Is My Relationship Moving Too Fast? An Expert Explains Why "Taking It Slowly" Doesn't Always Work
There are a number instances in life where you might ask yourself, "Is my relationship moving too fast?" This question tends to rear its head as you cross the bridge of major relationship milestones: Getting exclusive with someone, defining the relationship, taking that first joint vacation, moving in together, and the list goes on. Even if all of these changes are met with a positive thrill, the rush that comes with crossing these big moments with a partner can be scary. Did you say "I love you" too soon? Should you hit pause on having bae meet your parents? Well-meaning skepticism from family and friends ends up bolstering these moments of doubt.
Often, the odds seem to be in favor of taking things slowly. (Alexa, play "Slow Burn" by Kacey Musgraves!) And generally, you should think things through before acting on them, especially when those things are matters of the heart. Every now and then, though, proceeding at a snail's pace isn't the move. As a Libra — a.k.a. a chronic overthinker, a hopeless romantic, and someone who wears their heart on their sleeve — I feel like there's something kind of liberating about the idea of jumping head first into love.
When it comes to whether it's OK not to take a relationship slowly, Todd Baratz, a sex and relationships psychotherapist, says, "Of course, it's OK." Baratz says this because "everybody does intimacy differently." There isn't a universal pace for a healthy relationship. And whereas sometimes, the pace-setting can be confusing, Baratz says, "Sometimes, you just know."
So while taking time to get to know your (potential) partner can be helpful, your core values and beliefs are always going to be present. Priya Tahim, a therapist at District Therapy Associates, says to keep that in mind. Similar to Baratz's point of view, Tahim says, "There is no rulebook for relationships. I believe that when you meet a person and find yourself connected — not only physically, but emotionally — there is no reason to second-guess that feeling." Whether you take a relationship slowly or leap in should be on your own instincts and feelings. At the end of the day, only you are in charge of how much you let someone in, Tahim says.
Like Tahim and Baratz, Megan Murphy, a psychotherapist at LGBTQ-inclusive practice Expansive Therapy, believes it's absolutely OK to jump right. "But that doesn’t mean it’s the best route to fulfilling your true desires!" Murphy says. And what could possibly throw the wrench into discerning your true desires? Ah, yes. Sex! Sometimes, sex can cloud your judgment when it comes to whether your relationship is moving too quickly.
"I’m not saying that beautiful relationships can’t sprout from hookups, but hooking up quickly complicates the process of gathering information about a potential partner," Murphy warns. The benefit of slowing down is that you get to draw out a bit more vulnerability.
"We all feel unsure of ourselves in the awkward and insecure space of getting to know someone," Murphy says. "Allowing yourself be in this space gives you the time to understand all that is arising within you as well as help clarify what you really want."
Still, as Baratz reminds us, just as there isn't a perfect partner, there is no perfect way to pursue someone. "There isn't. There isn't a recipe or formula to follow. The best thing to do is explore the meaning behind why you make your decisions," he says. Keeping both Murphy's and Baratz's takes in mind, moving quickly with someone is especially OK if you just click and feel completely comfortable with the other person. Plus, if you know what you want from the other person, why not go for it, sis? "It can be liberating not to obsess and take steps forward," Baratz says.
A prime example of how it can be liberating is Tahim's experience of getting together with her husband. "I met my husband and got engaged to him after four months of dating. We are now going on three years of marriage," Tahim explains. Like any couple, they have had their ups and downs. "However, it’s all worth it to call him my husband. I wouldn’t have been the person I am today or in a healthy relationship if I didn’t take a chance," Tahim says.
While there isn't a cheat code to snagging a potential bae or turning your FWB into partner material, you should stay aware of how your pursuit methods are affecting the other person. "The one thing to consider is the impact your pace has on your partner and the relationship. It's best to make decisions and negotiate pace with your partner," Baratz says.
This can help cut down on confusion or mitigate insecurities, especially when you're on a different page than your partner. And that's actually OK. "It's not a deal-killer. It's actually something that can reinforce a connection over time," Baratz says. "But you will have to work through it." Dating coach and vlogger Imani Brewer a.k.a Actual Black Mermaid agrees with Baratz. She says it's important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. "I think all relationships have to move the pace that is comfortable for those two that are in it — and not everybody’s relationship or dating experience is linear," Brewer says. "That’s fine, because you have to do some zig-zags to get it right, sometimes."
Whether it works out or not, moving quickly into a relationship can be a teaching moment. "The way we rush into or away from things contains important information about the way you do intimacy or how much you yearn for it," Baratz says. It is possible you will move quickly into a relationship, have a fantastic and enriching time, and have it not work out. Tahim says, "Speaking from experience, I do believe that jumping into a relationship without overthinking it can be great. However, you have to be willing to 'wear your heart on your sleeve' and risk getting hurt. There are no guarantees that will last; it’s all about timing and trust." This is all to say that if you jump into a relationship and it doesn't work out, it's never a waste. Take notes on your experience and use it to learn about yourself! "Just to be more intentional with the way you pursue intimacy in the context of a relationship. Enjoy getting swept up in it! Sometimes this is the best part," Baratz says. "You can get swept up with romance in a mindful way!"
If you bae and are moving faster than your friends and their baes are? Don't stress! Stay in your lane, work on cultivating intimacy and a future that nurtures you, and the rest will fall into place.