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Relationships are a marathon, not a sprint

When it came to dating, I was always that person who preferred to jump two feet in rather than testing the water first.

Some might say I'm impulsive.  When I have an idea, I act on it.  Case in point: Quitting my former job at Fannie Mae and starting A Little Nudge.  (Perhaps that was more of an educated impulsion!)  Essentially, when I want something, I go get it.  And yet, I've learned that when starting a new relationship, pacing yourself is the key to sustainability.

When it came to dating, I was always that person who preferred to jump two feet in rather than testing the water first.  I figured that if I liked someone, what was the harm in seeing him every night of the week, right?  And if he learned about all of my quirks 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 couple months.

As I gained experience, I realized that when you like someone who likes you back (and you'll know – trust me!), the anticipation of seeing each other is often the best part.  There is no rule for this, but seeing someone once or twice a week for the first month of a new relationship is 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 can certainly be 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.  As a test, 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.  (I am not, however, against kissing on the first date.  If the moment strikes, why pass it up?)

The early parts of a relationship are often the most exciting, so relish in them.  Get to know each other over water ice, go to a Phillies game, check out a new band, or 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, so there's nothing to worry about.