In the beginning stage of dating, men and women often feel compelled to get to know each other as fast as humanly possible. In such cases, much of that getting to know each other happens over the phone. A new couple may spend hours on the phone at night, hitting every topic from favorite vacation spots to having kids. As a relationship therapist, trust me on this: I have watched too many relationships crash and burn because the couple went from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. In other words, they got so excited that they found each other that they forced the relationship too fast. If you keep reading, you’ll understand why rushing it – especially over the phone – puts too much pressure on the relationship and often ends up backfiring. To prevent things from moving too fast, start living by a policy where there are some topics that you won’t discuss over the phone.
1. Dating other people
Never ask over the phone whether the person you just started dating is dating other people, too. Asking this question is important, but you want to ask it in person. An added bonus of asking the question in person is that you can watch his or her body language. If he says that he isn’t dating anyone else but fidgets and squirms, you might need to ask the question again to get the real truth.
2. Marriage and having kids
Don’t jump the gun by discussing life’s most precious issues over the phone. Wait a month or so into dating to discuss this kind of topic and then do it in person. If you only knew how many men and women get turned off because someone broaches this topic too soon! Again, asking the question is fine when the time and space is right; asking over the phone is impulsive.
3. Past relationships
Two codependents may meet and feel the urge to instantly know everything there is to know about the others person. If you’re a codependent type, you want to know whom she’s dated; why she dated them; what they looked like; what they did for work; and how sexually attracted she was to them. All of this is…unhealthy. The most important thing you need to know about your date’s past relationships is that those relationships are over. Never, ever ask too many questions about past relationships because it usually ends up causing unnecessary insecurity, jealousy, or even competition. And if you really must ask questions about your date’s exes, do not do it over the phone. These issues are far too delicate to deal with this way. You can wait until you’re together – and if you can’t, you may not have strong enough impulse control to have a good, lasting relationship.
4. Insecurity about social media postings or photos
One of the most frequent arguments men and women have in the first few months of dating involves postings the other makes on their social media accounts. Photos posted with others, for example, light the most substantial fires. When you see your date post a photo with someone who’s holding them a little too close, it can trigger an insecure – almost paranoid – reaction. The urge most people have in this situation is to shoot out an impulsive text or call the person right away. If you have a question about a posting or photo, modulate your emotional response immediately. Do not let your insecurity or other emotions get the best of you. You don’t want to send a message that you don’t trust your date unless you have good cause. The time to discuss the issue is in person. Say this when the two of you are together: “I’m sure I have no reason to worry, but that photo you posted made me nervous. The person in that pic isn’t anyone I need to worry about, is it?”
5. Fears about whether he or she is still interested in you
In a new relationship, there may be times when it is unclear if your date is still interested in you. If he doesn’t call for a few days or she delays setting up the next plans to see you, it’s perfectly normal to wonder if your date is still interested. Do not, however, discuss this issue over the phone. Sit with your anxious feelings instead of acting on them impulsively. When you do see each other next, wait an hour or two into the date and then ask yourself how he or she feels with you in that moment. Is she present? Is he acting like he’s connected to you? If you still need reassurance, say it this way: “Because we’re still getting to know each other, I wanted to check in about how you feel it’s going with us so far. I know that I am into you; how are you feeling at this point about me?”
Discussing super-sensitive topics over the phone rushes a relationship too much. The most successful relationships are born free of anxiety and pressure, so that two people feel relaxed and they can most easily be themselves. By waiting to discuss any sensitive issues in person, you let the relationship flow much more organically. The simplest proverb captures it all: Slow and steady wins the race!
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve