Whoa, There!

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - LOVE -

Is it just us, or does it seem like sud­denly ev­ery­one is get­ting en­gaged at light­ning speed? Nick Jonas popped the ques­tion to Priyanka Cho­pra after just two months of dat­ing; Justin Bieber and Hai­ley Bald­win, same (after rekin­dling their ro­mance); and Pete David­son put a ring on Ar­i­ana Grande’s left hand after four weeks – but we all know how that ended.

While fast-track re­la­tion­ships are not new, what makes them so sur­pris­ing is that they’re at odds with the leisurely way most young peo­ple date to­day. The typ­i­cal drill: you hang out as friends be­fore grad­u­ally be­com­ing ex­clu­sive. ‘Sin­gles want to ex­plore their dat­ing op­tions and make sure they’re pick­ing the right per­son,’ says bi­o­log­i­cal an­thro­pol­o­gist He­len Fisher, who calls this the slow-love move­ment. ‘They get to know ev­ery­thing about a part­ner be­fore they com­mit,’ she says. And a study out of Emory Univer­sity shows that cou­ples who date for at least three years be­fore lock­ing things down are al­most 40% less likely to split than those who com­mit se­ri­ously within a year.

Play­ing the slow game isn’t with­out its is­sues, though. In fact, the non-com­mit­tal grey area it cre­ates may ex­plain the sud­den shift to­wards zero-to-one-hun­dred courtships. ‘Fast love is a re­ac­tion to hook-up cul­ture and all the sloppy, vague “sit­u­a­tion-ships” where peo­ple aren’t mak­ing de­ci­sions,’ says Su­san Win­ter, a re­la­tion­ship ex­pert.

When it comes to your dat­ing life, you have to move at a pace that feels right to you, says Carol Bruess, coau­thor of What Happy Cou­ples Do.

But know this: your past dat­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and per­son­al­ity def­i­nitely play a role.

Use this flow­chart to find out which speed you grav­i­tate to­wards. Then heed our ex­perts’ ad­vice to bet­ter as­sess your feel­ings for some­one and make sure you’re mov­ing at the per­rr­fect pace.

You Take It Fast

You’re able to de­cide on a part­ner swiftly if they meet your cri­te­ria, which means you can cap­i­talise on the but­terly feel­ings of new in­fat­u­a­tion (fu­elled by bond­ing hor­mones such as oxy­tocin). But some­thing to con­sider: as time goes by in any re­la­tion­ship, the pas­sion­ate ire­works tend to die down a bit in or­der for you to deal with long-term, prac­ti­cal needs. If you rush through early love mile­stones (such as your irst ight and make-up ses­sion), you risk skip­ping mo­ments that al­low you to get real with each other. The end re­sult? Your con­nec­tion may not be strong enough to last for the long haul.

You’re In Be­tween

When you’re faced with a small predica­ment, such as whether or not to say yes to a irst date, you choose fast. But you also like to take your time with big­ger things, such as be­com­ing ex­clu­sive. That’s okay! Just re­mem­ber, it’s help­ful to look at why you’re ad­vanc­ing at a clip or se­ri­ously drag­ging ass with a new boo. To get an ac­cu­rate read on your feels, ask your­self: am I ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an in­tense con­nec­tion to this per­son, or am I afraid to lose them? Am I not pos­i­tive they’re The One, or am I cool with hav­ing fun dat­ing?

You Go Slow

You like to test out all your op­tions be­fore mak­ing a move. This can be a good ap­proach in re­la­tion­ships be­cause you’re giv­ing your­self time to get past the lovey-dovey hor­mones that spike early on. And it al­lows space for small mo­ments (such as sup­port­ing bae when they’ve had a crappy day at work) that help re­build a solid re­la­tion­ship. Just make sure you’re not mov­ing at a glacial pace be­cause you’re wor­ried about miss­ing out on some­one bet­ter or you’re avoid­ing cru­cial com­mit­ment con­vos. ■

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