Entering a new relationship can be very exciting. The nervous excitement buzzes between you as you get to know one another. You slowly uncover more about the person you are dating and anticipate each time you get to spend with them. The beginning of a relationship can be very fun and exciting. However, it can just as nerve-wrecking as you try to navigate getting to know someone and developing a relationship. When beginning a new relationship, there are certain things that could squash it before it really even starts.
- Sharing too much too soon. Being authentic and open is important in a relationship. However, some people are too open too quickly. Everyone should have some boundaries and utilizing your filter is normal and healthy. Being completely open with someone requires vulnerability. People should earn your vulnerability over time. Being too open too fast can intimidate people and make them uncomfortable.
- Moving too fast. It is similar to sharing too much too soon, but this involves pushing the relationship forward too quickly. The term “too quickly” is different for every relationship. For some people, saying “I love you” after a few months could be considered moving too fast whereas it might feel comfortable for others. The key is to maintain awareness and consider where the other person is in the relationship.
- Being too closed, making you seem aloof. While you do not want to be too open, you also do not want to be too closed. Not being open and moving too slowly can make it seem like you do not care. There has to be some level of vulnerability as you put yourself out there. Otherwise, you may inadvertently send the signal that you are not really interested or as invested in the relationship.
- Pushing unrealistic expectations (i.e. being too needy or clingy). Everyone has some kind of expectations in a relationship including the beginning of one. Some people have different expectations related to time spent together, balancing other friendships, dating, etc. It is important to consider your expectations and even discuss them. If you find yourself consistently disappointed, there is a chance that your expectations are unrealistic or that you and your partner have wildly different expectations. It might be that you are being too needy or clingy.
- Being dishonest and hiding information. Relationships take time to develop. Over time, you grow more comfortable and slowly reveal more about yourself. While there is nothing wrong with that, there is a difference between taking your time and being dishonest. When starting a relationship with someone, it is important to not hide information or be dishonest about who you are. Do not mislead someone by misrepresenting yourself. Be genuine from the beginning.
Lists like these are not to provoke anxiety. They exist to help you be as successful as you can be. When starting a new relationship, the best advice is to take your time, be authentic, and maintain your sense of self through all of it. You will manage to avoid some of the pitfalls people slip into while beginning a new relationship.
Michelle Overman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist working as a counselor for students, faculty, and staff at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She works with athletes, bridging the gap between athletics and mental health at ACU. She is becoming a Certified Mental Performance Consultant in sports psychology. Michelle ran her own private practice in Austin, Texas where she worked with a diverse population, including couples and families. Michelle earned a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy and has been working in the field for 6 years.