Going fast creates ‘False Intimacy’ which leads to getting into the wrong relationships.
Key behaviors leading to false intimacy:
• Sex too soon
• Spending the night
• Spending too much time
• Trust and time–over-disclosing
Key practices to slowing down:
• No sex for 10-12 dates
• Meeting for coffee instead of extended evening dates
• Little to no alcohol consumption
• Limiting contact (emails, phone, text or dates)
Hello, this is Sevin Philips. This is part one on the dating series that I’m doing. It’s primarily focused on those folks that move really fast through the dating process.
One of the dangers of this is that we create this thing called false intimacy. We feel really close to somebody really quick and we don’t really know the person. What happens is we end up jumping into relationships with these people and maybe going several months, or maybe even several years, with these people when had we been more discerning, we probably wouldn’t have chosen these people to begin with.
Some of the key culprits here are having sex too soon. Obviously making love is a very intense and intimate act. So we’re feeling really close to people really soon. That’s definitely number one.
I also know for many of us that it’s hard not to have sex so soon, because oftentimes some of us are afraid of, “Well, if I don’t make love, maybe the person won’t be interested.” What I have to say to you is if you want to be in a long-term relationship and the person is really interested you and getting to know you, it’s going to be okay.
Another thing that I find is – forget sex – but if we’re spending the night and somebody’s house and we wake up in the morning, it is so loaded with fantasy. You wake up in the morning and you’ve got the shower, you’ve got breakfast and it just feels like we’re living together, which ultimately, for most of us, it’s the big holy grail at the end of the relationship.
So when we do that too early, we often have these really deep experiences with this person and it makes us feel closer to them, but yet we might not really know them yet.
Another thing is that in the very beginning of the dating process, maybe after the first or second date, we feel really connected with this person. We’re really excited so we start texting, emailing and maybe even seeing this person three, four, five times a week – really soon.
What that does is when you spend that much time with somebody, it makes you feel really close to them. It’s like almost the amount of time you would be spending with somebody you were in a committed relationship with. It speeds the process up again, which is dangerous.
The other thing is you can share information about yourself, what I call is over-disclosing. Basically, earlier on in the relationship, you’re dating and you spill your life story out. I’m all for sharing your heartfelt things about your life with the person you’re getting to know, but when you start sharing some of the most deepest, intimate things about yourself without really trusting the person – you don’t really know the person that well – it kind of develops this false sense of “I know you so well” but you haven’t spent that much time together.
With all these things that I’ve mentioned, I have a couple of suggestions that are related to all of these. With the sex part, a lot of people have made a decision to wait 10-13 dates before making love. This way, you really get to know somebody and they get to know you before you actually open that door.
The other would be really slowing down the amount of time you see each other. It reminds me of a story. When I was younger and I was dating somebody, I remember that I was trying to do something very similar. I told this person, “In the past, I’ve gone too fast and I really like you. I want to slow down and just see you no more than three times a week.”
At this time in the relationship, I was really nervous about it. Is this person going to think I’m weird for asking this kind of a question? But what actually happened is this person looked at me and actually saw it as a very healthy thing.
What I learned from this is that healthier people typically see these kind of boundaries as a sign of help. So people that wouldn’t are most likely maybe not the healthiest people to be with anyway.
Another thing I would suggest is around the drinking. Really limit or cut out the drinking in general when you’re dating somebody, because it just gets in the way and clouds their head up. It leaves us to do things that perhaps we don’t want to do.
The last thing would be dating. Maybe the first time you date, I really suggest instead of going out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday, which is a really loaded night – you finish the night, it’s late and “What do we do now?” It just has a lot of loadedness to it. It’s a lot safer I think – at least on the first date – to meet for coffee or tea. And make it for only an hour. It’s really light. It’s a good way to get to know somebody and walk away and notice how you feel about the dating situation instead of spending a very large amount of time with one another.
This is my first video. I hope you liked it. Happy practices.
By Sevin Philips, MFT