Ever Wonder If You're Moving Too Fast In A Relationship?
If there's one thing that you can trust me to do, several times a week, it's bump some 80s and 90s R&B. A particular song that I was vibin' to recently is "(You're Puttin') a Rush on Me" by Stephanie Mills. After listening to her preach about a guy moving too soon, it reminded me to go to one of my favorite Mya songs which is "Best of Me" (the original or the remix both slap). I always like that Mya referred to someone having sex with her as them getting "her best". Anyway, if you listen to both songs, they both speak of how it's a good thing to not move quickly and while they're mostly speaking to moving on the sexual tip, I think it's important to expand that to our head and hearts as well.
You know how the old saying goes—haste makes waste. Unfortunately, in this microwave and cell phone society that we live in where everything is wanted immediately, a lot of people have absolutely no idea when they are moving faster than they probably should in a relationship. If you're curious about what some of those signs are, I've got a few for you today.
1.You Feel Some Level of Anxiety, Right Out the Gate
Even as I'm typing this all out, I've got a friend who has a woman in his life who he really likes. Problem is, even though they've known each other for several months, they've only been on a couple of dates and all she seems to talk about is, "So, where is this heading?" Meanwhile, he's like, "It's been coffee twice and you've watched one movie at my house once. Can we chill a bit?"
There's another woman I know who, last I checked is still married. You know what, though? Her husband has been absolutely miserable for at least half of their relationship. When they were dating, he dug her but because she was so, "I date to marry. I DATE TO MARRY!" with her energy and he didn't want to lose her, he jumped the broom without them really getting to know one another all that well. And her? She was so consumed with "getting a husband" that she didn't even really think about what she was gonna do after landing one.
One of the most popular Scriptures in the Bible is also one that gets ignored—a lot. It starts off by saying, "Be anxious for nothing." (Philippians 4:6-7) Putting yourself through a lot of mental distress or acting all eager typically does more harm than good; especially in dating dynamics. If you're someone who has no clue how to just be in the moment, even just for a little while when it comes to relationships, to me that is a clear sign that you probably have a tendency to move too fast. Way too fast, actually.
2.You’ve Got SUPER FIRM Time Limits on Your Relationship Goals
Every relationship is different. That's because every person is different. That's why, although I definitely do think there is some validity to data that talks about things like how long two people should (seriously) see each other before getting married, I also think that it's unrealistic and unfair to expect that to apply to every couple in America. What I mean by that is, if you've decided in your mind that someone only has a year to be with you before proposing and if they don't get on one knee, you're out, you could find yourself sabotaging a relationship before it even starts.
What if you're in a long-distance relationship? What if there are certain goals that need to be attained, separately first (my mom used to say, "Do everything you can't compromise before getting married.")? What if one or both of you need to get some debt cleared away? Let's be real—what if one or both of you need to get some past relationships fully resolved (you'd be amazed how many married people haven't done that and it has come back to haunt them in real-time)? People who set firm time limits on relationships without factoring in, shoot, life are also ones who tend to force things to happen before they should. Not wanting to date forever is one thing. Putting your relationship in a pressure cooker is something else. Be realistic about where the both of you are, what the both of you need, and go from there.
3.You Haven’t Healed from Your Past Relationships
I'm sure some of y'all have heard the saying that you should take half of the time a relationship took to heal from it once it is over. Chile, I guess. When it comes to some of my exes, it took years and years. You wanna know a part of the reason why? It was because I would go from guy to guy without spending at least a few months TOTALLY alone. Totally means no dating. Totally means no sex. Totally means not being preoccupied with the idea of either of those things too. I've shared before that a saying that really gets under my skin is, "The best way to get over someone is to get underneath someone else." If you look at that from 30,000 feet in the air, what you're really saying is, "I'm scared to be alone with my thoughts to really process what happened so that I can grow from it, not continue the pattern, and choose better next time. I'll just use sex as a distraction instead."
