How much time you spend together when you first start dating is a hot topic of debate in my friendship group. Even though I appreciate that everyone is different, I'm always in the camp of not seeing each other too much, so you don't fall into a love bubble and get an unrealistic sense of someone. But some of my friends started spending five nights a week together with people they were dating — right from the very first date.
Each option has their pros and cons. I've been told that I seem unavailable or not very interested, while some of my friends have come across as needy. It's a hard balance to strike. So, is there a right answer?
Well, d clinical psychologist Seth Meyers thinks so. He recently wrote in Psychology Today in favor of "the once-a-week rule for new relationships". Which is pretty much what it sounds like: you start out seeing each other only once a week, then slowly build up.
He explains: "To naysayers who say that new lovers should throw caution to the wind and let things flow organically, I would respond by saying that two people who are meant to be together will end up together, regardless of whether they see each other once a week or five times a week. To be safe, couples would serve themselves well to see each other once a week for the first month, and then increase the frequency with each week after that point.
Most importantly, men and women should not feel anxious or rushed in forging a new relationship. The less anxious they feel, the better chance the relationship has of lasting.
It makes a lot of sense. Here are some reasons why the once-a-week rule is one to live by — or at least one to consider. That spark when you first meet someone who you click with can be totally intoxicating, but you don't want the bond to form too quickly.
If you meet someone you like and spend several nights together in the first week, or spend multiple hours with them over the course of several days, you will typically start feeling a sense of intense emotional closeness. But when you stop to think about it, does it make sense to feel emotionally close to someone you've just met?
The problem with this dynamic is that seeing each other too frequently in the very beginning forges an illusion of intimacy and dependence, even though each person truly knows that it takes months — or even years — to truly get to know someone. You hardly know someone, yet you're developing an emotional dependency on them — that's a scary thought.
This is how long you should date someone before you make it official, according to a relationship expert
And it's not just that you're becoming dependent on them, it's that you're becoming dependent on a particular version of them, the one that you meet when you first start dating. Then you fall for that person, before you learn who they really are.
The really worrying part of all this is not just falling for someone, but potentially committing to someone before you actually have gotten to know them. I've seen friends get into relationships because it just seems like the default after they've been seeing someone three times a week for a month — but you don't want to commit to something just because of a default.
I'm always wary of hard and fast rules, because there are always exceptions. But, as a guideline, once a week makes a lot of sense.
It allows you to make sure you really get to know the person you're falling for and, more importantly, can stop you from running into a commitment you'll regret. By Lea Rose Emery.
You Can Bond Too Quickly.