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We All Know What 'TMI' Is. When It Comes To Dating, Let's Talk About PMI

Since my (professional) life basically consists of all things relationships- (and sex-) related, it’s basically my job to pay attention to the relationship- (and sex-) based trends that are happening out here. Well, when I happened upon an article that said PMI is going to be something that will be frowned upon, as far as dating goes, for the foreseeable future, two things immediately came to mind: one is that there is nothing new under the sun (King Solomon is who coined that saying — Ecclesiastes 1:9) and the other is I’m sure grandma, great-grandma or some church lady already told y’all to steer clear of doing what PMI is referring to — because if there’s one thing that older women tend to be all for, it’s discretion and leaving some things to the imagination. Interestingly enough, that seems to be a lost art for many these days.


Anyway, what exactly am I referring to? Yeah, I’m about to get into all-a-dat. For the sake of the intro, I’ll just say that if "TMI" stands for "too much information," in general, I bet that you can just about guess what "PMI" in the dating world means. Let’s get into it.

What Is PMI in Dating All About?

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Okay, so before I break down what PMI actually is, are you able to take a guess? If TMI is “too much information,” when you’re first dating someone, what could you run the risk of doing as far as PMI is concerned? If your immediate thought is giving out too much personal information, you would basically be correct. Yep, PMI stands for "premature intimacy" — and a lot of people do indeed fall victim to offering up just that.

How? Well, for one thing, it’s my personal opinion that many folks date the same way that some people grocery shop: they do it when they’re hungry. What I mean by that is…have you ever compared and contrasted the difference between when you’ve gone to the store (or even ordered your groceries online and then had them delivered) when you’re hungry vs. when you’ve already eaten? When you’re hungry, suddenly everything looks good to you. When you’re full, though, you can make more discerning decisions. Same goes with dating.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a date, you’re out with someone who you’re super excited about or you’re dating a goal more than a person (meaning, you really want to be in a relationship or you really want to get married and so you’re trying to rush things along), you can find yourself putting yourself in the trap of PMI. You might be giving them too much information about yourself. You might be expecting more than you should (dating is not courting, courting is not engagement, engagement is not marriage — there are levels to this thing). You might be giving it up too quickly (more on that later).

When these types of things happen, not only can they leave you emotionally exposed and hella vulnerable, but they can also cause the person on the receiving end to find you overwhelming and exhausting because you’re revealing way too much…way too soon.

Yeah, I know some of y’all probably don’t want to hear this, yet it must be said: PMI oftentimes translates as a form of desperation even if, from where you see it, you’re simply an “open book” and/or you’re just super enthusiastic about engaging someone. However, that’s the thing about something being premature: oftentimes, it’s not about what you’re doing being “wrong” so much as the timing of you doing it — whatever “it” is — being off. Way off.

That said, oftentimes what you’re offering up in PMI isn’t the red flag; it’s the fact that you’re so “hungry” for the dynamic that you’re moving at a faster pace than you should — for your sake and his.

So, now that you know what PMI is all about, let’s pull back a few more layers concerning it.

How Can You Know That You Have a “PMI Pattern”?

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There’s a client I have who’s a single woman. To be honest, I pretty much only hear from her when she’s made a reckless decision and she wants me to help dig her out of her consequences. And yes, one of those is constantly being a PMI type of person: talking too much, having sex too soon, acting like she’s the only one who gets a say in where things are going with a guy. What’s wild is it never fails: almost every time that a man starts off really liking her, about six weeks in, he phases out, and they all basically tell her that it’s due to the same reason: “She’s doing too much.”

If you’re triggered, just by reading that, ask yourself why. Is it possibly because you can relate and it’s easier to tell yourself that the guy is the problem when it could be that it is actually time to take some accountability and accept that you could be the issue? As a wise person once said, “Everywhere you go, there you are,” which basically means if the common denominator is always you, some self-reflection could do you a lot of good.

Anyway, whenever she finds herself back at the same ending, and we recap what happened, she’s chill for the first 3-4 dates, then she has sex, then she’s telling all of her business, and then she’s upset because she feels like they should be damn near at marital status — all because she moved too fast, too soon. And all of this? What all of this represents, in live and living color, is what it means to be in a PMI pattern.

The reality is that relationships are a lot like an onion in the sense that there are layers to it all. And what I mean by that is no one should have immediate access to all of who you are. Time, their character, the consistency in how they treat you, the reciprocity that you receive, good old-fashioned common sense and discernment — all of these things should play a direct role in how much information someone receives…mind, body, and spirit.

