Experts say the 'relationship effect' is taking over dating, but that's not necessarily a good thing—here's how to avoid problems

Balance is key if you want to avoid the 'relationship effect' pitfalls

a couple laughing and taking a selfie while on the floor of an outdoor court
(Image credit: Maskot/Getty Images)

Expirationships are on the rise, but the 'relationship effect' is taking charge at the opposite end of the spectrum.  

Those in search of something long-term are likely pursuing romantic connections wholeheartedly, and while there's certainly no problem there, experts warn that singles do need to be careful during their search. Relationships are important factors in our lives, but so are other connections. Losing sight of that could potentially cause an imbalance, according to eharmony's Dating Diaries research.

What is a 'relationship effect'? 

According to the Dating Diaries report, a deep dive into the dating habits of Gen Zers, a 'relationship effect' occurs when a new couple prioritizes their time together versus time with family and friends, and the phenomenon—like situtationships and untyping—is particularly impacting the younger crowd. 

"Gen Z folds into what they are involved with, jumping in head first and taking the risk to see what happens- good or bad," says eharmony relationship expert Laurel House. "There’s more of a 'why not' attitude, with Gen Z daters focusing more on the reasons to say 'yes' than reasons to say 'no'."

We definitely appreciate the go-get-em mentality, but singles in this age bracket might want to figure out a way to incorporate everything into their plans, lest they want complaints from Mom and Dad. 

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Laurel House

Laurel House is an international celebrity dating and relationship coach working with eharmony. She also shares her expertise on E!’s Famously Single and lends a hand as a dating coach for Three Day Rule Matchmaking. Laurel is also a five-time author and has been featured in a variety of publications, including Vogue, Glamour and

How to avoid the 'relationship effect'

"In order to create a balance, as well as instill healthy space for a budding relationship and create breathing room to think clearly, it’s best to maintain normal friend and family activities separate from your new person," House says. 

Well, easier said than done, right? How exactly do we go about this when a newfound romance keeps our hearts racing?

1. Take your time

An intimacy expert told us that the one thing you *need* to avoid when dating this summer is rushing. Take time to let the romantic connection marinate—let things get deep before you rush!

You are learning about each other, seeing different sides of each other, and creating your own opinion about them," House says about the early phases of dating. "The problem with introducing friends and family too soon is that everyone acts slightly differently around different groups of people."

It's not a matter of being fake, it's a matter of getting comfortable with all of these new people thrown into your life. 

2. Present a united front

"In time, once you get to know one another better, you will know their many sides, be able to read the signs when they are uncomfortable, and present yourselves as a team as opposed to throwing them into the wolf den of your friends and family to create judgments and potentially sway your interest," House says. 

Maybe that family BBQ isn't necessary after date #1? 

3. Show your affection

It's important to let everyone close to you know that you're thinking about them—not just your date.

Be sure to show your friends and family, as well as your new person, that they are a priority, and that there are also other priorities in your life," House assures. "It also shows your new person that you are a person who is dedicated and has integrity, not just dropping someone because a new person comes into the picture."

4. Be candid

Honesty is the only way to make progress in a relationship, and if you want to communicate your values to a new partner, you're going to have to speak up!

"By communicating your needs and priorities, you are creating clarity about when they can expect going forward, so that they have confidence in who you are and what they can expect from you," House says.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.