Jenna is confused.
She’s been dating a great guy for the past month and she thought they were close to maybe being a couple. Every weekend, Jenna and Chris have gone out together. She has met Chris’ friends and he even changed his Facebook status from “single” to “it’s complicated.”
When Jenna asked Chris to go with her to her family reunion, she wasn’t trying to rush things. She only thought it would be fun to have his company for the day. Since she invited him, however, Chris has seemed distant. He’s hardly texting her at all and he’s not given her a firm answer about the reunion.
Jenna is worried that she unintentionally moved too fast and scared Chris off!
One very tricky aspect of dating is speed. If you and your date have different preferences and different desires for how slow or how fast you’d like to take this potential or new relationship, you might run into trouble.
Either of you could become frustrated that a clear sign of commitment isn’t happening. Either of you may be scared off if the push for a commitment happens too soon for your liking.
Some people like to move slowly and deliberately through life. They take their time making decisions about what they’ll order at a restaurant, what kind of career they want and the person they will settle down with in a love relationship or marriage.
Others know what they want very quickly and they let their decision be known.
Often, it matters less how fast or slow a person is in making general decisions; the speed is all about the burgeoning relationship. Is the chemistry between the two people instant and positive? This can influence the rate at which dating moves into a relationship and then possibly into a long-term commitment.
There is not one right speed for a healthy relationship. This is what can cause confusion, doubt, tension and even a breakup.
Here are 3 ways to get the right speed for you in your dating relationship…
#1: Know how fast or slow you want to go.
Because you can’t know easily or with 100% accuracy what your date wants, focus in on and be clear about what YOU want.
Take into consideration how fast or slow you tend to like to go in a relationship. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow that pattern, but be aware of it. Don’t get hung up on what you believe is the “right” amount of time it should take for a relationship to progress.
Instead, get to know how you feel about this person you’re getting to know (or whom you have known but are in a new relationship with). What feels like the next logical step to you? Keep in mind, the next logical step might be to keep doing what you two have been doing.
Remember, how fast or slow you want to go in this dating relationship is probably going to vary as time goes on. For some people, it can vary a lot! If you feel the urge to push ahead to a next level of commitment, pause and make sure this is really what you want to do.
#2: Be honest about what you want with your date.
If you feel certain that this person you’ve only been on 3 dates with is “the one” for you, this is great news and really good to know. You might want to think carefully before you share that exact information with him or her.
It’s always best to be honest with your date/partner about what you want. You can be honest about how fast or slow you want to take things AND you can be mindful of how you communicate that.
In other words, don’t scare your date off and also don’t drive him or her away by pretending you don’t care.
Jenna could have let Chris know that she is aware of what “meeting the family” usually means in a dating relationship. She can tell him that she is really enjoying going out with him, that she hopes they’ll continue to date and that she thought it would be fun to do this reunion together.
She can make it clear that she’s not trying to rush things or make him uncomfortable.
Chris can be honest with Jenna about how he feels. He can tell her that he once dated a woman who wanted to move in with him after a month of dating and this is probably why her invitation triggered the reaction it did. He can let Jenna know that he is also enjoying dating her and hope they’ll keep going out AND that he isn’t in a hurry to get serious.
With an exchange like this, the family reunion becomes a non-issue. Either Chris goes or he doesn’t go and he and Jenna can still date one another.
#3: Be honest with yourself about whether or not you two are a match.
If you’re getting clear information from your date that he or she wants to move at a speed that is not okay with you, do both of you a favor and be honest.
Sometimes, there can be great chemistry between two people, but the timing is not matching up.
Don’t take it personally if your date isn’t willing to move at a speed that fits what you want. Don’t try to manipulate or push either. It’s generally a wise idea to be flexible, but don’t do so at the expense of your needs and wants.
Make a decision about what is best for you and then follow through.