“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”
~ Nat Turner
It’s super exciting when he pursues you. The texts, the phone calls, the roses and when he tells you a million times how beautiful you are, all you can do is just soak it up.
So you keep smiling, accepting dates and opening yourself up and before you know it, you’re talking about living together, how many pets you’ll have and where you’ll live in your old age.
In the meantime, you’re feeling anxious and unsure about how to best handle the situation with the guy you really like but who wants to spend a lot of time with you.
You worry about pushing him away, but at the same time you know that avoiding your feelings is not the answer either.
If you’re in a situation like this, I recommend the following:
Take a step back and evaluate what’s best for you.
Take steps to take back your control. I’m not talking about a way that is bossy or controlling, but in a way that is clear, respectful and empowering.
1. Trust yourself
Trust the little voice inside your head that’s saying, “This is going too fast,” and “Maybe I need to know him better”, and “I need to slow things down.”
The little voice is showing up for a reason.
The little voice is your intuition. It’s a gut feeling that you can’t necessarily put words to but it’s there to protect you. Trust it.
2. Be honest
Let you partner know the relationship is moving too fast for your comfort level. Don’t be afraid to share how you really feel. Remember that healthy intimacy is about being open, honest and truthful. Open communication at the onset sets the stage for a respectful relationship.
3. Set boundaries
Anytime you are doing something that you don’t in your “heart of hearts” want to do, you’re not honoring yourself. This includes giving too much of yourself emotionally, physically or sexually.
My clients often ask me, “Don’t you need to give in a relationship even if you don’t want to?” The answer is sometimes, yes, and mostly, no. Let me explain what I mean.
In order to know and move towards what you really, really want in relationships and in life you need to say no first. I’m referring to the type of “want” that feels right for you, that’s good for you and that aligns with your needs, your values, your self-care and your goals.
When you say no to things that don’t feel right for you, you then open yourself up to opportunities and growth that does. This is true in relationships as it is for life.
You never want to give in a relationship by compromising who you are. You never want to give in a relationship if it doesn’t feel “right” for you. You never want to give in a relationship if the next day you’ll say to yourself, “Why the hell did I do that?”
A healthy relationship begins with you.
You want to give in a relationship if it aligns with your values, your needs and the “core” of who you are. Your authentic self.
Remember your boundaries are there to protect you. Use them often.
4. Face your fears
Fear keeps us stuck and repeating old patterns that are no longer working. Fear keeps us feeling a false sense of security. Fear keeps us from not facing our true self. Fear keeps us feeling that something other than what is healthy for us is the way to love and emotional freedom, when it’s not.
Face whatever is holding you back from showing your true self.
Ask yourself, “Am I afraid to be alone? ” and “Am I worried about getting old?” and “Will he not love me if I say no?” Navigate through all the discomfort and be comforted that you’ll see your true self on the other side.
5. Invest in you
If you’ve been swept up in your relationship you may have forgotten your own needs. At any stage of a relationship, taking care of yourself is important. A relationship is healthier when partners don’t rely on the other person to make them happy.
Take time and invest in you.
Do things that make you happy and bring joy in your life. Feed your emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual self daily.
When a relationship is moving too fast, trust that slowing the relationship down will keep you grounded and balanced. Trust that the right person will respect the boundaries that you’ve set, and will only be in your life because they truly want to.
Kavita A. Hatten, MS, LPC, NCC- www.phoenixcounseling.net
If you have gotten into a relationship and you feel that things are moving too quickly, remember that you are in control of yourself.
No one else has power over you or can dictate your actions or the pace of a relationship. You are in charge of your own life, your own relationships, and your own peace of mind.
If you want to slow things down, ask yourself what the boundaries are that you are comfortable with.
You have the duty to yourself to live according to your own boundaries, standards, and comfort level. You can set the pace for how often you talk to someone or how often you see them, and you can take a pause whenever you want to.
You do not need to bend over backwards trying to please someone in order to get their approval.
You never have to apologize for who you are and what you are comfortable with. It is more important to approve of yourself and to be comfortable with what you are doing.
Do not leave it to the other person to set your standards, as it is your responsibility and duty to yourself to operate in a way that is in line with your values, desires, and personality.
Be who you are, claim your power, and trust that the right things will happen.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
A guy who comes on strong can be very attractive.
It can feel like being Cinderella chosen from the whole crowd and “swept off your feet.” On the other hand, it can feel controlling, demanding, and overwhelming.
Guys who push for exclusivity on the first date, or who propose in the first week, or call or text you 5, 6, 10 times a day can feel overpowering. Since he doesn’t really know you yet, you’d be wise to wonder why he’s pushing so hard. Two things are likely—he’s insecure and he wants to seal the deal before you get to know him.
Narcissists are known for coming on strong and pushing hard for commitment immediately.
They want to see you every day, talk with you every hour, and do everything together. In addition, they’re very charming, adoring, and full of fun ideas of things to do in the beginning. So, at first you may not notice that suddenly you’re only doing things with him and getting cut off from your own friends, family and life.
How do you slow things down with someone who wants to consume every minute of every day, and you’re just not ready to get into a relationship so intensely with someone you don’t know very well yet?
You could start by asking him not to call or text you more than once a day or every other day.
