All of our lives we’re advised against allowing ourselves to fall in love too fast. They (whoever “they” are) tell us that love should happen deliberately, gradually, over a moderate amount of time to have truly legitimate long-term potential. That certainly seems like sound advice. A cautious approach to new love is never in any way inappropriate. Better safe than sorry.
The problem is that even though this sounds like the right thing to do – feels like the right thing to do – is that there’s very little control over our emotions. Yet there are those who truly believe that we have some kind of real power and jurisdiction over our feelings. Whenever I’ve heard someone proclaim that they wouldn’t “let themselves fall in love” with someone, I could only laugh. Certainly, as human beings we have the ability to make choices. As people we can acknowledge feeling a certain way without acting upon whatever powerful emotions may be brewing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. The experience of falling in love with someone is extraordinarily powerful – almost impossible to resist. And we have no ability to just turn that off. If we could do that, there wouldn’t be nearly so many shallow husks of decayed relationships strewn across the ages. But this notion that we can fall in love too quicky – that we somehow will fall in love too soon if we don’t exercise some sort of discretionary power over that emotion, I theorize, is a complete fallacy.
I posted a question on my Facebook fan page asking the question, “On average, how soon after you begin seeing a new suitor do you realize that you’re falling for them?” The overall response was generally in the three to seven date range. Now this was a small sample size so it’s hardly scientific, but I think it’s indicative of something nonetheless. It may indicate that most people fall in love far sooner than we would care to admit…. and definitely sooner than we would like.
Think of your current or past relationships. How many of them took you more than a few dates before you felt the opening pangs of what you would eventually come to realize that this was you falling in love? When you really fell for someone, how long did it take? Probably much sooner than you think. How many times have you heard people in successful relationships tell the story of how they “just knew right away?” I use myself as an example of this. My ex-wife and I moved in together two weeks after we met. We were together for the next ten years. Have you ever started to fall someone after more than ten dates or sooner than ten dates? I theorize that most of us know fairly quickly, in spite of how we’re all told we should feel.
There’s always that awkward period where you’re each waiting to see who says “I love you first.” You want to say it. You want to tell that person what you’re feeling, but you can’t, right? Why is it awkward? Because we’re told not to. Too soon. May scare him off. May not feel the same way. Which may possibly be true in any given situation. But life is filled with risks. By the way, research shows that generally guys are the first to drop the L-bomb.
I guess my point in all this is that sometimes trying to adhere to conventional wisdom may not be the best route for you to take in a fledgling relationship. You should be cautious, but you can be cautious and still embrace the fact that you’re falling for someone without concern over some artificial timetable. All these rules take the fun out of new love! But I ask you again…..how soon do you know you’re falling in love?