Do you fall in love hard and fast? Me too. I can feel strongly about someone pretty quick and falling in love too easily is something I’m very familiar with. I once went exclusive with a boyfriend in one weekend and a month later we even went away on a romantic European vacation. And were we really happy and in love? Not quite. We broke up a month later.
Falling head over feels at record speed is usually the M.O. of a) someone who’s been out of the dating game for a while b) deeply sensitive or c) obsessed with romantic quotes and pins on Pinterest… or all of the above.
Even though there’s nothing wrong with falling in love and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone new, falling in love with someone too quickly can end in a whirlwind of crushed feelings and dashed dreams. Because love is such a powerful emotion, it’s important to protect your heart and make sure you’re falling for someone who’s not only falling for you too but who’s also going to catch you in a committed loving and healthy relationship.
Which is why taking things slowly and establishing boundaries are important to do when you first start to date someone. A healthy relationship involves two secure, independent people who aren’t in a rush to make something happen because they are patient enough to let something happen.
If you’re someone who’s always falling in love too easily, here are some ways to avoid it:
1. Be honest with yourself.
Sure, it’s super exciting to fall for someone new. There are romantic dates to look forward to and physical intimacy and, sometimes, literal fireworks (if you’re lucky). But all these fancy nights don’t make for true love. Take a moment to decipher your feelings—are you truly in love with this person or are you just excited about all the things you’re doing together? Checking in with yourself, especially during the first few months of dating someone new, is crucial to keeping your head straight. By the way, it’s perfectly okay to admit to yourself that you’re not in love with the new person you’re dating. It doesn’t mean you won’t be! It just means you’re not yet.
2. Create boundaries.
Boundaries are important for every relationship, which is why establishing them as soon as possible is beneficial for the longevity of your relationship. Plus, it helps to keep your heart in check. Constantly spending time with your partner will make anyone feel as if they’re meant to be because you’re practically living in a bubble together. Taking time apart is not only healthy, but will also help you get perspective on the direction of the relationship. In the beginning of a relationship, seeing each other once or twice a week is both normal and healthy.
3. Check in with your friends and family.
Your loved ones know you best. Let them know that you’re trying to take things slow with dating and ask them to keep an eye on how you’re doing with your free flow of feelings. Every couple of weeks or so, check in with them and talk to them about your relationship. Ask them outright for their honest opinion on whether you’re falling too hard or being unrealistic with your expectations. Try not to get defensive. Remember, this is supposed to help you.
4. Recognize the red flags.
Being able to see and take note of red flags is a huge thing, especially in new relationships. It’s so easy to ignore your new love interest’s flaws because you’re just so excited about them and everything they might represent to you, like marriage or weekend getaways. But no one is perfect. Someone’s flaws might be acceptable to you, but some might not be. This is why it’s important to be honest with yourself and to check in with your friends and family.
5. Be the captain of your emotions.
In the end, no one can control your emotions but yourself. And you can control your emotions. Though we tend to think that feelings, like love, can hit us from out of the blue, we can choose how we regulate our feelings. Just because we think we feel something doesn’t mean it needs to be true. Start by seeing the bigger picture of your relationship—have you two just started dating? How well do you know this person? It’s also a good idea to look at your emotional triggers. What do you think causes you to fall hard and fast? Is it because you’re scared of being alone? Mastering your emotions will help you keep perspective on what’s really developing between you and your new partner.
Love is a wonderful thing. It’s even more wonderful when it’s not only shared between two people, but when it’s earned. Falling in love with someone—like real love—takes time, and that’s what makes it so meaningful. Establishing boundaries and taking things slowly doesn’t mean you don’t care about the other person—it just means you care about your own heart too. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.