Does it feel like your relationship is moving too quickly? Perhaps you recently switched from the talking to the dating phase, and someone is already hearing wedding bells! You’re right to seek ways to slow things down.
Keep in mind, though; it might be impossible not to hurt your partner’s feelings when you hit the brakes in your relationship. The good news is you’ll both end up happier if you go about it the right way. Here’s how to slow down in a relationship without necessarily breaking up.
Reasons to Take a Relationship Slow
Why would you want to slow down your relationship, especially if things are blissful, exciting, and passionate?
Here’s the thing.
Getting past the first few dates doesn’t necessarily mean you’d want to shift into a higher gear. Sometimes, a relationship can feel scary or overwhelming if it is moving too fast. Some common reasons you might feel a need to slow down in a relationship include the following:
- Your partner is pushing for commitment too soon
- You are afraid to commit to the relationship
- You are unsure of your partner and would like to know them better
- Your heart has been badly crushed in the past, so you have a hard time trusting again
- You are uncomfortable with your partner’s attachment style
Whatever the reason, if things in your relationship are moving too fast, you should probably put on the brakes. Slowing down allows you to gauge your true feelings for your partner and review the relationship objectively without being carried away by emotions, especially fleeting feelings.
How to Slow Down in a Relationship
If you’re concerned about how fast things are moving in your relationship, whether emotionally or physically, here are effective ways to put on the brakes, so you can feel more comfortable.
1. Tell Your Partner How You Feel
Being upfront with your partner about wanting to slow things down can be awkward, and that’s okay. But don’t avoid having the conversation just because it is uncomfortable.
Your partner might be a lot of things, but a mind reader isn’t likely one of them. In other words, you must tell them exactly how you feel.
If you feel pressured to do something, respectfully let your partner know you feel uncomfortable about the idea.
Let them know that you don’t plan to end the relationship, but you feel things are going too fast, and it’s freaking you out. Make them understand that you like them but want to take things one step at a time.
2. Set and Enforce Healthy Boundaries
Things can happen quickly when you both share intense chemistry, and limits and boundaries are violated before you realize it.
If you feel pressured to do something (sleepovers, seeing each other daily, or traveling together), it’s probably because the timing is off. Don’t be afraid to say no to your partner, and don’t feel guilty about turning them down.
However, you can avoid unnecessary pressures by spelling out boundaries and limits from the get-go.
3. Call and Text Less Frequently
A flurry of calls and text messages only intensifies things in a romantic relationship. One of the best things to do when looking for how to slow down in a relationship is to cut back on calls, DMs, and text messages.
Avoid carrying on a full back-and-forth conversation through calls or text messages all day long. Take longer to return missed phone calls or respond to text messages, and reduce the number of video chats you have.
I’m not suggesting that you ignore your partner. However, try to keep your communication frequency balanced, and you’ll feel less pressured with time.
4. Reduce the Time You Spend Together
Cutting back on the number of hours you spend together, as well as how frequently you see each other, is another way to slow things down without causing too much drama.
And as much as possible, avoid sleepovers.
Sleepovers create the perfect opportunities to entangle your lives even further and become more emotionally attached. This can make things a lot more complicated and confusing for both of you, especially if you’ve already hinted at slowing down.
5. Delay Relationship Milestones
Some milestones can make a relationship stronger, and avoiding such occasions is wise if you’re hoping to take things slower.
Consider delaying relationship milestones, like giving each other pet names, traveling together, meeting each others’ parents, or attending work events together. In fact, you might want to avoid these milestones altogether if you don’t really like the person you’re dating or are unsure of them.
Only accept to be part of such milestones when you are sure and comfortable with the relationship.
6. Go on Double Dates or Hang Out in Groups
Sometimes, you really like someone and want to see them as often as possible. However, they may want to be physically intimate too soon, which research has shown can lead to later regrets.
In this case, a smart way to slow things down would be to hang out in the company of other friends. Going on double dates or hanging out in groups allows you to spend time with your partner without being alone with them. This way, you don’t expose yourself to situations that could lead to being physically intimate.
By limiting physical intimacy, your emotions are less likely to cloud your judgment. Besides, hanging out in groups gives you the perfect opportunity to learn more about each others’ social behaviors.
7. Focus on Yourself
Don’t devote your entire life to someone else, no matter how much you love them. A good way to channel your energy to something besides your relationship is to focus on personal development, work, hobbies, or interests.
These things will keep you occupied and naturally slow down your relationship.
What to Avoid When Slowing Down a Relationship
Like driving a car, things in your relationship can go horribly wrong very quickly if you slam the brakes too suddenly at full speed.
Even if you are uncomfortable with how fast things are going, avoid the following approaches when slowing down in a relationship.
It is normal to feel rushed if your partner pushes for commitment, especially at the early stage of your relationship.
However, seeing other people can send mixed signals to your partner.
First off, it could mean the end of the relationship if your partner finds out you see others on the side. This is particularly true if you’re exclusive. But most importantly, seeing other people might confuse things for you. What if the new person wants to move things even faster than your current partner?
You can slow down your relationship without further complicating things. Make your dating status and preference clear from the get-go, and share your thoughts and feelings at each stage of the relationship with your partner to avoid creating confusion.
Emotional intimacy is important for romantic relationships to thrive. If you think the relationship is moving too fast for your liking, suddenly pulling away from your partner is not a healthy way to slow things down.
You’ll send all kinds of wrong signals if you’re not emotionally connecting with your partner.
Rather than abruptly cutting off emotional intimacy, a better approach would be to be upfront with your partner about why you need space. Doing this may hurt their feelings for a while, but it is better than suddenly spending zero time with them, being less talkative, or not sharing your fears, hopes, and dreams.
Ghosting might seem like an easy option when thinking of how to slow down in a relationship, but it can be a hunting experience for your partner, as they don’t have closure.
Don’t ignore, avoid, or withdraw from all communication when you put on the brakes in your relationship. You can ease things down without ghosting anyone.
Let your partner know that you’re still into them, but the current fast pace of the relationship is choking you. Let them know that you would like some breathing space to feel comfortable.
Whatever you do, be sure to explain why you need to take things a bit slower. This is a more effective way to slow down a relationship without bailing out on your partner.
Remember to Love Yourself and Enjoy Life
Romantic relationships are often blissful, especially in the initial stages. You are deeply into each other and can’t imagine life without your partner.
While that’s generally a good thing, you must remember to make time to love yourself and enjoy life.
It’s easy to get carried away by the excitement and passion of being in a new relationship. But it is time to slow down when it feels like the relationship is choking you.
The trick is constantly reminding yourself that you want a healthy relationship built on something more concrete than fleeting emotions. With this in mind, your world will not revolve around your partner. Instead, you find ways to care for and improve yourself to be a better partner.