People who don't heal from their past? Not only do they typically repeat it on some level (check out "Are You Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again? Maybe."), they usually struggle FOR-E-VER to become whole because they never give themselves enough space to become fully OK on their own. And since the pain is hard to bear, they just keep going from person to person, hoping that it will fix something when really, all it does is make the individuals their fix. As someone who is finally at a point in my life where there is no one to get over and have closure with or pine away about—not only are my standards way higher and healthier but because I feel complete within my own being, there is no need to rush the process. God knows what I desire. I'm fine with following his lead on when and how to make it manifest. Until then, I'm chillin'. And it's all good. It really is.
4.You “Lead” with Sex
I'm a fan of sex. Goodness, I write about it on here all of the time. Still, I know there is a spiritual and emotional component to it that goes overlooked, far too much. It's like (some) people are so caught up in the physical benefits of copulating that they act like sex shouldn't serve a far greater purpose. While I haven't ever had a one-night stand, I have had sex with friends which I made the relationship bigger in my mind than it deserved to be. Wanna know why? Because after we came together in that way, I found myself attached. The Bible says that sex makes people one (Genesis 2:24-25 and I Corinthians 6:16-20—Message). The natural hormone oxytocin comes behind it and says that sex makes us feel closer to people (so, even if you aren't a Bible follower, science basically says the same thing).
That's why I think it is a huge no-no to put yourself in the pattern of leading with sex. For one thing, just because a man sleeps with you, that doesn't mean that he's—pardon the pun—into you; you need some time to get to know him as a person so that you can see if he's digging you beneath the surface. Second, great sex is not synonymous with a great person or partner (check out "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner") but if you are getting sexual involved too soon or you don't choose to see sex as the icing of a relationship and not the cake, you could find yourself mistaking a happy libido for a healthy heart dynamic.
Again, sex is dope. Still, it's not everything. If you're constantly leading with sex or allowing your relationships to be about sex more than just about anything else, it very well could create a mirage in the sense of you thinking that there is more to someone—and your being with them—than there actually is. Get mentally and emotionally intimate first. You can trust what comes from that so much easier.
5.Your Friends Are Saying It (or At Least, Implying It)
There is one particular guy from my past who, to this day, all of my friends are basically like, "Just say the word, girl." They don't like that dude one bit because it was an extremely painful experience for me. You know what, though? A lot of the journey, I sent my own damn self through it, because I didn't listen to my friends when they said things like, "Shellie, that's not normal" or "Shellie, he sounds emotionally immature as hell."
Listen, that whole "you and me against the world" hot take that so many people have? Experience and observation have taught me that it deserves plenty of side-eye when you're not married (and even after saying "I do", you should still take a bit of heed to what your folks bring to your attention). People who love you want what's best for you. Plus, because they aren't emotionally invested in the way that you are, they can see things that you probably don't even want to look at. If you've got one friend who is rolling their eyes at your situation, who TF cares? But if five or more are like, "Naw sis"—take heed to that. Everybody can't be wrong. Something is up and slowing down to process what "that" is could keep you from having a lot of regrets up the road.
6.“Intense” Is a Word That’s Used to Describe You Often
I'm a Gemini. If you know even a little bit about us, then you know that I know that I've got an intense side. That's how I knew to close out with this point. When you're intense in the bedroom, that's dope. When you're intense when it comes to how passionate you are about being down for someone, that can be a blessing too. However, if you're intense in the sense of being overly earnest or pushing everything to the extreme—that automatically makes you a pretty impatient and pushy individual, and who wants to be involved with that?
Just about all of us have words that are used to describe us. If your family members, friends, co-workers, and exes all use the word "intense" to define you, you might want to ask them to expound a little. Anyone who's extreme is oftentimes imbalanced and when you're imbalanced you tend to do things excessively in a way that overwhelms others while causing you to overthink to the point where you're rushing all of the time.
Everything has its pace and seasons. Relationships are no exception to this fact. Moving too fast usually leads to mistakes that could've been avoided if you just slowed down a bit. If you saw yourself anywhere in this piece, try chilling out a bit. After all, if it's right, there's no need for you to rush it. It'll happen at just the right…speed.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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