“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”
~ Nat Turner
If you find yourself in a dating relationship with a man who wants to take it slow…good!
Dating is not a relationship. Dating is getting to know someone, and it takes time to get to know someone. When you first meet a person, they send their “representative.”
This is the side of them that works at showing you their best behavior.
Don’t worry, you do this as well. We all do. This is what hooks the other person into wanting to know more about you. You laugh at silly things to show you are fun.
You use your best manners to show that you have a good upbringing. You are thoughtful, on time, and polite. You have fixed your hair and have a nice tidy appearance. All these things, and more, show your date that you are a catch!
Then, after a while, we start to relax with one another.
Our true selves show up, messy and all. We might not need to be in the representative mode and now we are in the getting to know each other mode. This does and should take some time.
It can take about a full year to really get to know someone.
- To learn how to get through conflicts effectively.
- To learn about each other’s values, morals, and goals.
- To grow and develop a relationship that is deeper than lust.
I can’t tell you how important this time is. Wait, yes, I can!
This is the time to discuss all the things I just mentioned. If your man is divorced, there is the additional challenge of an ex and possibly children. This would mean blending a family, not just two people.
If your man says he wants to take it slow, this could be a message that you are moving too fast.
It could also be a disclosure at the beginning of the dating practice to let you know ahead of time that he is being intentional and patient with his choice for whom he would like to make a commitment.
This is also good. So many people start dating, and quickly move in with one another, sometimes getting married, and the relationship was never built adequately.
Do yourself a favor.
Take your time. Time to explore all the wonderful things you need to learn. Dating is fun, why rush it?
If it is a good fit, you will be married soon enough, and reminisce back on the days when you were dating, carefree, happy, and with no burdens. Enjoy this time and soak it up, while also paying attention to determining if the two of you are a good fit.
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
Successful relationships balance the needs of each individual with the needs of the couple.
The responsibility for this success lies on the shoulders of both parties. However, sometimes partners are not on the same page or in the same place within the relationship.
One may want to “take it to the next level” while the other is feeling the need to “slow down.”
This may lead to hurt feelings, reduced confidence in the relationship or your partner’s feelings, feeling the relationship is one sided, and frustration. You might question how long to hold on, or if the relationship has a future.
Before you end the relationship, reflect and consider the following:
- What is the purpose of taking it slow? Does this make sense to you?
- What does “taking it slow” look like to him? Are you comfortable with that? What does taking it slow look like to you?
- What does it mean to him to take things slow? What meaning does taking things slow have for you? Does it mean the relationship is over? Does it mean taking your time to get to know one another? Does it mean not jumping into bed together too soon?
- How have past relationships impacted your man’s desire to take it slow? How have your own relationships impacted your discomfort with taking it slow?
- How do you typically approach relationships? Diving head first? Steady and meticulous? What about him?
- How long have you two been together? Is it a new relationship? Or have you and your man been together for years?
- How serious is the relationship? Is it casual? New? Have you two been talking about commitment? Where do you two see this relationship going?
- Was there discussion about taking it slow where you both shared your thoughts, feelings, and came to a decision together or was this solely decided by him?
- Is this the first time he’s wanted to “take things slow” or does he have a pattern of putting on the brakes?
- What does your gut say? Do you have an uneasy feeling? Are you in agreement?
There is no set time frame for how long you should wait after your man says he wants to take things slow.
However, these points to consider can help you decide what is right for you, what you need in a relationship, and what you are willing to do for this relationship.
Heather Gillam, MS, NCC, LMFTA – www.sisulumicounseling.com
While teaching graduate school I came to realize students disliked the answer given to so many questions raised about what someone should do in a given situation.
And that answer was “well, it depends.” I actually dislike that answer as well.
I can hear my dad’s voice in my head when I would ask him a question and he would take a deep breath, sigh, maybe adjust his waistband, and say “well, it depends” to which I would usually laugh and he would say “no, no, hear me out.”
So, hear me out, the answer to this question, like so many, is… well, it depends…on a lot of factors.
The first factor that comes to mind is age. To some people having a family and bearing children of their own is very important. Unfortunately, women have a limit on how long we are able to conceive and birth children.
So if someone is in that phase of life where child bearing is important to them that would be a definite consideration as to how long she would wait.
