I’m infamous among my friends for going on one or two lovely dates with a man from Delaware and then declaring he is the person God put on this Earth for me to marry. It’s gotten so bad that my friends now just interpret that line as, “He’s a great guy! I look forward to getting to know him better.” As a person who dives two feet first at the first sign of love, I have some advice for you on how and why you should take it slow when you feel like you’re falling in love.
You could lose yourself—and your friends.
In the early stages of falling in love, we often want to spend every waking moment with our new love interest. In doing so, we sometimes neglect our friends and family as well as the hobbies and interests that drew our new love interest to us in the first place. As much as it feels good to be with your love interest as much as possible, you will do yourself and your relationship a favor if you give one another time to be apart. That way, you’ll actually have things to talk about when spend time together. You won’t depend on one another for your entire happiness, because you will each have independent lives. The relationship serves to augment what is already a fulfilling life rather than serving as your reason for being. To keep from losing yourself in the person you’re dating, spend time apart to cultivate your friendships and personal interests.
You could get pregnant.
When you’re in love, you sometimes lose touch with reality. You get caught up in the euphoric high of finding someone who excites you physically, emotionally, and intellectually. You want to connect with them in every way possible—and this often means having passionate, dramatic sex. However, being in love does not mean having unprotected sex (no matter how delicious it feels) will not get you pregnant. If you feel yourself falling in love, make sure you ask your partner to get tested, get yourself some contraception, and use it—whether you plan to have sex or not in the near future. I suggest waiting as long as possible (be it two weeks or two months) before having sex, so that you have adequate time to really get to know the person—and to get tested.
You could scare them away.
People don’t always fall in love at the same pace. I believe in Sherry Argov’s philosophy that women fall in love by spending time with a man and that men fall in love in a woman’s absence–when they realize how much they miss their woman. Using “in love” language like “The universe brought us together” (one of my favorites) or “We are so getting married” (another favorite of mine) could easily scare your partner away. It’s also important not to let a guy who says these “in love” things trick you into playing along. It’s easy to get caught up in a passionate moment, declare your love and devotion for one another, and then one person be left during the afterglow having second thoughts, like, “Maybe this is moving too fast…” If your partner starts saying dramatic in-love statements, respond with something like, “That means a lot to me that you say that. I’m really excited about where our relationship is going.” It’s honest without luring you into the quicksand terrain of infatuation.
I love love. I think the discovery of love is what makes life worth living, the possibility of love is what motivates people to create art, and the perceived scarcity of love causes nations to wage wars. However, it’s important to realize that the process of falling in love is one that can—in small ways—be managed, so that your love grows over time rather than quickly flaming out.