Q: After only three months, my boyfriend and I are extremely serious. It has been smooth sailing from the very beginning, but now my relatives and friends say we are moving too fast. Are we?
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A: Probably not. Unless you have a history of leaping headlong into relationships — and then quickly crashing and burning — there is no such thing as too fast.
If you have had a fair amount of dating experience (and, often, even if you haven’t) you can usually sense what feels right. You just know.
Your family and friends might be telling you to slow down for reasons of their own. They might feel envious of your good fortune, or uncertain about the strength of their own relationships. It might be hard for them to imagine something so good and so soon. Or they might feel possessive of you, fearing your boyfriend will take you away.
It can be scary to have your relationship progress quickly, but it’s also thrilling. I see many people with wonderful relationships that solidified very early on. As I said, they just knew.
In fact, this is often a good sign for a relationship. If you have a lot of dating experience, you have already learned about what you need from a boyfriend and what you can’t stand. You can probably look back and identify times when, very early, you knew it was NOT right.
In many cases, people spend years analyzing difficult relationships, yet it doesn’t improve things at all. In most cases, good relationships don’t require lots of pondering or ruminating or worrying. They do, however, require upkeep through good communication.
All you need worry about right now is that you and your boyfriend are together for the right reasons — not because you have a fear of loneliness, a need to escape from your family or some other reason that makes you act as though any relationship is better than no relationship.
So unless you have a typical destructive pattern of breathlessly declaring every new boyfriend “the one” for the first few months until the relationship dissolves, don’t fret about the cautions of others. Time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy this. You’re lucky.
Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: Trust your gut on this one. If a relationship feels really right early on, there is no need to slow it down.
Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to “Today.” Her new book, “Becoming Real: Overcoming the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” was recently published by Riverhead Books. For more information, you can visit her Web site, www.drgailsaltz.com.
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this column should not be construed as providing specific medical or psychological advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand their lives and health. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist or psychotherapist. Copyright ©2004 Dr. Gail Saltz. All rights reserved.