The next thing that comes to mind is the quality of the relationship.
If everything in the relationship is great, he’s just not ready, in the same place as you to settle down, get serious or be committed then maybe someone would choose to wait a little longer.
I once watched a woman wait for years until her boyfriend was ready, like 10 years, and now they are happily married. She knew it was the relationship for her and waiting felt right.
The next thing that comes to mind is the reason why he’s not ready.
Sometimes someone’s not ready because they’re focused on their career or because they have some major life events or something that they’re working towards and they want to put that first. Typically I dislike gender stereotypes, however sometimes they hold true.
Some men feel as though they don’t want to be in a committed relationship until they have everything settled with their career and are financially independent.
I didn’t quite comprehend this at first because most women have very different ideals.
I now understand that many men are inherently providers and therefore don’t want to commit until they are financially stable.
- Ultimately, each woman has to decide for herself how important is this relationship?
- How important is this person?
- How important are her own wants and needs?
Then taking all of this into consideration she can decide how long to wait.
I frequently suggest people put a time limit on things.
This has even worked in my own life. I was once in a relationship and I decided I’m going to give this 6 months and if this major issue that we discussed, and he committed to work on doesn’t change then I’ll see how I feel. In the meantime, I’ll work diligently on myself.
At the end of 6 months nothing had changed and 3 months later I left the relationship. Sometimes if we shelve the topic for a limited time and focus on ourselves the answer becomes clear.
Pamela Georgette, LMFT, ATR – www.createachange.net
When two people decide to enter into an agreement to care, trust, love and support one other, they allow themselves to be emotionally vulnerable.
Women who find themselves in a relationship where they are willing to enter with an open heart and mind, ready to risk loss for love, while their partner expresses hesitancy, are often left feeling insecure and confused.
There could be a number of reasons why their partner wants to take it slow, however at the core of the issue is an inability to trust that he is safe to let down his guard and be vulnerable. We all come into relationships with experiences from our past.
Choosing to acknowledge, accept, and learn from past relationships is essential to trusting and growing with your partner.
When a partner is hesitant to resolve their own past issues and allow themselves to trust, the relationship will remain stagnant.
True love has no reservations, timelines or pressures to meet deadlines.
That’s not to say that relationships are all easy! Communication and transparency are keys to a successful partnership, as well as a healthy dependence on one another in times of distress.
If he is willing to “do the work” to process his own past and whatever may be interfering with him falling madly in love with you, and if you truly love him, meet him where he is at emotionally and be understanding of his process.
Also ask yourself if you’re showing up as a loving partner, one who can be trusted and relied upon to provide safety and security in times of emotional distress.
If so, it’s time to listen to your intuition and free yourself (and him!) to explore other relationships that give you exactly what you need. You deserve it!
Jessica Langbehn, LCSW – www.jrltherapeutic.com
How long should you wait if your partner wants to move slowly in the relationship?
The answer to that is several things.
First, you should find out what he means by taking it slowly.
Does he mean staying casual, seeing other people, not making a final commitment and not talking about future plans?
If so, and you are OK with that, then you can continue seeing him with no further expectations.
But, if he’s afraid, and wants to keep you in his life, just needing a little time, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel valued?
- Does he make you feel important in his life and significant – someone he enjoys being with and wants to continue being with?
- Are his words and body language in sync?
You should trust your inner antenna, your intuition and try to “read” him to make sure you feel safe and he’s being honest, truthful and fair.
- Are you hanging around because you are needy and even desperate?
- Do you want to stay because he’s really special or because you’re afraid of being alone?
- Do you expect him to come around and be all you want him to be?
Understand that he is sharing how he feels, but you may be discounting his words and assuming there can be more.
Be careful that you are not falling for “fairy-tale” thinking, hoping your partner will affirm your desires.
Are you too enmeshed in his life, depending on him to acknowledge your worth?
In other words, you don’t want to lose your sense of self for the sake of the relationship.
Instead, stay empowered and confident by doing healthy inner exercises that support you and your needs.
These are a few things to consider when you have to decide how long you are going to stay while he figures out what he wants.
Just be aware of your expectations and don’t be surprised if he can’t give you what you want. That may help in your decision to stay or leave.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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