that, in fact, he really liked me. So, I continued talking to him, and continued waiting for him to plan the next date, until I just couldn’t wait anymore! I completely lost interest because there was no momentum – it was completely stagnant. I became bored and ended up meeting someone else who I began dating shortly thereafter.
Finding the right pace is vital to the relationship – a balance should be struck between too much, too soon and I’m getting bored.
My friends, Laura and Robert, are a perfect example of striking the right balance. He would call at the beginning of the week to ask her out that weekend, which allowed excitement to build during the week. Then, he limited the amount of messages exchanged during the week so they would have lots to talk about on their date. Following the date, he would always send a message saying he had a great time and he hoped to see her soon. This made her feel secure that the date went well, and hopeful for the next date. Furthermore, by not setting up the next date right away, it left a little mystery when he would call again, which again built up excitement. He would always wait 3-4 days before calling and asking her out.
Space and time shape the circumstance for any relationship to grow. Moving too fast and seeing each other too often may not allow sufficient time for anticipation to build. Furthermore, time allows you to understand who you are really dating –not who you hope you’re dating. On the flip side, moving too slow may cause the relationship to turn inert. There may be more frustration – or boredom – instead of excitement and anticipation. Find the balance, build the excitement, and allow the relationship to develop at just the right pace.