Things are going great with this new person in your life. In fact, you think they may be “the one.” Now, all of a sudden, you’re faced with some big decisions. Maybe they live in a different city and you wonder if you should move to be closer to them. Or maybe they’re allergic to cats, and now that they’re spending a lot of time at your place, you’re considering getting rid of your beloved Fifi.
Situations like these bring up an obvious question: How soon is too soon to sacrifice for someone you’re really beginning to care about? Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you try to decide how best to respond to these new and exciting possibilities.
Are your Feelings being Returned in Equal Measure?
It’s been said that love is a two-way street. Well, if you’re thinking about making some big sacrifices for this person in your life, you’d better make sure that when you send your love down the road, the other person’s love is coming right back toward you.
So take a moment and be completely honest with yourself. Would the other person make this kind of sacrifice for you? If the answer is yes, then that’s a good sign for the relationship. But if the answer is no, then it’s probably not quite time to start packing boxes or finding Fifi a new owner.
Have you been able to Really get to Know the Other Person?
If this relationship has begun recently, then it’s a good idea to at least explore the possibility that you haven’t had a chance to truly get to know this new person in your life. Even if you two have spent some intense moments discussing deep and important topics, there’s still a lot you don’t know about each other. There’s no shortcut to deeply knowing someone. This is something only time can make happen.
It’s a simple fact that most of us can and will put on our best faces when we’re first getting to know someone. That doesn’t mean that we’re not being authentic, or that we’re being fake. But it does mean that we can hide or de-emphasize some of our least attractive attributes and accentuate those that are most appealing. (Isn’t there a Chris Rock line that goes something like, “Early in a relationship, you’re not you, you’re the ambassador of you”?)
The point is that before you make a major move or decide to sacrifice in some significant way, make sure that you know the other person well enough so that you can be pretty confident in your decision and in the potential of the relationship.
Is this About More than “Being in Love”?
We’re sorry to argue with Hollywood and pop music, but being “in love” really isn’t what a successful relationship is about. In fact, being in love isn’t nearly enough to create a deep and long-lasting connection between two people. Being in love is abou
t feelings and emotions, and as we all know, these come and go. They’re temporary. What’s required to create a healthy relationship is commitment, good communication, honesty, trust, and lots of hard work. So ask yourself: Do you have a serious commitment from the other person and feel like they are willing to work hard at this relationship, even when the feelings aren’t as strong? Even when things between you are difficult?
Do you Feel Pressured to make a Decision that you’re not Fully Comfortable With?
If so, don’t do it. A good rule of thumb is to avoid making any big decision—buying a car, quitting your job, agreeing to sell Amway—when you’re under some sort of emotional duress. If you’re feeling pressured, either by a deadline or, worse, by your partner, then take a step back and wait until you feel like you can decide with a clear head. This is too big of a decision to make without giving it careful thought.
Being spontaneous is great when it comes to trying a new restaurant or even going on an unexpected trip. But for major life decisions, take your time, confer with people you trust, and do your best to make a good call.
Do the Pros Clearly Outweigh the Cons?
Now is a good time to make a list of the benefits and drawbacks of making these big changes in your life. Consider how your decision will impact you in both major and minor ways. Then, once you’ve studied your list, if the pros obviously outweigh the cons, you can feel good about your decision. Likewise, if the cons outweigh the pros, then it’s evidently not a good time for you to make some sort of momentous shift.
In fact, if the pros and cons seem to be about equal, then you should probably wait a bit longer and see how the relationship continues to develop. Before making a major sacrifice, make sure that there’s no question that the benefits overshadow any drawbacks. Be sure that you can live with the cons or the personal costs if the relationship doesn’t survive. If you can’t, then the cost is too great to make the sacrifice at this point.
Have you Used your Common sense and Combined it with your Instincts?
As with any decision, this one needs to be thought about carefully, using all of your faculties. So pay close attention to what the different parts of yourself are telling you.
If your common sense and your instincts are telling you to take the leap, then now may be the time to make some sacrifices, even some big ones. But if your reason and/or your gut is saying to wait and play it safe, then you should probably listen fairly closely to that message.
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t pursue the relationship aggressively if you want, or that you shouldn’t be willing to make sacrifices for significant relationships. Just don’t give up what’s most important to you before you know that the relationship has a solid chance to develop into something long term, even special.