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How to Slow Down a Relationship: 18 Ways to Do It & Not Hurt Them

If you met someone you really like, but things are going too quickly, don’t worry. Here’s how to slow down a relationship without hurting anyone.

How to Slow Down a Relationship

Every relationship moves at its own pace, but to be healthy and thriving, that pace needs to feel comfortable for both people. If you want things to last, it is often best to learn how to slow down a relationship and take your time getting to know each other.

It isn’t rare for a new relationship to blossom quickly. When strong feelings *especially physical ones* are involved, things can get out of hand.

It may feel good in the moment, but moving too fast can lead to a commitment you’re not ready for or a serious relationship with someone you barely know.

[Read: How to take a relationship slow but not so slow that it ends completely]

Why people want to slow down a relationship

You would think that once two people make it past the first few dates, they would want to move forward at a relatively quick pace to form a lasting relationship. But not everyone feels that way. There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to slow down a relationship.

And you might even be wondering yourself, “Why do I want to slow down this relationship?” It’s not always obvious – even to the person who wants to hit the brakes.

Here are just a few reasons why someone might want to slow down a relationship. [Read: What does love feel like? 33 signs you’ll feel when you are in love]

1. They are afraid of commitment

Commitment seems to be the norm in society, but not everyone likes it. For some people, they feel smothered or trapped, and it makes them want to get out.

The reasons for fearing commitment are unique to each person, so if you find that you are one of these people, it’s important to explore why you are afraid of it. [Read: Commitment phobia and 15 signs you’re just not ready to commit]

2. They don’t like the person that much

There are many times when you might like someone’s personality, but you’re not sure if you are attracted to them enough to pursue a relationship.

Or, on the flip side, you might find them hot, but you’re not sure of their personality.

When you’re unsure, that’s when someone wants to slow down a relationship. Slowing down will help the person get perspective and assess whether this is something they really want to keep pursuing. [Read: How to know if you like someone – 30 feelings you should feel right now]

3. They are a player

Many people just want casual hookups and sex. They may have absolutely no intention of getting into a relationship because they are just looking to have some fun.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, others would rather not do it. Many people are serial monogamists and don’t want to play the field. But for those that do, it would definitely be a reason why they would want to slow down a relationship.

4. They just broke up with someone

This reason could tie into the “fear of commitment” reason. But it could be separate from that too. Maybe they just got out of a long-term relationship, and they don’t feel ready to jump into another one.

Or maybe they got their heart crushed, so they are having a hard time trusting people again. Whatever the reason, many people are just hesitant to get into another relationship after a breakup.

[Read: How often should you see your boyfriend or girlfriend?]

How NOT to slow down a relationship

Everyone moves at different paces when it comes to relationships. You may feel like things are going too fast while your partner is perfectly content with the way things are.

Although there are a plethora of ways to know how to slow down a relationship and take your time, there are some ways it certainly shouldn’t be done.

[Read: How to keep from moving too fast in a new relationship]

1. Ignore them

When you are just starting a new relationship and it feels like it is going too fast, it can be scary. That makes it easier to slam on the brakes by yourself. But, just because things are too fast doesn’t mean you can’t ease them down without full-on ghosting.

Let them know you like them but that you’re a little freaked out with the current pace of the relationship. You want to slow things down so you can feel comfortable. [Read: The psychology of ignoring someone – Why we do it and ways to fix it]

2. Pull away

Maybe you’re not scared enough of going too fast that you ghost, but pulling away without saying why is nearly as bad. If you keep spending time with this person but are less talkative or intimate, it could end things right there and then.

If you’re wondering how to slow down a relationship without things getting weird, pulling away on your own terms isn’t fair nor will it be successful. Try to get on the same page. [Read: What is causal dating? And how to know if you can handle it]

3. See other people 

Relationships can feel like they are moving too fast because of commitment. Sometimes, you still want to feel things out and date casually without losing touch completely. It’s understandable, but don’t just see other people on the side. Not only will this confuse things for you, but if they find out, it could go south really quickly.

Always keep your partner in the loop about your dating life. Maybe you just started seeing someone else, and you may think it is no big deal and you don’t have to tell them about it. On the other hand, if things are going fast and you want to slow down the relationship, your new partner may assume you’re monogamous.

Instead of creating any confusion, it is always better to share your thoughts with the person you’re dating, and make your dating status clear from the very start. [Read: How to date multiple people without being shady or called a cheater]

How to slow down a relationship the right way

Now that you know what not to do when you want to slow down a relationship, it is time to take some positive advice. These are the things you can and should do when you are feeling nervous or hesitant about how fast things are moving. If you want to know how to slow down a relationship, these are the things you need to remember.

Now, this can go for a relationship that is moving too fast physically, emotionally, or both.

Whether you don’t want to meet your partner’s family yet, feel like you’re spending too much time together, or your emotions are freaking you out and you need to catch your breath, these should help you learn how to slow down a relationship so you can enjoy your relationship instead of fearing it.

[Read: How many dates should you have before you become official?]

1. Tell them how you feel 

This is the simplest way to slow down a relationship that is moving too fast for you. Talk to your partner. Let them know that you love spending time with them but that you just want to live in the moment more.

Let them know you weren’t planning on feeling so strongly for them and it is making you nervous. Ensure that they understand you aren’t ending things but just pumping the brakes a little. You want to take a Sunday drive, not a lap around the race track. And don’t forget to ask how they feel.

