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 may 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 aren’t careful to check in with yourself, you 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 lonely as one of the top contributing factors. It's why he recommends pushing back against the desire to leap into a relationship, 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 your friends and family are concerned, don't ignore it. If you’re asking yourself, “Are we moving too fast?” here are 10 signs that you just might be.
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 may be moving too fast, though, if you let these super-positive feelings convince you a partner is perfect. If 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." Think big promises, like saying you'll get married right away, 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 all these things, 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. 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 From The Start
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 and love bombing right away, that can help things move along really quickly, as you're so swept away by the romance. Those fireworks can feel great, but be aware that this flattery could be masking toxic behavior.
“Love bombing is where you feel like you got sucked into a whirlwind of grand romantic gestures and affection,” explains Anita Chlipala, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide To Lasting Love. “Commonly this starts from the beginning of dating (even before a first date), might last for a short period of time, and usually ends abruptly. Love bombers make you feel special and secure, creating a bubble that makes you feel like you —and your relationship — [are] unique,” she tells Bustle. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t last.”
But even if the over-the-top gestures are genuine, they can still mean you're moving too fast. "Relationships are a dance of speeding up and slowing down," Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., 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, M.D., 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 truly 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 from 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 Met Their Friends & Family Before You Feel Comfortable Doing So
It's definitely important that your partner gets along with your friends and family, and vice versa. And while there’s no set timeline on when you should meet everyone, you should feel comfortable with the idea by the time you do. If it feels strange to you to meet their family already, it could be a sign you’re moving too fast.
This is especially true if your partner is putting pressure on you to integrate into their life in a way you don't feel ready for. "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. 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 Ignore Your Needs & Your Friends
It's fine to have fun and be around your new partner a lot. 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? 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 can’t create that vibe if you're just diving into each other's lives, full stop.
If your relationship lacks boundaries, your friends may 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.
8. You Ignore Your Differences
“Relationship differences are inevitable, and how you handle them can indicate whether you’re moving too quickly,” Chlipala tells Bustle. Learning your differences takes time — and so does talking about them and working through them. If you’re rushing into something, you might completely turn a blind eye to things you don’t agree on. Or you might be simply unaware of them.
“Having doubt and uncertainty are normal feelings to be experienced as you’re figuring out if you can both effectively compromise,” says Chlipala. “For example, if you’re a saver and your date is a spender, you may feel more cautious about moving forward with a relationship until you get more information about their spending habits, if they have a savings account, [and] if they’re saving for retirement,” she explains. “If instead you choose to ignore your differences, you can fall into the trap of believing you will ‘figure it out late’ and so become exclusive without establishing some basic compatibility.”
9. You Like The Label More Than The Person
You love the idea of having a boyfriend or girlfriend — maybe so much so that you want to hurry up and make it official before you’ve really gotten to know them. “[You might be moving too fast in a relationship if] being exclusive and being able to tell your family and friends that you have a boyfriend is more important than who you’re actually dating,” Chlipala tells Bustle. “You need time to get to know someone, so if you are fast forwarding to exclusivity, you should ask yourself if you want the label more than the actual partner.”
10. You Lose Your Own Identity
Giving up parts of your identity or your life out of anxiety about what the other person will think could be a sign you’re moving too fast. “You’ve only had a handful of date,s and yet you no longer live your life because you’re anxious and want to make a relationship work,” explains Chlipala. “You cancel happy hours with friends, stop engaging in your hobbies, and keep your schedule open so you can hang out with them. You do the things that your partner wants to do and don’t speak up for things that are important to you.” You could even go as far as taking on their interests, hobbies, preferences, and opinions over your own — you lose yourself in your relationship.
Remember, it's OK to move at your own pace, and that includes going slower. If your partner isn't cool with that, they 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.
Laura F. Dabney, MD, psychotherapist
Kasia Ciszewski Ms.Ed., LPCA, licensed professional counselor
Laney Zukerman, relationship coach
Anita Chlipala, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love
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