What is the Right Pace of Growth for a Relationship?

The answer to this is going to vary but this I also know, I have never met someone who told me they wished they moved faster.

So the answer to this question is going to be slower than you would like. Take that for the profound wisdom that it is. Then take steps to grow this relationship right. How the two of you got together will be the story you will tell over and over and over again for the rest of your life. With this wisdom you will be able to tell a great story–one that will have no shame and no lies. Those lies could be those adjustments you make to tell the story you wish you could tell. This is your chance to tell your love story right and in all truth.

So how do you slow a relationship down?

Understanding full well that the beginning of a relationship is exciting. The birds sing louder. Traffic moves a bit faster. Your piles of dirty laundry don’t bother you as much. Just understanding that this season of excitement is real—and temporary—will help you slow this relationship down.

Here are some more practical ways:

  • Do more group dating. It would seem to make sense to do more dating of just the two of you so you can get to know each other better and better. That is the purpose of brave dating, right? For you to get to know you better? This can also happen on group dates. The dynamics will still be there. Another thing group dating does—it shows your growing other that you have a connected life with people who care about you.
  • Make plans with your friends more. This is you, not the new two of you. Stay connected to your small group. Keep on volunteering where you are volunteering. You do have a separate life still. Your separate life is very much a part of your attractiveness. You do not need to give this up so quickly and you have plenty of time to better blend your lives together. But you must have your own life to be able to blend it.
  • Plan dates with time limits. If you are meeting for dinner, keep it to meeting for dinner. Do not agree to coffee to extend the evening. Even if you need to create the excuse to get home to call someone from your team by 10 pm, keep that time limit. This keeps you both acting responsibly with your time.
  • Spend some time with yourself in quiet time. Why do you feel this relationship is moving too fast? Identify what makes you uncomfortable, or what makes you uncomfortable about this other person. What are you learning about you? Which boundaries do you need to set—now? And why? This step is mandatory. When do you tell this person about your boundaries?
  • Limit your texts and calls. This all falls under the excitement of this temporary season. And I know, his/her texts are so funny. What is in your control is limiting your response to them. You may choose to wait 30 minutes to respond. Or respond at the end of the day when you are wrapping up your responsibilities of the day. Find a way to show this person that you have balance in your life and that a text conversation doesn’t sidetrack you from your normal responsibilities—no matter who it is.  This may feel dishonest or like game-playing but limiting texts and calls may be a practice you want to incorporate into your whole life so your phone is not what is leading you.
  • Don’t be too pleasing all the time. You may have noticed in previous relationships how you have chosen pleasing the other person to grow that relationship (probably too fast) and that put the relationship on a weird foundation. You have a separate life. Sometimes plans won’t work because of your schedule. This is okay. You don’t like to see horror movies on a date–or at any time. This is okay. Be your real self, not your contorted self. Your relationship will grow when this person is dating you.
  • Minimize the make-out sessions. Then your body is sending signals that you are more serious than you really are emotionally. This one is common sense, folks.
  • Don’t say future tense romantic stuff. Never say ‘we’ will do this in the future or “we should cater our wedding with this food.” You both should concentrate on your present instead of talking about your future.
  • Try to get onto the same page. Two people don’t necessarily come into a relationship with the same expectations. And the other person may not even realize this brilliant insight. This is often miscalled the DTR or “defining the relationship” talk. This is not really that. It is too early for that. This is a subtle conversation to help you discern if your expectations are matching up to his/her expectations.

If this relationship is real, there is no rush. You have the rest of your lifetime to share this growing love. How wonderful will it be to have your story told over and over again without the awkwardness (or regrets) of things moving too fast as part of your story.

(Photo credit: http://www.ultracycling.com/wp_news/?p=494)

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