Does this ever happen to you? You are at a party and there’s someone new there. A person of the opposite sex who is clearly both single and very personable / attractive / bright / charming. By the end of the evening, you are already wondering if this could be “the one.” After seeing this person maybe a couple more times, you are seriously smitten and imagining spending holidays together, having kids, living happily ever after. All very nice but TOO SOON.
It’s time to put on the brakes. Falling too fast for someone could spell disaster for your relationship. If the other person feels the same way, that in itself is a red flag. Not that you are unworthy of passionate infatuation, but that is what this is likely to be. If it is to resolve itself into the love of your life, it simply needs time. What is the hurry? Why are either or both of you out of the starting gate so quick? Is there a hole to fill, a disastrous relationship to erase from memory, or a narcissistic need to be adored?
And conversely, if you are planning your first holiday card together within a few weeks and the other person is simply not there with you, it can be utterly devastating. Falling in love is pretty magical…when love is reciprocated. When it isn’t, you can feel as heartbroken as you would at the end of a long-term relationship. Let’s look at some ways to stop falling in love too quickly.
For starters, understand what love means to you. How do you know it’s love? Consider: do you both show up for each other in the same place at the same time, realize that love is a choice and encompasses more than a feeling, and risk your hearts to form a bond of true intimacy? That isn’t asking a lot, it’s how it should be. You deserve that.
Read on for some more tips.
- Know what you want and need. Identify and write down your requirements, needs and wants in a relationship and spend some time each day picturing what that relationship would look like. By retraining your expectations, you may find you behave, think and feel differently. Using that list, examine your incipient relationship. Aside from the thrill of sexual attraction and the flutter of new feelings, do you think this relationship will meet YOUR needs and wants for the long haul?
- Look at your relationship history. Thinking about a recent relationship that ended, examine how it began, how you communicated, where you were in your own development at the time, where you are now, and what it all means to you. How does that relationship compare to the one before that? What you find can show you repeating patterns, what worked and what didn’t. If you see a pattern re-emerging—one that was not very helpful in the past—now’s the time to recognize that and choose not to go down that road again.
- Take a step back. Objectively assess if you are really in love with this particular person or if you are just in love with the romance itself. Or if you are feeling love because of a certain familiarity with this person’s personality, MO or bearing. (Think about your relationship history again—if it’s familiar it’s not necessarily good!)
- Slow things down. Enjoy the “all new” fun and titillation while going slowly and getting to know and appreciate each other, allowing love to happen in its own due course. Seriously consider all of the factors that ensure a real and lasting love. Give this feeling time to develop. Only then, can you truly know that you are in love.
- Don’t act impulsively. Thinking about someone 20 times a day doesn’t mean texting, calling, emailing, etc. every time he or she crosses your mind. Doing so can artificially accelerate things with a sense of urgency that is entirely manufactured.
- Wait to say those three magical words “I Love You.” For one thing, ask yourself if you will be crushed if you don’t hear, “I love you too.” And why might you not hear that…? As glorious as it is to have someone say, “I love you,” the words have much more meaning when they ring true. You’ve heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” If each of you is proving on a daily basis that you are there for each other, that you care and want what is best for one another, and in other ways you are showing with actions that this relationship is warming towards love, when those words are finally spoken, it will feel like confirmation. The thrill you feel will be based on something real.
Some people like to live every day as if it were their last, in order to fully experience every moment and live the best possible day, every day. Maybe we should all love as if it were our last love, giving the weight and importance to our relationship that it deserves when seen in that light. So, imagine if you could only give your gift of love once more in your life. If that were true, you would be much more discerning about who received it. That person would have to be someone very special, someone you let yourself know well, before you gave your heart.