Let’s play a game. The game is called, have you ever heard this craziness before (or have you said it)?
“Wow, I am so in love. I can’t believe I’ve found my soul mate. Everything about him is perfect. We’re getting together tonight to work on picking out kid’s names and setting up a time to meet with his accountant to combine our finances before we start planning the wedding.”
“That’s amazing Cindy! How many years have you all been dating again?”
“Oh, we met on Tuesday. Isn’t that amazing?”
We forgot to tell you the rules of the game were to try and listen to that story and not vomit. We lost. Look, we have absolutely no problem with love stories. In fact, we LOVE love stories. We even LOVE love stories where people fall in love quickly. The thing is, though, there is such thing as going all in on a new dating match too quickly.
We’re not here to tell you what to do, but we would like to share some insight and advice that might help you to have a more successful time with your online dating. Our staff has been through a lot, and we’ve had the opportunity to interact with a lot of singles going through the same process you are. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and we’d like to see if we can help you avoid the bad and the ugly if at all possible.
Trust Should be Earned
The biggest reason that we’re advocates for taking the dating process slower is because of trust. If you don’t allow trust to develop properly, you could find yourself in a compromising situation before you even know if you can trust the person you’re with.
Here’s an analogy that might explain what we mean. In school, there were two types of teachers. There were the teachers who gave you an A to start with, and it was yours to lose. Then there were the teachers who didn’t give you a grade at all and made you earn your A.
We think that trust should be treated as the second teacher does. It’s not something that everyone deserves to get no matter what. It’s not something freely given that is theirs to lose. It must be earned. Why? Trust is not something that should be taken lightly. You have to trust that you’re safe with someone. You have to trust that they’re dating you for the right reasons. You have to trust that the things they are telling you are true.
This trust is NOT something that should be just given to someone. They need to earn it, and that takes time. It takes time for them to show you that you can trust them. Trust is not gained by telling someone something. It should be gained through actions and proving that it’s there. This, again, takes time.
Learning Who Someone Is
The second reason we’re advocates for a slower online dating process is that it takes time to learn everything about someone. In the first few dates, weeks, and even months, people are on their best behavior. Things are fun and exciting because everything is new. This can cloud your judgment and make it seem like things are perfect with someone when in fact they aren’t.
In the first few weeks and usually months, you don’t go through any hard times with someone new. You don’t know how they react under pressure or how they handle disappointment. You don’t know how well they communicate under duress or handle solving problems. All of this…takes…time. Mr. or Ms. Perfect could turn into a monster under pressure, and you won’t know this until you go through some trials and tribulations that usually don’t present themselves early on in relationships.
If you start making long-term commitments too early in the dating process, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You may end up in a situation that’s a challenge to get out of emotionally, financially, physically, and logistically.
How to Avoid This
Look, we don’t want to be a negative Nancy and rain on your love parade. We are NOT saying that you can’t be excited about a new dating match. We are NOT saying that you can’t fall in love quickly. We are NOT saying that the guy or girl you just met isn’t going to end up being your future husband or wife.
What we are saying is that you need to allow the dating process to happen naturally. If you rush things, you can put yourself in a bad situation, or you could even ruin something that would have otherwise been great. What if your match wants to take things slowly? If you come on too strongly, you’re going to scare them away. They might think you’re nuts only because you’re falling for them quickly.
Here’s what we recommend. Take things slow. Breathe. Realize that if this really is your soul mate, you have the rest of your lives to get to know each other and build your relationship. You’re not going to lose the person if you don’t rush things and lock them down. If that is the case, that’s not someone you want to be with anyways.
Allow the relationship to develop naturally. We can’t give you a timeline of how and when things should happen because every relationship is different. What we can say, though, is to be extra careful and cautious with things that have permanent implications.
This means things like moving in together, sharing finances, having kids, getting engaged or married, cosigning for loans, quitting your job to move for them, or anything else that might have a long-term impact on your life especially if the relationship does not work out.
You can let your emotions run wild, but you have to be careful with things that will have a lasting effect. Regarding your emotions, keeping extremely strong feelings to yourself at least at first is probably a wise choice. You’ll protect yourself from scaring away a great match and help to limit the chance that two vulnerable minds make too rash of decisions too quickly.
We’re not here to be a dating buzzkill. We are all for love and finding that special someone fast. All we are saying is to take your time, protect yourself, and don’t force anything. You’re going to end up much happier in the long run whether things work out with this one or not.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.