Sex and the Capital City: How soon is too soon?
"They’ve only known each other a year.”
“They’re moving in together. ALREADY.”
“I can’t believe they’re engaged.”
“Don’t you think it’s moving kind of fast?!”
We’ve all said these things. Hell, I’ve said most of those things within the past six months. And if you haven’t, well then good for you. You deserve some sort of judgment-free medal or something. Or a cookie.
First off, I'm sorry if the headline led you to believe you were reading an article about an acceptable number of dates after which to do the deed. Nope, this is about something of equal seriousness, but not of the between-the-sheets variety.
I’ve noticed a trend recently among some of the people in my social circles, and it’s got me thinking. Whether it’s an engagement, a shared apartment, even a baby, things seem to be moving pretty fast. It’s as if relationships are on steroids, maturing into beefed-up versions of themselves in record time.
Maybe instead of worrying about our friends’ happiness moving too quickly, we remain optimistic that they have happiness to begin with.
Many of my female friends are on the relationship fast track, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Because if Ferris Bueller taught me anything, it’s that you need to slow down every once in awhile, or you might miss something.
We’re bred to be automatically skeptical of things that moves too quickly. Even a quick-moving line at the grocery store raises a red flag in our psyche. So it makes sense that when we see someone doing what we perceive as “rushing into things,” we’re ringing alarms left and right.
And why is that? Aside from the fact that relational growth is a completely subjective notion, there are a number of things off with thinking a friend is jumping the gun. Sure, deep down, we’re afraid they’re going to get hurt. But is there something more? Should we be concerned less about the not-so-long-term relationship, and more about what it says about us?
Who am I to judge how quickly things should progress? Many people stay together for years — even decades — before ultimately ending things. We all know the “shit or get off the pot” mentality, so what’s the difference?
If a person’s emotions are strung along indefinitely, isn’t that almost worse than going “all in”? Meanwhile, some of us judging the lovebirds feel some sort of secret jealousy. I don’t think this to be the case for all, but it’s certainly easier to throw stones from inside one’s glass house.
I’m not saying we can all start looking the other way if a friend decides to marry a friend for a green card or something. (It’s happened, and it’s harder to bite your tongue than you’d think…) But maybe instead of worrying about our friends’ happiness moving too quickly, we remain optimistic that they have happiness to begin with.
I’m going to stop sweating the relationship small stuff and be happy for my friends, regardless of how quickly they’re canoodling. I’ll pick out paint samples, I’ll buy wedding gifts, and I’ll be happy about it. Because it’s the right thing to do.
And on the off chance things don’t work out, I’ll keep the Kleenex ready. And I’d hope they’d do the same.