It’s so easy to get carried away when you first meet somebody you’re attracted to. The oxytocin is flowing, the possibilities seem endless and you’ve yet to learn how annoying they can be on a long car ride. And sometimes that early intensity moves quickly into exclusivity, commitment and even cohabitation well before you even know much about your partner’s inner workings.
The following are 8 common reasons why relationships move too fast:
Fear of Being Alone
I see this fear in ever-increasing numbers in my friends as we all move towards middle age and beyond. It often seems as though it is better to have somebody than nobody, and so a new love interest is quickly catapulted into the role of “life partner.” Some people are aware of being motivated by a fear of being alone, while others are not conscious of the reasons behind their drive to be coupled.
It can be isolating when you’re not in a primary relationship and the fear that you will always be alone can solidify into conviction, prompting a ride on the fast track into partnership. But, as you may have experienced, the wrong relationship can be far, far worse than no relationship and there is no greater loneliness than that of feeling alone in a relationship.
Afraid of Losing “The One”
A belief in a soulmate, a perfect-fit partner, can create a desire to grasp onto someone out of a fear of missing out on “the one.” Maybe you’re afraid if you don’t commit soon, they’ll walk away. Or maybe they even presented you with an ultimatum. Regardless, the belief in a soulmate can create a sense of urgency, much like a one-day-sale at a department store encourages you to pull the trigger on a purchase.
I don’t believe in soulmates. There are many people that can be a good fit for you. And “the one” is part found (similar values, right timing, etc.) and part grown (developing intimacy, communication, history). That second part cannot be rushed. Or if it is, you may find later that the relationship is only partially developed.
Confusing Hormones for Love
There’s a reason the beginning of a relationship is so exciting – you’re literally high. Stoned on oxytocin, your body telling you to bond and bond fast. And it’s easy to listen to that siren song of lust, spending every waking moment you can with your new obsession and running into a relationship.
Oxytocin is powerful. But it’s also blinding. Would make a major life decision while you’re drunk? Because if you’re pledging yourself to another while still under the effects of those early hormones, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Only Know How to be Committed
This was the one that got me when I started dating. When you have been married or in an exclusive relationship for a long time, it is all you know. And so you may approach dates as though they are a date night with your spouse. Not because you intend to move too quickly, but because commitment is what is known and comfortable.
Like anything, dating takes practice. Refrain from seeing only one person if you’re afraid you’ll slip back into commitment like a pair of fuzzy slippers. Learn to navigate through those early “getting to know you” weeks and months before you think about what comes next.