Are they happy how things are now? Are they okay slowing things down so you’re more comfortable? Try to get on the same page. [Read: Are you in an instant relationship? Here’s why you need to slow down]

2. Hang out in groups

If you still want to see the person you’re dating regularly, but maybe want to slow things down with the romance or physical aspects, plan more group dates. Go on double dates or group settings like escape rooms or mini-golf.

This will keep you in each other’s lives and allow you to get to know one another but without the pressure of one-on-one time.

3. Spend time with your other friends

New relationships can sort of take over our lives. We may not cancel plans with friends to hang out with our new significant other, but we may be busy with them.

If you feel this way, try to get your friends together. Go do things you would have done before this new relationship. Then you won’t feel like it’s taking over your life, and you’ll be able to slow down the relationship at the same time.

This new relationship should ease into your life, not be what your life revolves around. This also helps to set boundaries down the line. You should always have your own friends and time to yourself no matter how serious things get. [Read: How to pull back in a relationship when you’re giving too much]

4. Avoid making plans too far in advance 

If you have been dating for three months and are making plans for a concert eight months from now, it can feel like you are moving way faster than you are.

Making plans that far in advance can seem nice because it says you want to be together that long. But it can be intense early on.

5. Don’t text so much 

It can seem like the norm to text each other every waking hour. But it is so unnecessary. Not only is talking that much in the beginning A LOT, but it can feel smothering.

You can text good morning and maybe a funny meme you saw at lunch. Then catch up after work or before bed. You don’t need to keep a full conversation going all day long. That is a lot of pressure and commitment when you have a job, friends, hobbies, and more to focus on. [Read: 8 little texting mistakes new couples make all the time]

6. Take longer to respond to texts or missed phone calls

Some people might call this “game playing.” It could be seen that way, depending on how you use it. But it can also be used as an effective strategy if you want to know how to slow down a relationship.

You see, when you don’t respond immediately, or even in a timely manner, that sends a message. It says either that you’re too busy to answer, or that you are just not interested in responding right away. This isn’t a great way to let the person know you want to slow down, but it can be effective. [Read: The grey area of dating – but not in a relationship]

The only problem with this is that it depends on how observant the other person is. Some people might not notice that you’re taking longer to respond, and others might notice right away. But it can be used effectively, especially on people who seem clueless that you are really trying to slow down the relationship.

7. Don’t spend more than a few hours together at a time

Sometimes, you may get into a relationship super quickly, and it may not feel wrong either. Maybe you just feel the intense chemistry, or you both live far away and need to rush things every time you’re together, or your new partner is totally smitten and wants to spend every minute texting you or locked in your arms.

When you spend that much time together early on, it really pushes you together. You get used to having that person around all the time. It feels comfortable but you still really don’t know each other that well. Keep dates limited to a few hours and then you can move it up over time. [Read: Why saying ‘I love you’ too soon just completely sucks!]

8. Enjoy your time together 

Try not to focus too much on what is going to happen. If you are too worried about figuring out how to slow down a relationship or move faster, you won’t really enjoy your time together. Live in the moment.

Have a conversation about how you both feel and then get back to your date and getting to know each other. That is the most important part. [Read: How to date casually without getting attached – 15 hurt-free rules]

9. Keep it fun

Keep things light and fun. Don’t go on heavily romantic dates. Avoid the candlelit dinners and carriage rides. Go bowling and see an exotic band or hang out with a new group.

This will help you get to know each other without too much pressure to fall in love. This way you can just have a good time. Then, see what happens.

10. Set expectations early on

Just because someone likes you or wants to get serious, that doesn’t mean you have to. Maybe you just got out of a relationship, or you’re too busy to commit to someone. That’s fine. But you need to set that expectation right from the beginning. [Read: How ultimatums work – or don’t work – in relationships]

For example, let’s say you’re on a dating app. When you first start talking to someone, you should ask, “What are you looking for? Casual dating? Hook ups? Committed relationship? Marriage?” There are many different outcomes when you meet someone, so it’s important ask questions up front.

If the person says, “I am looking for commitment or marriage,” you can respond with, “I am not really at that point in my life. I am looking to take things slowly and see where it leads. Are you okay with that?

When you tell them ahead of time *it could even be before you meet*, then they will know what to expect from you. This is much easier than trying to slow it down once it’s taken off too quickly.

11. Don’t see them too often

If you’re wondering how to slow down a relationship, you need to pay attention to the kind of interest the person you’re dating in investing in the relationship.

There are “high interest” people, and “low interest” people. High interest people are the eager ones who want to stay in communication constantly and see the other person a lot. On the other hand, low interest people are not as keen on seeing the other person as much or staying in contact on a regular basis. [Read: Types of relationships and how to define your love life]

If you are feeling only lukewarm about someone but still would like to see them occasionally, then make sure that you don’t see each other too often. People who like each other a lot and want to move quickly in a relationship will want to hang out all the time.

So, make sure you don’t see the person more than once a week – less if you can. Once a week dates, or once every other week, will not really let the relationship progress very quickly. And when you do see each other, you can also make sure that you don’t stay out too late or extend the date longer than you want to.

Minimizing time spent with someone will give them the message that you want to slow down.

[Read: 18 tips to fall in love slowly like you’re in a fairytale]

Rushing into a relationship can seem like a romantic fairytale, but it often ends in disaster. Learning how to slow down a relationship and really take your time can be exactly what you need to find the one.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...