So, keeping all of this in mind, if you find yourself always hearing that “you’re doing the most” or a guy feels overwhelmed or that you’re liked, but they wish you would slow things down — that definitely sounds like a PMI pattern to me. In response to this revelation, you can either act like everyone else is wrong and you are right…or you can do some pondering and figure out where you could stand to realign some boundaries. Including when it comes to sex. This brings me to the next point.

Sex Too Soon Can Qualify As PMI Too, By the Way

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Listen, even if you didn't hear your own grandma (or at this point because grandmas are getting younger by the day, great-grandma) say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”, I’m pretty sure you heard it said somewhere. And while this type of elder wisdom is pretty much speaking of giving it up before marriage, I’m gonna tweak it a bit and say, “Having sex for merely recreational use without stopping to see if it could serve you better to wait isn’t very smart” because, even though the current state of our culture is out here acting like humans should see sex as no more than a “dogs in heat” activity, you were given a brain and a heart for a reason. Yes, as antiquated as it may sound (and if it does, I don’t care, I don’t care), sex should still be seen as an intimate act.

You know, if you were to ask a lot of mental health and/or relationship experts to define what intimacy is, they would probably say something along the lines that it consists of mutual trust, an established connection, and a warmth and tenderness between two people. How this can all transpire after just a couple of dates (if you didn’t know the person beforehand) makes absolutely no sense to me. Can attraction, lust, or infatuation make you believe that it has? Yeah. Is that bona fide intimacy, though? Absolutely not.

So yeah, if you’re reading this and you’re trying to figure out if PMI is something that you are prone to doing, don’t take sex out of the equation. Premature means things like “too soon” and “before the proper time.” Proper means “appropriate to the purpose.” Purpose means “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” If the only reason why you plan on sleeping with someone is to have a little fun, you’re grown, do you.

HOWEVER, if you want something more than that, it’s best to slow down and ask yourself what the purpose needs to be BEFORE giving it up. Because once you’ve had sex with someone, you can’t undo it — nor can you control how they will react or respond to you on the backend. Use forethought; it helps to prevent you from moving…prematurely.

3 Things You Can Do to Avoid the Premature Intimacy Trap

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Okay, so what if you’ve read all of this, and you can’t help but admit that you’ve got a bit of “PMI” going on in your dating history? Moving forward, what can you do to prevent it from happening again?

1. Ask yourself, “What’s the rush?” The person who once said that haste makes waste was a wise individual. It basically means that when you rush things, you tend to cause confusion and chaos on some level because it can cause you to overlook red flags, skip necessary steps, and make a relationship a goal over establishing a genuine connection with a person. Look, I get that few things beat the thrill of a new situation with a person who seems to check off all of your boxes. However, if it’s real, it’ll be there weeks later too. Slow down so that you can see what’s genuine — and also so you can finally break your pattern of moving prematurely. Oh, and do literally ask yourself “What’s the rush?” If fear or anxiety are a part of your answer, that’s another reason to slow the hell down.

2. Make people earn access to you. Your thoughts, your feelings, your body — all of these things are privileged information. And since all of us have so many layers to us, each time someone learns something new or more, that is something that they should earn. They can’t do that if you’re giving them everything at once; plus, folks tend not to appreciate it when interactions with people go down that way. That said, am I for game-playing and making a man damn near kill himself to get closer to you? Absolutely not. At the same time, I do think that, as relationships evolve and mature, that’s how you can know what to give and what to hold back. And evolution and maturity take time.

3. Don’t tell men what you want; have them reveal who they are. One of the most ridiculous relationships that I’ve ever been in consisted of a guy who asked me on the first date what I was looking for in a man. When I rattled off some traits, his response was, “I can be that.” Please tell me that you caught the red flag: not he IS that, but he can PRESENT HIMSELF TO APPEAR to be that way. And that’s just how the relationship played out, too. This is a not-so-obvious indicator of premature intimacy: telling men what you want instead of letting them reveal who they are. Yeah, don’t do that. That’s how you can end up with a character more than someone with character (if you catch my drift).

_____

If most of us were truly honest with ourselves, we’d have to admit that we’ve fallen victim to it in some way; that’s the not-so-great news. The good news is a few simple adjustments can break you free from finding yourself in that kind of dating drama again.

A wise person once said that the right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. Premature intimacy can get you into this type of dynamic, for sure.

Bottom line, if it’s real, it ain’t goin’ nowhere no time soon.

Slow down and let the relationship evolve.

So that you can have intimacy instead of regret — all because you moved too fast.

Because rarely, is that ever a wise move. In dating or honestly…life, in general, sis.

Be careful out here, ya hear?

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Featured image by svetikd/Getty Images

 

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