All relationships grow and progress at a different pace, and learning how to take a relationship slow could be exactly what you need.
For some reason, we all feel this need to rush things. We need our Amazon orders to come in an hour. We need traffic to be nonexistent. And we need our first date to turn into a relationship overnight. We could all learn how to take a relationship slow.
Because when something is done quickly, it may not be done right. When you rush into a relationship, you may bypass important milestones that help you grow together maturely.
Whether you’re going on a first date or have been seeing someone casually, taking things slow doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
If you know you want to take things slow from the start, be up front about your intentions. Talk about what you are looking for early on so that you are both on the same page.
If the person you’re seeing wants to be living together in six months and you don’t even want to be Facebook official for a year, it probably won’t work out. Talk about how you see the relationship progressing and what you feel comfortable with. [Read: 12 relationship expectations that count in a healthy love life]
Do you want to move slowly in terms of commitment and exclusivity? Do you want to move slowly physically? Or one or the other or both?
Talking about what you want and the pace you feel good at is what will start things out right. Then, when you do feel you can take another step forward by meeting their friends, staying at their place, or even doing more than kissing, you can talk about that.
It is one thing to start a new relationship slow and let it progress at a steady pace, but slowing down a relationship that has already progressed more than you would have liked can be hard.
Your partner is likely used to how things are, and changing things is not always a smooth or easy adjustment. But it is not impossible. Slowing down an already formed relationship takes more patience, respect, and understanding, but if both of you want the other to feel comfortable it can be done and done well.
Getting your thoughts formed before talking to your partner is best so that your conversation remains calm, and you don’t get too worked up explaining why you need to take the relationship slow.
Once you do this, sit your partner down and let them know. Make sure they know how you feel about them and that wanting to slow things down is about making you comfortable and respecting what you need.
Let them know what it is you need to change. Will you see each other less? Will your physical relationship change? Are you just feeling overwhelmed and need some more “me time”? Let them know this will only make your feelings for them stronger because they are respecting your wishes. [Read: How to give space in a relationship and not drift apart]
How to take a relationship slow but not too slow
Now that you know how to initially take a relationship slow, you may want to make sure you don’t slow things down too much.
Communication is key when it comes to slowing things down and being sure you are both comfortable. But, taking a relationship too slow can do more harm than good.
For instance, if you live with your partner but want to slow things down, moving out could cause a lot of tension. That isn’t really slowing things down but reversing them. You can’t go back in time, you can just move more slowly from here on out. So, do not try to unwind what your relationship is now. If you have met your partner’s family and friends, you can’t take that back.
But you can step back from participating in so many family functions if that is something you find overwhelming. If your partner gave you a key to their apartment and you accepted you could give it back, but even with communication and honesty they could take it personally.
Instead, maybe let them know you’ll hold on to it for emergencies but will still call before you come over until you feel comfortable using it.
Taking a relationship slow is great, but you have to actually progress once in a while. If not, you’re just standing still and that can cause a rut of unhappiness between you and your partner. Be sure to check in every now and then to make sure you and your partner feel the same about where you are. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your romance]
Can you take a relationship slow when your partner doesn’t want to?
Everyone moves at their own pace. If you and your partner don’t match, talking about it can help you meet in the middle. But, for those that can’t budge, no amount of slowing things down will fix it.
It isn’t always fair of us to ask our partners for something like rearranging the relationship, and when you decide that is what you need you have to accept the risk that they won’t be able to meet that hope.
If someone you’re with cannot accept what you need from them and isn’t willing to slow things down for you, then stopping things altogether may be what is needed. Them not being able to respect what you need may be the sign to make up your mind once and for all.