The problem isn’t optimism—we could all benefit from a little more positivity in our lives, right? The problem is an inability to stay measured and not get ahead of yourself. This can set you up for disappointment, and even scare off a potential partner. If this happens too often you may be left perennially brokenhearted. No hopeless romantic deserves that.

Only 60–65% of people in relationships actually feel secure. This speaks of many singles who got in over their heads, invested too much too soon, and have ended up stuck with someone who isn’t right for them. This is why it’s important to stay grounded in reality and temper your expectations. It’s not about being cynical or automatically thinking the worst of a potential partner. It’s simply about taking your time, guarding against your own wishful thinking, and letting the romance grow organically.

5 ways to stop yourself getting attached too soon

1. Understand what you’re actually looking for

Listen—I get it. As a matchmaker, every day I work with singles struggling to contain their excitement at having met someone truly amazing. And that’s great! But now you’ve established there’s a connection there, take a step back. Think about what you need from a relationship, not what you want—because the two aren’t always the same. This is especially true if you, like many of my clients, come with a readymade wish list. If you compare your date to your hypothetical dream partner, make sure you’re not being inflexible. If you’ve clocked any flaws, are you sure they’re not just cute quirks rather than date-ending irritations?

2. Avoid investing too much emotion at the beginning

It may feel counterproductive not to drop everything and revolve your life around your newfound romance, but this isn’t the right approach. Instead, carry on as normal, integrating your new date as a wonderful addition to your life rather than centering everything around them. In the long run, this will have a huge positively impact on the burgeoning relationship, because it shows you’re a fully formed individual with a life, interests, and passions of your own. That’s actually way more attractive than coming across as an empty vessel just waiting for someone to pin your every waking moment to.

3. Set boundaries with yourself

Do you tend to dive headfirst into new relationships, rather than dipping your tie to make sure he’s trustworthy? Have you given him your life story before the first round of drinks has arrived? If so, you’re leaving very little room for mystery, so it’s important to keep yourself in check and not overwhelm your date with information. Let things grow naturally as you find out more about one another over a series of dates, allowing the emotional intimacy to develop of its own accord rather than forcing it.

4. Steer clear of future-oriented conversations about the relationship

When you’re in the midst of the single best date you’ve ever had, it’s tempting to mention your future together as a couple. Of course it depends on how long you’ve been dating, but if it’s early days you risk scaring them off when all you needed to do was keep things ticking along as they have been. Keep things casual, and when the time is right you can tactfully steer the conversation toward the future.

5. Check in on how you’re feeling from time to time

Finally, it’s helpful to do a reality check every now and then. Are you happy with how the relationship is progressing? Do you feel your boundaries are being respected, and that you’re getting as much out as you’re putting in? Are you totally comfortable always just being yourself around them? Now’s the time to make sure the person you’re seeing is worth your time and affection.

And if so, well hey—bask in that feeling. There’s nothing like realizing you’ve met the love of your life.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.