Sex & Relationships

How To Know If Your Relationship Is Moving Too Fast

Experts recommend pushing back against the desire to leap.

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It can be difficult to tell if you're moving too fast in a relationship, especially when you're all caught up in the early rush of love. It's one of those things that'll stand out to others — like your friends and family — but can be easy to miss yourself. Of course, it's fine to be all loved up and gooey during the honeymoon phase. But if you let it go too far, you very well might end up rushing into a relationship, before it's had time to truly develop.

"People rush into relationships for a variety of reasons," Jonathan Bennett, a relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle, citing a fear of being alone as one of the top culprits. And it's why he recommends pushing back against the desire to leap into something, and instead take the time to work on that fear — or whatever else is causing you to speed along — before making any big decisions. A relationship should unfold naturally, at a pace where both people feel comfortable.

That said, "moving quickly isn’t always a bad thing and doesn’t have to be an indication of problems," Bennett says. Sometimes couples just hit it off from the moment they meet, and can't get enough of each other as a result. But if there's a feeling in your gut that something is off, or friends and family are concerned, don't ignore it. Here are seven signs that you are, in fact, moving too fast in your relationship.

1. You're Convinced Your Partner Is "Perfect"

It's totally fine to get lost in the honeymoon stage of a new relationship, where you don't get out of bed, can't stop kissing, and all but forget you have friends and other responsibilities. Many long-term relationships start off this way, and that's OK.

Your relationship is probably moving too fast, though, if you let these super-positive feelings convince you a partner is perfect. The truth is no one is perfect. So if you feel this way, it's a sign you may need to slow down in order to really get to know each other — flaws and all — and see if it still feels right.

Another clue is if the relationship begins to feel like a fairytale, and "involves a lot of unrealistic promises," Bennett says. "Both sides will promise things that they either can’t realistically achieve or that aren’t fully thought out."

Look for big promises, like saying you'll get married, talking about moving in together, or making major financial decisions, even though you only just met.

2. You're Chasing A Feeling

When you think about your partner, do you think about the values you both share? And how cool it is that you want the same things out of life? Or do you focus more on how they make you feel?

"Many people who move too quickly in a relationship are chasing a feeling rather than pursuing a lasting partnership," Bennett says. "They might be looking for a cure for loneliness, sexual pleasure, or the feeling of being in love." And while it's OK to want a fun sex life and great companionship, simply feeling good isn't enough to create a solid foundation for a relationship.

If your goal is to find a lasting connection, it'll eventually be necessary to assess more concrete aspects, like those shared values. So take it as a sign if you "enjoy the feeling of love more than the actual person," Bennett says, and give yourself permission to slow down.

3. There Are Lots Of Over-The-Top Romantic Gestures Right From The Get-Go

Flattery can go a long way — which means it's often used and abused by manipulative personalities. If your new significant other is constantly laying it on thick, that can make things move along really quickly, as you're so swept away by the romance. All the fireworks can be great, just be aware that sometimes it's actually hiding toxic behavior, and that can be tough to see if you're speeding along.

But even if the over-the-top gestures are genuine, it can still mean you're moving too fast. "Relationships are a dance of speeding up and slowing down," Joshua Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "Sometimes one partner needs to back off and slow things down. Sometimes a partner needs to speed up a bit."

If it's all too fast for you, don't be afraid to speak up. "Your partner may be moving at a pace that is comfortable to them," Klapow says, "but they may be more than willing to slow down to keep you in the relationship."

4. You Haven't Recovered From Your Recent Breakup

If you've just come out of a bad relationship and toss yourself right into a new one, chances are you're moving too fast, and would likely benefit from being on your own for a while longer.

Whether it's a toxic ex, a traumatic breakup, or both, "these things take time to heal from and correct," Laura F. Dabney, MD, a psychotherapist, tells Bustle. But most people don't have the patience, which is why it's so easy to find yourself marching out and finding a new partner, before you're ready.

It's up to you to decide what's best for your life, and you may actually be ready mere weeks or months after a breakup. To spare yourself moving too fast, "just be mindful as to why you want to be with the other person and why you think they are the one for you," Dabney says. If they make you happy, you both want the same things, and you're both happy with the speed of the relationship, things are likely a-OK.

5. You've Already Met Their Friends & Family

It's definitely important that your partner gets along with your friends and family, and vice versa. But if it's been a week and all of a sudden you're inviting each other to family gatherings, that's a big red flag.

This is especially true if your partner is putting pressure on you to integrate into their life in a way you don't feel comfortable with. "When we feel rushed, pushed, or feel we are engaging in actions that are not aligned with a pace that feels comfortable, we are likely out of our comfort zone," Klapow says.

Again, a relationship should unfold naturally; not feel rushed or pressured. So if you find yourself sitting awkwardly at a family reunion with someone you just met on Tinder, and it strikes you as "too much too soon," you're probably right.

6. You've Lost Your Sense Of Self

It's fine to have fun and be around a new partner 24/7 in the beginning. But if the relationship has completely consumed your life, that's your cue to step back.

"What you don't want happening is compassion fatigue where you give so much of yourself that you end up feeling empty," Kasia Ciszewski Ms.Ed., LPCA, a licensed professional counselor, tells Bustle. This might be the case if your friends are complaining about no longer seeing you, you've completely forgotten about your personal hobbies, or you haven't had a moment to yourself since meeting your partner.

Do you feel completely drained? Then talk with your partner about striking a better balance between time spent together, and time spent apart. "Though this may make for some tough conversations, it will lead to long-term positive outcomes," Ciszewski says.

7. You Don't Have Any Boundaries

It may seem hyper-romantic at first, but it actually isn't healthy to be all up in each other's business now, or in the future. "Part of a lasting attraction is feeling honored, respected, and comfortable," Laney Zukerman, a relationship coach, tells Bustle. And you create that vibe if you're fully diving into each other's lives.

If your relationship lacks boundaries, your friends will keep pointing out how it seems like your partner is a "bit much," or you might start viewing yourselves as a single entity, instead of two individuals. It's easy to mistake this type of infatuation for compatibility, but Zukerman says it's important to keep an eye out for red flags, as it lack of boundaries can lead to a toxic relationship down the road.

Remember, it's OK to move at your own pace, and that includes going slower. If your partner isn't cool with that, then they just aren't worth it. You should feel like major life decisions are sometimes you both feel comfortable with — and anything less than that is a sign something's off.

Experts:

Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating

Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show

Laura F. Dabney, MD, psychotherapist

Kasia Ciszewski Ms.Ed., LPCA, licensed professional counselor

Laney Zukerman, relationship coach