Most of us want to feel romantic because it makes us feel valued, special and less alone.  At the beginning of a relationship, great sex and the thrills and chills of exciting activities can fool you into feeling that you've really found that special someone this time. 

You might be thinking, "What's so bad about all that?"  Before you move too swiftly in a relationship, learn why you need to slow down.

Why Falling in Love Can Be Dangerous

1. Exciting, dangerous or emotionally intense activities arouse your brain.  If these activities involve a new partner, your brain's "love chemical," oxytocin, can also increase. Now you've got a perfect storm for falling in love.  Your heart races, you feel flushed and alive from the high of adrenalin, other hormones, haste and hope. An aroused brain makes you susceptible to mistaking these highs for feeling close, loved and special.

When these high-octane feelings crash, they leave you in a relationship that burns. The reality of what your new partner is truly like can hit you in after you've had sex and settled in to "la-la land."

2. Yet, love highs are like brain candy—you just can't stop at one experience.  Soon, those hormones spur you to feel so attached to this new person that you minimize their unacceptable behavior.  You don't want to feel foolish or wrong about a mate who has made you feel so wonderful.  In response, you overlook warning signs about this person and over-adapt to actions that are unkind, illegal and harmful.  But don't worry.  You can protect yourself from love blindsiding you.

Tips for Avoiding Falling in Love Too Quickly

1. Don't become someone who is all work and no play.  When work is a grind, you tend to look for external ways to enliven your life.  You leave yourself vulnerable to "dropping into" someone else's life and allowing this new love to take over, limit or impair other aspects of your life.

Solution:  Develop interests outside of work. Build and maintain a strong social network of friends.  Keep up family ties and obligations.  And never let your work suffer.

2.  Don't react to heartache with a vow of "no more love."  When your heart gets broken, it's very tempting to become pessimistic about relationships.  Over time, when your loneliness gets the better of you, love seems to "fall out the sky" and sweep you off your feet--often with the wrong person. Love then turns into a drug that makes you feel lucky to have found love and been chosen.                                                      

Solution:  Keep up your social life.  Don't focus on finding The Right One.  Instead, meet lots of people. Hang out in groups.  Get to know someone over time.

3. Don't stay in a relationship with someone who has problems, mistreats you or engages in behaviors that you wouldn't want others to know about.  Love at any cost just to have someone is not love at all.                                                                  

Solution:  Keep a "Personal Emotional Checklist." Write down every time you feel a sense of doubt. Think about the times you feel slighted, abused or mistreated.  Watch out for feeling diminished and unimportant or anxious and afraid. These feelings are incompatible with mature love. 

Solid love is based on mutual respect, trust and kindness.  These relationships run smoothly.  If you find yourself spending lots of time  trying to fix the relationship or making it work, consider cutting your love investment and moving on with your life. 

4. Don't play house, hibernate too quickly with a new love or get caught up in gifts and sweet words.  When you come up for air, you just might find that you don't want to share any more oxygen with your new love.                                                                                                                        

Solution:  Hang out with your new person.  Make your time together resemble ordinary life as much as possible.  After all, most of your relationship minutes will not be filled with thrills. Observe how your date deals with errands, wait staff, traffic jams and your friends.  Put off those romantic dinners, boat rides and walks on the beach.  These experiences can be like catnip-very intoxicating!  Save these wonderful activities for later. 

5. The anniversaries of deaths of loved ones or the experience of recent traumas and losses can raise your need to feel close, safe and warm.                                                                                           

Solution:  Be aware of important anniversary dates throughout the year. If you are just recovering from an intense, negative event, hang out with friends and family.  Join a support group or seek counseling.  Finally, pump up your non-work activities and take your time if you meet someone you like. 

Remember, in general, to protect your vulnerable heart, go slowly.  Postpone sex, dates lots of people, hang out with friends and be aware of your feelings and your partner's behavior.  Life is very short.  Don't settle for the quick flash and crash.