The Dangers of Relationship Rushing
The Fast Track is For Racing — Not Relationships!
By: Sandra L. Brown, M.A.
Author of: How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved
We live in an instant society: instant messaging, drive through food, microwaves, text messaging, ipods—just about anything we want NOW we can have. No wonder we have confused technology speed with relational speed. After all, isn’t this the decade of speed dating and fast relationships?
The problem is that there is no way to rush real intimacy. Speed dating does not = relationship security and knowledge. There is only one way to know someone and that is through adequate time. There are no short cuts. Many people think that if you substitute the time you would spend with someone over a year in a relationship of knowing them and squeeze that time into a 24/7 relationship, then you will get the same results. Very often there is an inappropriate pacing in relationships in which people early on begin to spend 24/7 with a new person. They give up their outside hobbies, friends, families, other relationships, and lifestyles. They think that if someone WANTS to spend 24/7 with them, they must be `really into them.’
Over the years as a mental health counselor, I have found there are a number of reasons why people want to rush relationships. Sometimes it’s because they want to usher you into the center of their lives before you find out their history. They want you really tied-in the relationship before you find out why no one else has wanted a relationship with them. Other times it is because the person has a hard time being alone. That is never a good sign. The inability to be alone is often related to other mental health issues. Fast paced relationships can be a distraction away from their own feelings and issues.
I always suggest that the woman be in charge of the pacing of the relationship. If she has been 24/7 with someone, stop! Not only because it’s unhealthy but also to see what he will do with the change of pace in the relationship. Make other plans, see friends, don’t be so available. Healthy persons will accept the pacing change. They may not like it, but they will honor it. Unhealthy and even dangerous persons will blame, shame, and guilt you. This should be a red flag as to whether this person is someone safe to date.
Rushing a relationship—whether it’s dating 24/7, moving in early together, or marrying within the first year is a mistake that renders not enough time to truly know a person. This includes the persons `true’ (as opposed to `stated’) background, their character, and maybe their own dangerousness. It takes time to build a healthy relationship. It takes no time at all to imitate one.