You’ve been dating for years, and you finally found someone wonderful (hooray!). It’s not every day that you meet someone you truly connect with.
But before you start planning the wedding, it’s important to slow down and take the time to truly get to know each other, says Jennifer Spaulding, a love and relationship coach in Austin, Texas.
Rushing through the initial stages of a relationship — from the first date to moving in together — can put a damper on your partnership and decrease the odds that your relationship will last long-term. Read on to discover seven more reasons that it’s a good idea not to rush into love.
1. You’ll Both Have More Time to Reveal Your True Selves
“When you first meet someone, you’re usually not your complete, full self with that person,” says Spaulding. “You stay on your best behavior and may also avoid being vulnerable.” That’s why it’s best to take things slow. Doing so will give you and your partner time to show your true colors — both the good and the bad.
2. You’ll Discover if You’re Truly Compatible
At the beginning of a relationship, you’re going to great restaurants, catching new movies, and heading to happy hour together. Those initial dates are fun, but as anyone who’s ever watched a dating reality TV show knows, it’s easy to stay in harmony when you’re constantly doing fabulous things together. To discover if you’re truly compatible, it’s important to do mundane activities together, too, says Spaulding. So head to the dry cleaner or go grocery shopping; if you find yourselves arguing in the produce aisle, you might realize you’re not a match after all.
3. You’ll Be Happier in the Long Run
Taking things slow includes hitting the brakes in the bedroom. According to a study published in December 2010 in the Journal of Family Psychology, couples who waited longer to have sex reported higher relationship satisfaction and better communication later on in their partnership than those who hit the sheets more quickly. And the results held true even when factors like religious beliefs or past number of sexual partners were taken into account.
4. You Won’t Rush Into Moving in Together
Delaying sex can also keep you from moving in together too quickly, which may keep your relationship happy in the long run. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that couples who have sex early in the relationship tend to cohabitate sooner, which can lead to relationship problems down the road.
5. You’ll Have Time to Check Your List
When it comes to finding love, it’s crucial to have a deal-breaker list, says Spaulding. It will help you keep your values front and center and remind you of what’s important to you in a relationship. Maybe you don’t want to be with someone who has credit card debt or who has a history of addiction, for example, and these issues are not things you find out on a first or second date. Taking things slow will allow you to learn these things naturally and then compare them to your list.
6. You’ll Learn How to Develop a Healthy Fight Philosophy
In the beginning stages of a relationship, everything is going along swimmingly: You’re going on romantic dates, and you find your new special friend to be downright fascinating. But as time goes on, it’s inevitable that you’ll have an argument — and chances are you’ll both be pretty awful at it. “Most people don’t know how to argue well or treat one another during a conflict,” says Spaulding. She recommends the book The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, PhD, which offers guidelines to argue in a healthy way. Rushing into a relationship means you may skip learning this all-important skill.
7. You’ll Know How Your Partner Reacts Under Stress
What happens when the waiter spills water on him? What does she do when a car cuts her off on the highway? The way your new love reacts to everyday stressors can tell you a lot about their character. “Look at how someone treats the least important person in their life,” says Spaulding. “There’s a real benefit to having that information.”