I have this thing I do when I find something new and exciting – I jump in too deep too fast. It happens with new hobbies, new friendships, and most of all, new relationships. I get excited to learn and do more, passionate about what things could be like, and without even realizing it I find myself almost fully immersed in something or someone I know very little about. Sometimes I get lucky and it works out, and other times I wind up brokenhearted, missing out on great friendships, or paying off bills for bags of crafting materials I’m never going to use.
My last long term relationship really brought this to light for me because we both had this problem. Within 3 weeks of our first kiss we were saying I love you. He canceled his plans to move to another city, and I started involving him in extended family dinners barely a month after we started dating. We spent every weekend together, went to every event together, and couldn’t wait to merge our lives as much as possible.
I’m not saying any of this is wrong, or that the love wasn’t there. It was. I’m just saying that we went too fast, and because we shared this problem neither of us could see it. We were so excited to get to the next level of commitment, for different reasons, that we didn’t stop to fully enjoy and analyze each new level as it came, and we missed out on a lot of warning signs for things that came later because of that.
I learned a lot from that relationship, but probably the biggest thing was that I need to slow down. Way down. To an almost glacial pace, at least compared to what I was doing. There is nothing wrong with being excited, feeling things deeply, or wanting everything at once, but there is something dangerous in trying to actually do that. Loving someone and building a life together, if that is the type of relationship you want, should be something that develops slowly. No matter what the feelings are, time is the only tool out there that allows you to have experiences that will test you, make you see certain things, and develop those important questions that need to be asked and answered.
Don’t think that because I learned this lesson once I have followed it to the letter. I haven’t. It is a constant struggle reminding myself not to dive in just because something feels good or seems amazing. Sometimes I slip up, and I have to learn the lesson all over again. Sometimes a partner or friend reminds me that I am trying to move too fast. And sometimes there just isn’t enough room on my credit card to buy that really cool new thing that is totally going to change my life.