Slow And Steady Wins The Race — GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 45)

Some might say I’m an impulsive person.  I get an idea and I act on it.  Case in point: Quitting my former job and starting A Little Nudge.  (Perhaps that was more of a well-researched impulsion!)  Basically, when I want something, I go for it.  And yet, I’ve learned that, in dating, slow and steady wins the race.

When it came to dating, I was always someone who preferred to jump two feet in before testing the water.  I figured that if I liked someone, it must be a good idea to see him seven nights a week, right?  And if he learned all my little idiosyncrasies early on, it would be endearing, wouldn’t it?  I was a full-fledged jumper.  And where did it leave me?  Often having what should have been a year-long relationship – meeting, the honeymoon phase, our first fight, and breaking up – all within the span of a month or two.

As I gained experience, I realized that when you like someone who likes you back, the anticipation of seeing each other again is often the best part of a new relationship.  Luckily for me, knowingly or not, Jeremy pushed us into the slow and steady routine.  Over two years later, I can see that this method was the best way to go for us.  (Of course, it also didn’t hurt that only one of us has a car, so it wasn’t always as easy to see each other during the week.)

The beginning of a relationship is exciting, and the temptation to jump in is going to be there.  Remember, though, that if this person is going to be around for a while, it’s not necessary to hit the accelerator when you can simply cruise at a steady speed until you’re ready to take it to the next level.  There is no hard and fast rule, but seeing someone once or twice a week for the first month of a new relationship is probably a healthy choice.  This way, you’ll have the anticipation and excitement of the next date, and you’ll have enough to talk about since you didn’t just see each other the night before!  Use this time to get to know each other – hobbies, things that make you tick, life ambitions, etc.

The same philosophy goes for when to be intimate for the first time… if you catch my drift.  It’s certainly tempting early on, but once you go down that path with someone, getting to know each other often takes a backseat to, well, the things you can do in the backseat.  It takes time to get to know someone before you can properly determine if you even want to open yourself up to that kind of intimacy.  If a friend asks you (after you’ve done the deed) what your date’s hobbies are or what he or she does for a living, you’ll probably want to know the answers.

The early parts of a relationship are often the most exciting, so relish in them and try not to hit the fast forward button too soon.  Get to know each other over ice cream, go to a baseball game, check out a new band, try a new restaurant, and all the while, learn about each other.  That way, when you’re ready to start seeing each other more often, you’ll be comfortable that this person is someone you’d truly like to spend time with beyond the initial infatuation.  And with the right person, that infatuation will linger for a long time, if not forever, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Erika Ettin is, as the Washington Post has noted, a “modern day Cyrano.” She is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people with all aspects of online dating.  An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

This article was also posted in JMag, the online magazine for JDate.com.