New relationships are fun, exciting, and turn your tummy into those mushy, so-disgusting-kind-of-cute butterfly knots. And for those entering new relationships, it can be easy to want to spend all of your time with this new person who's giving you a major glow.
But before you start ditching your Sunday yoga sessions with your girls to sweat with your new boo instead, consider this: You really should only be seeing someone you're newly dating once a week.
"People often dive right into a relationship and begin to lose themselves early on," says Jennifer Silvershein, LCSW, founder of Manhattan Wellness, a service that specializes in dating and relationship advice for millennial women.
You quickly start ditching plans you'd made for yourself and with others before you met this person in order to spend time with them. And when that happens, it's likely you'll fall into dicksand—the dreaded force that sucks you into becoming so preoccupied with the new person you're dating, you ditch your friends and fam entirely.
Dicksand is as strong as it is sneaky. You get caught up in the rom-com energy of your own budding love story, and next thing you know, you've been sucked into relationship isolation, your friends have no idea where you are, and you have no action plan for how to get out of this phase.
Mikaila M., 24, only grasped how deeply she'd plunged when she decided to skip her friend's birthday party to hang with a new match. She didn't realize until later just how upset her friend really was.
That's why, when you're first integrating someone into your life, you want to keep your routine as normal as possible.
Otherwise, not only are you jeopardizing your existing relationships, you're also not giving yourself the proper amount of time to manifest a relationship naturally. And a rush of lovey-dovey endorphins could be making you miss major red flags (read: it is a big deal that his ex-girlfriend still thinks they're in a relationship).
The good news? Your new "one date a week" rule can totally prevent all these problems.
Take it from Michelle T., 24, who has vowed by this rule and is now in a two-year relationship. "I was caught in a cycle of losing my friends, family, and self whenever I entered a new relationship, so when I heard about this rule, I had to try it," she says.
"It's hard when you're forcing yourself to not hang out with the only person you can focus on, but it's helped me so much in thinking more clearly and picking up on things I didn’t like about them."
Here are some of the other benefits
You can potentially avoid a painful heartbreak.
"If you're able to keep the get-togethers to once a week, the intensity of something not working out will be lessened," says Silvershein. Instead of moping about five dates you went on with this person last week, you'll only be moping about one.Continue reading below ↓
It could intensify the curiosity.
Not saying you have to play hard to get, but seeing each other once a week will leave your partner wanting more every time. You'll have so much to talk about, so much to catch up on, the spark will be *lit* every time you see each other.
You won't become a bad friend.
You won't have to opt out of "Wine Down Wednesdays" with your coworkers, and you can still find time to hang with your new lover. It's a win-win for all involved.
It will give you time to reflect.
It's easy to get swept away by a moment that wasn't actually all that romantic. By limiting yourself to once-a-week dates with potential bae, you have time to thoroughly reflect on the date and evaluate if those were actual sparks you felt.
So, with that said, when will you know you and your partner are ready to progress beyond once a week hangs?
"When you get more comfortable into a relationship, or habits are beginning to form over time, that's the natural progression," says Silvershein. In other words, when you finally know that this is the one for you and it's not affecting you or your other relationships, you're in the clear.
The above-all lesson: The new person in your life should be a part of your life, not your entire one.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.