Amelia Olson
February 15, 2015 7:15 am

I’ve dated a lot of people. And in most cases, I rushed into a relationship with each person, either because I felt pressured by their ultimatums of “being monogamous” or “moving on”, or because the excitement of a brand-new infatuation was so shiny and tempting, I just couldn’t resist the possibility of the love story that had the potential to follow.

When I met my now husband on an online dating website, we emailed back and forth for two weeks. Eventually it felt right to meet in person, and within six months we were living together and within two years we were married. I’m sure our family was concerned we were rushing, but our pace made sense to us.. We trusted ourselves, as individuals, to be true to our hearts and honor our respective needs.

We’re told to not rush into relationships, that we should take our time and get to know a person before we commit to them. And while I would agree that time reveals the nature of people, I’m not sure rushing is the problem. Instead, I think we risk heartache and trouble when we actively begin relationships before having a strong sense of self and an ability to negotiate terms of commitment with kindness and bravery. Relationships are really hard work, and if you haven’t quite figured out who you are, that hard work is going to be even harder. And as cliché as it may sound, you really can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

Of course we have struggles and insecurities and stupid things we do, and we will always be changing, growing and learning throughout our lives. But when I look back at some of my most serious relationships in the past, the common theme was always a lack of self-confidence. Either on my part, or on theirs. I just didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted because, frankly, I didn’t know what I wanted. And guess what? You can’t find out what you want until you trust yourself enough to seek out new experiences and ways of being with someone. The bad news is you might go through several breakups and tough situations, but the good news is, with each relationship you’ll learn more and more about yourself and what you need to do to be in a healthy, loving partnership with someone who is also committed to being secure and balanced.

Rushing into a relationship isn’t the culprit. If you want to blame something, blame insecurity. Meeting someone new, growing close, becoming vulnerable, and standing up for what you want and need, these things take confidence. So instead of worrying about moving too fast, or taking your time, or any other arbitrary adage about dating, focus on yourself. Get to know yourself, trust yourself, love yourself. And if you meet someone you just plain adore, rush on. But don’t ever lose sight of how important you are to yourself, how special your heart is and how much goodness you deserve.

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