Key Takeaway: One common mistake often derails promising relationships—rushing into them too quickly, such as by asking to move in together after only a few weeks. Gradually getting to know one another and letting the connection blossom organically can lead to more successful relationships.
As a therapist, I’ve listened to dating stories for decades. Wanting a relationship is inherent to the human condition, and most people do prefer to be in a relationship at some point in their lives. But for many, finding that “someone” is a struggle. In listening to dating stories, many times I’ve found myself reacting and responding, “I can’t believe you did that or said that on a first or an early date.” Perfectly lovely people have said or done things that clearly derailed a situation that might have led to something promising.
What Not To Say In A New Relationship
Things like “Here’s the key to my apartment” on a second date, or "Let’s plan a trip to Europe" (pre-pandemic) on a first date, or “Let’s buy a house together” a month after meeting are no-gos. The single most telling thing that seems to derail dating is rushing—moving too fast into something full-speed ahead only to hit a wall rather quickly. And by rushing, getting hurt and rejected makes it harder to dust yourself off and continue dating in your search for the right person.
That’s not to say that if it’s meant to be it will work out, but often, it seems like people are intent on “closing the deal,” and doing everything to speed up a process that takes time.
Progressing Gradually Creates a Strong Foundation
Planning for a future when you don’t even know the other person, adopting a false sense of security by thinking something is there that still needs to manifest itself are ways in which dating can take a turn downward. For example, planning to attend a friend’s wedding months away when you just met, moving in together in the first weeks, introducing a new person to family or friends really early on can be problematic insofar as the couple is missing the point of dating.
Dating is about trying to figure out if the person is for you. And that takes time. Some people will say that they "just know," but many have been wrong. And that can hurt. Love and chemistry matter and real love will be there regardless but all too often, what is mistaken for love is instead, the want and determination to call something a relationship when it’s not.
By trying to skip getting to know each other, you omit information that will eventually come out at a point of sometimes no return. “If only you knew that in the beginning”—well, you might be in the beginning, and getting to know as much as you can about the other helps in deciding which direction to go. Learning about the other is a process best accomplished with patience and calm and sets the groundwork and creates the foundation of the relationship.
The "Appearance" of A Relationship vs. the Real Thing
Instead, when rushing into a relationship full speed ahead and demanding time, attention, presence, commitment, and intimacy way before it can manifest itself organically, a paradoxical situation emerges which makes it difficult to go forward. The "appearance" of a relationship doesn’t mean it’s a relationship. It is like eating batter before a cake is fully baked—might taste great but it’s not a cake. In a desperate race to call the beginning of a relationship more than it is, it would be skipping over the steps that are necessary in making a good decision about whether that person is right for you.
Sometimes it is obvious and clear that it is not the person for you, but on the flip side, there are better ways to give the situation a fair chance. When rushing into a relationship seems to be happening, it makes it difficult to present your best self since you become more focused on the “relationship” as an entity instead of the two of you as people who reciprocally choose the other.
It’s as if the choosing happened already and you’re moving on to where you want to be before really deciding if it is really in your best interest. And yes, many successful relationships have been rushed into, but many potential relationships have been ruined by rushing.