How Much Should New Couples See Each Other?
To protect the longevity of a relationship, couples should use caution.
Posted November 29, 2017 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
Starting a new relationship brings a nearly infinite list of challenges. Some relationships make it past these hurdles while others fizzle out. As a psychologist who works with clients on relationship issues, I can share anecdotal information that one factor which ruins many relationships in the beginning is the tendency to rush things. Specifically, when many men and women meet someone they like, they see that person as frequently as possible in the first few weeks. While the drive to want to be with a new partner is understandable, real-world realities often stress such relationships and cause them to end.
The best way to protect a new relationship is to use caution, and not see each other too frequently. When you encounter a new potential friend, for example, you probably don't rush to see that friend several times per week after you first meet. Why should the guidelines for starting a romantic relationship be so different?
To begin, it should go without saying that there are exceptions to every rule: While some couples may find that they can spend every night together in the very beginning and make it work, this is not a formula that will result in long-term romantic success for most. There is no definitively "right" way to start a relationship, but using caution is an approach that typically yields better results. Here's why seeing each other too frequently can prevent a relationship from lasting:
Sex or physical interaction intensifies emotions. The main reason couples shouldn't spend too much time together too soon is that seeing each other frequently increases the wish and tendency to be physically and sexually intimate. There is nothing wrong or unhealthy with physical or sexual intimacy, but it should be practiced within a predictable, trusting environment. If you have sex with someone very soon after meeting, for example, the physiological reactions in your body often cause you to feel intense emotional reactions, too. But if you don't really know the person eliciting those intense emotional reactions, you may put yourself at risk. If the person is kind and good and wants the same things as you, there is no problem; if the person doesn't have the same relationship goals as you, you may end up feeling lonely and betrayed.
You force emotional intimacy with someone you hardly know. When you meet someone you like and feel attracted to, it is normal to want to see that person all the time. But, of course, simply wanting something does not necessarily mean that it is good for you. If you meet someone you like and spend several nights together in the first week or spend multiple hours with them over the course of several days, you can start to feel a sense of intense emotional closeness. But when you stop to think about it, does it make sense to feel so emotionally close to someone you've just met? The problem with this dynamic is that seeing each other too frequently at the very beginning forges an illusion of intimacy and dependence, even though each person does know that it takes months — or even years — to truly get to know someone.
Use caution in the beginning if you want a relationship to last. To those who believe new lovers should throw caution to the wind and let things flow organically, I would respond by saying that two people who are meant to be together will end up together, regardless of whether they see each other once a week or five times a week.
To be safe, couples would serve themselves well to see each other once a week for the first month, and then increase the frequency after that point. Most importantly, men and women should not feel anxious or rushed while forging a new relationship. The less anxious they feel, the better chance their relationship will have.
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