Online dating is so unpredictable, so when you meet someone new that you really click with, it’s natural to feel like you want to spend all your time with them (forever and ever and ever!) However, the healthiest relationships move at the right pace.
While there are no definite rules for how quickly a relationship should move – it depends primarily on how both people feel — both parties should be willing to give the relationship enough space to evolve in a way that feels good for everyone. At the end of the day, the goal is to build a connection that’s healthy and full of substance. In other words, if you’re meant to be together, there’s no need to rush.
Not sure whether your new relationship is moving too fast? Last week, I spoke to top London Life Coach, Carole Ann Rice to get her take. Here’s a few signs that you might want to slow things down:
- It feels like you’re living with a GPS.
We all need personal space. While you may feel like you want to spend all your time with this new person, giving each other some space to allow your feelings to breathe and balance other things in your life – like, friendships, family commitments, hobbies and interests outside of the relationship, and stuff like doing your laundry — is incredibly healthy. As Rice explains, “if your partner is constantly asking you where you are, wanting to know exactly what you’re doing, or even asking to be with you more than you wish for, it is a sure sign that your relationship could be moving too quickly.”
- You feel obliged to spend all your time with them.
While it feels amazing to have someone include you in their plans, if the person you’re dating insists on inviting you everywhere and you feel like you’re sacrificing other commitments or time with friends & family, this could be a sign that things are moving too fast. A new relationship should feel fun and exciting, not suffocating. Rice encourages people to communicate openly with their new partner about expectations.
“If your partner is constantly inviting you to places and events but you can’t really be bothered, it may be time to have a talk and set boundaries. Having time apart from each other is healthy and besides – there will be many opportunities to be bored watching your boyfriend’s favorite football team,” she says.
- You’ve already met the parents.
Personally speaking, I live with my family so the likelihood that someone will meet my Mom early in the dating game is high. With that said, I always explain this to dates beforehand and make them aware that meeting my family isn’t a big deal — for me or my parents. However, there was an instance in the past where a date tried to insinuate themselves into my family — showing up at a family event, when we’d already agreed upon a neutral meeting spot — which left me feeling really uncomfortable.
“Meeting your partner’s parents is a huge milestone for many people as it adds a new dimension to the relationship,” says Rice. Because of this, she says, “meeting someone’s parents for the first time can be highly stressful and maybe even a little intimidating. If you aren’t ready for it, you need to delay this primary encounter as you could set a bad impression and dampen the relationship.”
- You’re already planning for the future.
There’s a big difference between imagining a future with someone and what that would entail (awesome vacations together! A shared pet! Commitment!) and trying to put these plans into action before the relationship is ready for them. As Rice shares, “planning for the future is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps organisation within the relationship and could enhance each other’s goals. However, if the plans are getting a little out of your comfort zone, this is a red flag. If you have just started dating someone and they’re already trying to discuss major life events like buying a home, children, and marriage, it is time to slow down.”
- You already feel tied down.
Commitment is a key part of any relationship. However, if you feel like you’re suffocating and don’t have space outside of the relationship, this is a huge warning sign. “A relationship should be natural, easy, and should move at a pace that is right for both parties. If your partner is making decisions for you, obligating you to things that make you uncomfortable, or assuming that you agree without consulting how you feel, then it’s time to hit the brakes on the relationship,” says Rice. If something feels off and like the relationship is moving too fast for comfort, it means it is. Trust your intuition.