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Pacing Your Relationship

Pacing Your Relationship“Slow and steady wins the race,” according to the fable of the tortoise and the hare. In the story, the overly confident rabbit gets lazy and distracted, allowing the focused tortoise to finish first. If love is your end goal, however, neither the pace set by the rabbit nor by the hare is ideal. To “win” at love, you need to move the relationship forward at a resolute but sustainable pace.

Taking Your Relationship Too Fast

The early stages of love can become an adrenaline-charged blur: You fling yourself wholeheartedly into the relationship. You spend every waking minute in the company of your partner. You don’t hold anything back emotionally.

But blazing through the “get-to-know-you” phase can cause you to miss obvious relationship red flags. Taking a step or two back may help you see the situation more clearly. After dating a few weeks, ask your most trusted friends for their impressions of the relationship—does it seem healthy, mature and promising?

In order for your relationship to go the distance, you’ll need to save some strength for the uphill stretches. Every relationship has rough patches; if you burn through all the feel-good emotions of new love right away, you may have fewer resources available for the long haul.

If you are prone to fall in love quickly and easily, determine to take things slower. Spend a reasonable amount of time apart. Avoid making sweeping emotional declarations early in the relationship. And don’t let the physical pace of the relationship significantly overtake all other dimensions.

Taking Your Relationship Too Slowly

While sprinting through a new relationship can leave you emotionally spent, dragging your feet isn’t the answer the either. Fear of commitment can seriously hamstring a relationship. Distinguish between specific concerns about your partner and general fears of settling down. You will never find the “perfect” partner—but you should eventually be able to find someone you can love.

If you are prone to endless analysis—constantly racking your brain about the minutia of the relationship—cut yourself a break. Let the relationship follow its natural course without trying to obsessively define it or control every aspect.

It is important, however, to consider your compatibility as a couple. Different personality traits, political positions, cultural backgrounds and spending styles don’t have to be deal breakers, so long as those differences are properly understood and managed. Issues that should give you pause in a relationship include addiction, controlling behavior, extreme jealousy, etc. People can change; however, deeply rooted issues take a lot of time and effort (and often professional assistance) to overcome.

Some people are naturally cautious when approaching new relationships. This caution serves a legitimate purpose: it can help protect you from unhealthy people and relationships. However, healthy caution is not the same as debilitating fear. Don’t let irrational phobias or overly harsh judgments keep you from attaining true love.

Relationship Training

Strong, enduring relationships require effort and discipline. Some people may seem to have a “competitive advantage” in that they have good relationship mentors in their family. But anyone can train himself or herself to excel at relationships. Take advantage of online and community resources to equip yourself with positive relationship skills. Effectively pacing your interaction early on increases your likelihood of being able to go to the distance in your relationship.


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