“Am I Falling In Love Too Fast?”
Tips to guide you through anxious thoughts that keep you up at night leaving you wondering if you’re moving too fast.
Jonah Stevenson, LSW Illinois
With shows like Married at First Sight, it’s hard to definitively suggest there may be such an objective truth as falling in love “too soon.” Married at First Sight is a modern televised spin on arranged marriages, where strangers only meet at the wedding and are legally wed and paired based on a set of counselors who set them up for 8 weeks of relationship testing delight. In addition to personal exploration of attempting to muster up love for their arranged partner, their relationship is exposed to a national audience and the couple is exposed to significant scrutiny over their behaviors and decisions that are portrayed. Some of the couples may fall in love, but falling in love is way more complicated than the show tries to make it out to be. Similarly, the Netflix show Love is Blind seeks to see if physical appearance could take a backseat to an emotional connection in a marriage. These shows have flipped the script on the normative discussion of highly debated topics such as “when is it too soon to fall in love?” or “am I moving too fast?” While these reality folks can go through this philosophical experiment on television, the same cannot always be said by those of us who wish to stay out of the limelight.
So, what IS the timeline for falling in love?
A Look at Falling In Love
To answer this question, theories on healthy relationships that tend to move quickly suggest that reflection of self and the presentation of the other person can help to determine whether they align with your values considering the affection that comes with it. Engage in self-reflection by asking yourself, “Why does it matter if I move ‘quickly’ in this relationship?” It can be worth asking to see if self-doubt is challenging the bubbly feelings you may have now. Self-doubt can at times be a useful defense mechanism for protecting us from potential hurt and avoidance of heartbreak. At the same time, self-doubt may have a polarizing effect on our psyche — with thoughts around “is this person too much?” or “am I too much?” — regarding the amount of affection that feels acceptable early on in a relationship.
The philosopher Alan Watts says of falling in love: “We don’t say ‘rising into love.’ There is in it, the idea of the fall … You see, for all of life is an act of faith and an act of gamble.” There is nothing wrong with telling or showing the person you are with that you are enjoying the relationship, and if that feels like love, perhaps it is. Love is inherently subjective regarding the combination of value alignment, sense of emotional safety, comfort, and even hormonal factors, amongst many more things. A reasonable fear that lurks with this question regarding timeline could be a more topical characteristic of love bombing, which has seen an uptick in exposure in the modern zeitgeist thanks to the rise of true-crime podcasts and awareness around narcissistic personalities. Love bombing, put simply, is when one person takes on a lot of supportiveness and generosity towards the other person, and the bubbling feelings relate to euphoria and a sense that things are the way they should always go. The psychiatric literature around narcissistic personalities suggests that love bombing tends be a tactic to manipulate and control the relationship early on. However, it is unreasonable to always suggest that love via affection and “honeymoon”-esque feelings are wrong.
How Do Your Values Align?
One way to determine if the level of affection and pace of your relationship feels safe and healthy is to see how values align with one another. For example: that person you started dating loves grabbing coffee and spending time in the library with you while sharing sweet nothings. What shows up inside when reflecting on their values and how you see the relationship progressing? It’s okay to enjoy the relationship in the moment as it is happening too. Reflection can be helpful, so long as it is not taking away your enjoyment and creating further anxiety.
There is risk in love no matter how safe, and reflection can limit the emotional obstacles while potentially affirming our intuition and ability to explore new territories should opportunities arise.
Should you want more information on reflecting on values and finding common elements, check out this questionnaire: https://www.integralpsychology.org/uploads/1/5/3/0/15300482/shared-meanings.pdf
If you’re interested in learning more, you’d like to speak with a therapist, or you and your partner would like to try couples therapy, reach out to a licensed therapist at Symmetry Counseling. No matter what you’re going through, we’re here to help, and we’re proud to offer virtual therapy appointments for those who prefer teletherapy. Schedule a visit today.
Written by Kara Thompson-Miller, Licensed Clinical Social Worker: January 2023 “Why is it so hard to like my body?”: A unassumingly complex question that has been asked by many clients in many different variations, but one that, nonetheless, tends…Read More
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