Take it easy: Putting on the brakes in a new relationship

A friend asked me lately, “How do you take it slow when you’ve met someone amazing and everything gels? How the heck do you not rush?”

First, I wouldn’t start by asking me for advice, because lord knows I’m no authority on taking things slowly.

But, in the spirit of friendship, I offered up what I wish I had known years ago, and what I hope to do when I’m ready to date again: Remember that YOU DON’T KNOW THEM. They seem wonderful and amazing and perfect for you in every way, and maybe they really are. But you don’t know that now. You can’t know that.

You can’t hire a new employee and know right away how they’ll perform during tax season or on Black Friday. And you can’t know your partner until you encounter some bumps of varying sizes. Will he be there when your car breaks down and you need a ride to work at 6 a.m.? Will she understand if your child is sick and you have to cancel your fancy dinner date? Will they pay attention to what makes you feel loved, and appreciate it when you do those things in return? When you disagree, will they be kind and respectful and try to understand your point of view?

You may assume you know how this person will react during those scenarios; they may even tell you how they would react. But don’t believe it till you see it.

So, remind yourself that you don’t know this person, and act accordingly:

  • Don’t drop your friends for them.
  • Don’t give up all your free time for them.
  • Don’t plan your life around them.
  • Don’t make plans far into the future with them.
  • Do enjoy their company.
  • Do be transparent and honest.
  • Do spend lots of time talking about things that are important to both of you.
  • Do trust their actions more than their words.
  • Do trust that no matter how amazing this person is, they are not the only one in the world who is potentially great for you.

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