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Auntie SparkNotes: How Fast Should A Relationship Move?

Auntie SparkNotes: How Fast Should A Relationship Move?

By kat_rosenfield

Dear Auntie,

I've been so very single for the last two years. Now, suddenly, I get to college and I find this guy who I get along with just as well as my best friend from back home (which is a big deal since I'm really shy and usually have a hard time opening up) who happens to be pretty darn cute as well. We both liked each other, so we started going out. So far, we're getting along fantastically.

The problem is, maybe too fantastically.

When we started going out I resolved that this would not end up like my last relationship - that I want us to actually hang out and do fun stuff instead of just wandering around and then making out. Because I'm in college now, and that's a stupid immature high school relationship. I feel like now it should be more like friends and less like experimental make-out buddies.

And now, guess what's happening? We make out. We've only been dating for about three weeks and last night we stayed out till three in the morning (on a school night no less) and for the last two hours most of what we did consisted of nomm-ing each other's face off. Don't get me wrong, we still talk loads and we go on dates and study together and all sorts of fun stuff, and I REALLY like kissing him - it feels so much more natural than my last relationship. Even though I'm usually the shy, prudish one, I found myself initiating tongue without even realizing it. And poof - now we've suddenly progressed to frenching while snuggled up on the grass.

Basically, my question is this: is this normal in a college relationship? The only relationships I know much about are from teen books where they meet Mr. Perfect and suddenly they're all over each other. Is that what's supposed to happen? I feel like it's not - like somehow our kissing speedometer should be set to accelerate a lot more slowly. Because right now I feel like I'm acting trashy. I want to be mature and have a good healthy relationship, but I have no idea what the standards for this are supposed to be.

Well, okay, I'll give you a hint: If your standards include a ridiculous, arbitrary, middle-school-style timeline to determine whether you should or should not be kissing with tongue, you're doing it wrong.

Which I tell you not to be harsh, but because man, do you ever need to learn to trust yourself. Right now, you're trying to fit yourself and your relationship into a neat little box somewhere inside your head, one that's tied up with a pretty pink ribbon and has the word "SHOULD" written all over it, instead of listening to your own instincts. And that's bad! That box is an awful, stifling place with stale air and too little space. It's full of rules and regulations dictating how a relationship SHOULD be, how you SHOULD behave, whether you SHOULD be kissing this way or touching that way.

In other words, it's full of useless crap.

You're a young woman, not a Disney princess. You have hard-won emotional instincts and a working brain to tell you what feels right and what doesn't. You must know that a good, healthy relationship is one that's comfortable, intuitive, and makes you happy, period—no matter how or when or how often you're making out.

And at your age—and by that, I mean, "over the age of fifteen"—it's time to abandon the arbitrary schedule to which other people/teen novels/cultural norms say your relationship should adhere, and just let things unfold. And yes, that applies to the makeout part, too. Enjoying the physical aspects of romance doesn't make you trashy; it makes you human. Specifically, it makes you a healthy, happy human who was lucky enough to find someone she loves making out with on lawns! And as always, the only way to tell if things are moving too fast is if they're moving too fast for you, according strictly to your own desires, instincts, and comfort level. Nobody else can tell you what those are; you have to listen to your intuition and trust it to steer you true.

So for starters, give yourself some credit for having intuition, for the maturity and experience you've gained since high school, and for your ability to learn from them. The thing that defined your "stupid, immature high school relationship" isn't how much or how quickly you ran the figurative bases; it's that it was high school, a place you no longer are and will never be again. And hey, it's a good thing you had that experience, right? After all, it's what gave you the emotional intelligence to pick a guy this time around who you love hanging out with and making out with. Which is great! That's what romance is! And without the physical aspect, you'd be missing a normal, natural, desirable, and fundamental part of the mature, healthy relationship you so want to have.

But what's really telling is that when you do allow yourself to have it—when you're not overthinking yourself into paralysis over whether or not you're doing it right—you find yourself confidently instigating the smooching yourself. And that, right there, is all you need to be sure that all is as it should be. So enjoy yourself, trust yourself, and let your relationship move along at whatever speed feels right to you, because that's the right speed, period.

Although depending on how speedy things get, you may want to pick a different, non-outdoor location for your physical activities. Seriously, you're frightening the squirrels.

Do you have a strict schedule for your physical relationships, or do you just go with the flow? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, relationships, college, dating, advice, the rules, making out, college freshmen

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About the Author
kat_rosenfield

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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