When you meet someone you like, do you dive in head-first without looking? Do you get excited about and invested in someone before you really know them? While these patterns might seem relatively harmless, but it can have major ramifications for your love life and your overall well-being. It’s time for a change. Here’s why you fall in love so easily, and what you can do to pace yourself a bit more.
Why you get attached so quickly
- You didn’t have healthy relationship role models growing up. If your parents or guardians had unhealthy relationships, it’s only natural that many of those toxic habits and tendencies would be passed down to you. It’s hard to know how to maintain a healthy relationship when you haven’t seen many in action. You end up falling in love so quickly because you really want to emulate your idea of love.
- You’re addicted to the feeling of being in love. “Falling in love is one of the best feelings in the world. It activates important emotional responses in us,” dating and relationship coach Kimberly Hill tells Bolde. “We all love receiving a text or a phone call from the person we love. When we see their name pop up on our phones, we jump with anticipation, often dropping whatever is happening around us to answer. But, many of us have fallen head over heels only to get ghosted, dismissed, or divorced. And many of us are mistaking love for compatibility.”
- You don’t believe you can be happy on your own. Many people end up falling in love (or what they believe to be love) easily because they believe it will alleviate loneliness. You might think that your life is in some way lacking without a partner. That you need to be in a relationship to do all the things you want in life. That’s not sure, but believing it will lead you into intense and quick attachments.
- You feel like you’re running out of time. Maybe you’re in your mid to late 20s or older and you’re still single. Your friends are getting married, having babies, settling down. You’re not. Because of this, you feel like you’re falling behind. You worry that if love doesn’t happen soon, it never will. So, you dive in head-first with anyone who seems interested.
- You seek validation from others. Do you rely on compliments and affection from other people to feel good about yourself? If so, any dose of any feeling that resembles love will win you over. This unfortunately leaves you vulnerable to users and manipulators. They know they can get you with easy charm even if it’s not genuine.
The dangers of falling too fast
- You fail to notice or deliberately ignore red flags. You like to think you’d call out bad behavior, but when you fall too fast for someone, that might be impossible. “When we fall in love, we activate the part of our brain that releases oxytocin,” Hill explains. “It’s no shock that it’s called known as the love hormone. We get so caught up in feeling good, that we can often overlook red flags in dating or poor behavior that becomes very apparent later on.”
- You get your heart broken frequently. When you fall head over heels for someone before really knowing them (or vice versa), you leave yourself vulnerable to heartbreak. You might be all-in, but if the other person isn’t, you’re in for a rude awakening. Not only that, but you might discover things about your partner that leave you feeling betrayed and disappointed. It’s important to take your time.
- You miss out on genuinely good people. While you’re busy falling for people who may not suit you in the slightest, you’re missing out on those that might. You focus your energy in the wrong place at times. This is often wasted or taken for granted. There are people out there who will give you the love, understanding, and companionship you deserve.
What to do if you’re someone who falls in love easily
- Cut yourself some slack. While you might get down on yourself for getting attached so easily, don’t be too hard on yourself. This tendency proves only what a big heart you have. “Falling in love too quickly isn’t necessarily a bad trait,” says mental health practitioner Heather Wilson, LCSW, LCADC, CCTP. “In fact, it shows that you are the type of person who chooses to see the good in people before the bad.” Seeing the positive side is necessary.
- Spend some time working on yourself. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, self-improvement is always important. You want to be at your best, and that’s a work in progress.
- Develop self-awareness. The first step to changing harmful patterns is realizing that you’re guilty of them in the first place. Admitting that you tend to fall in love too quickly might provide a bit of headway toward helping you understand why it happens and what you can do about it.
- Learn some healthy coping mechanisms. Finding ways to alter your behavior is key. “Try talking to a friend or therapist about how you’re feeling instead of focusing solely on your relationship. This can help you gain perspective and avoid getting too emotional,” Wilson suggests. A therapist can also help you learn ways to analyze your emotions and put healthy boundaries in place.
- Really get to know someone before getting attached. This is easier said than done, of course, but it’s worth practicing. Accept that you can’t possibly know everything about a person — or enough about them to make an informed decision about what kind of partner they’d be — overnight. This takes time, and it’s the journey that’s the most rewarding.
- Make an effort to take things one step at a time. Even when someone does seem like a good fit, it’s still important to pace yourself. Enjoy dating and progressing naturally. Don’t be in a hurry to achieve so-called relationship milestones. Don’t compare your relationships with that of your friends. Live your own life and learn to love it.
- Try not to get wrapped up in a fantasy. Don’t kid yourself into believing that real love is like a Disney movie. It’s not. Love can be “magical” in its own way, but it’s not going to look like what you read about in books or see on the big screen. An important way to ensure you don’t fall in love too easily or too quickly is to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Sure, believe in the power of love. But also understand its limitations.
- Work through the wounds and trauma of your childhood. It’s not only important to correct current behavior, but you have to get to the root of the problem. “We all carry some baggage from our pasts. Some are minimal. Others define our character and relationships. The only way to break away from the dangers created by past wounds is to explore the beliefs we adopted because of those wounds,” explains relationship therapist Nancy Landrum. “Then, we have to heal those wounds so we can move forward with greater freedom and confidence. Many people who work in this field call it Inner Child work, where we literally go inside and comfort the wounded child that lives inside us. We re-parent ourselves so that the wounds of the past do not continue to dictate the quality of our present and future.”