Then notice how her responds. If he ignores your request, just don’t respond until you’re ready on your time schedule. If he puts you down, accuses you of not caring, or actually gets angry—that’s a huge red flag! Those are classic control behaviors. Time to end the relationship.
You can also spread out the time between dates.
Tell him you’re busy, have other plans, have to work, have to wash your hair, etc. Some guys (especially narcissists) will up the ante by telling what a wonderful, amazing date it would be. But if you want to slow things down, stick to your own plans, give yourself a breather, and still refuse.
Don’t sleep with him until you really get to know him.
There’s so much misinterpretation about what sleeping together means for each of you. Either of you may think it immediately means you’re committed and together, while the other could think it was just fun but no big deal. Sex moves the relationship on pretty fast, so if you want to slow things down, slow down the sex.
Don’t say “I love you” until you really mean it. Don’t use endearments, share sexual fantasies, or make or agree to plans too far in advance.
Ask yourself why you’re wanting to slow things down.
- Are you feeling pressured or controlled?
- Are you going on too many fancy dates and not really hanging out getting to know each other?
- Are you questioning whether you want to go any further with this relationship?
- Are there some issues that you’re uncomfortable with and haven’t gotten the courage to discuss?
- Even if he’s nice, interesting, and sweet, is the connection just not happening?
These are all things that need to be discussed and/or ultimately decided on by you.
If you want to slow the relationship down because it’s just not working for you, then figure out how to get it working or make a decision to leave. Just stringing a guy along because the dates are fun, but you see no future isn’t fair or nice unless you’ve both agreed that’s where you’re at right now.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
If you are in a relationship that is moving at a faster speed than you are comfortable with, then consider these several steps to take:
1. Think about how long you have been involved with your man. Have you been together for only 3 months? Or have it been 6 months? Maybe it has been one year or more?
2. What were your expectations for this point of your relationship? Take a journal and write it down. Write down what were your expectations and then…
3. Communicate them to your partner. Ask him what his expectations are for this point in your relationship.
4. Can you both find a compromise? Can you allow yourself to move a little faster while he allows himself to slow down a little?
5. Consider the fact that both people need to feel satisfied in the relationship which means that compromise is crucial in relationships, no matter what the issue at hand is. This also means that both of you NEED to fulfill each others’ NEEDS for the relationship to work out. And don’t confuse your NEEDS and WANTS. They are very different. Think about your expectations in the form of NEEDS.
6. Can you see yourself re-considering the pace of the relationship? Can he see himself re-considering the pace of the relationship?
7. Give some thought to exactly how the relationship is moving too fast.
In what ways? Communicate to him the ways in which you are willing to compromise and the ways in which you are not willing to compromise.
Let him know the ways in which you feel uncomfortable about the relationship moving too fast.
Ask him in what ways does he feel uncomfortable with the relationship moving too slow?
If you both can communicate effectively and settle on a compromise, then this relationship has a chance!
Jackie Krol, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.com
How can you pace the relationship to move in a healthier, more positive, slower direction, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and he doesn’t feel too scared?
Here are some tips:
1. Start with friendship first.
This level of comfort translates into a solid foundation for love to blossom and intimacy to develop. So be friends first before you open the door to the physical and emotional closeness that is so essential for a solid partnership.
2. Be able to communicate effectively by encouraging open, honest dialogues.
Be attuned to nonverbal cues and body language from your partner that can trigger messages and unconscious signals that you are coming on too strongly.
3. Stop sacrificing yourself for the sake of your partner.
You must be able to maintain your individual interests, including friends, activities and professional goals so you can orchestrate your life and not feel insecure or desperate.
4. Trust your intuition, which is that part of you with knowledge vital to your well-being.
This internal antenna continually sends you messages that you shouldn’t ignore, especially how your partner is making you feel. If you feel he is pushing away, the relationship may be moving too fast. Don’t ignore the obvious cues.
5. Be careful of not being too dependent on your partner.
Dependency and neediness are not attractive qualities. You may be letting the relationship move too fast because you are afraid of losing him or being alone.
Relationships take a lot of work, continuous effort and a great deal of compromise, insight and understanding. Romantic love grows as you progress through your relationship.
And what lasts is the committed, emotional love that makes all healthy relationships worthwhile.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Timing in a relationship is really important.
People tend to overlook timing, focusing on other issues that could be causing problems.
If your partner is ready to move forward and you aren’t, you of course want to look at all of the possible causes for your reluctance (and his urgency).
You might have issues with him completely unrelated to timing, and those are important to explore. You could also just not be ready.
Some reasons why you aren’t ready could have to do with the ending of a prior relationship.
How long ago was it? Do you still feel reactive to it? Is there something unresolved that could hold you back from moving forward with someone new.
What else is going on in your life? Are you still in school? Are you in a new and/or demanding job? Is it a time in your life when it would be hard to devote the time and energy needed to make a relationship work?
Maybe you just don’t want the commitment and you’re not really sure why. Your feelings are enough. You don’t have to justify yourself to him or anyone else!
It’s also a good idea to look at why he is feeling the pressure to move more quickly.
Sometimes it’s as simple as that he thinks you’re the one and he’s ready to settle down and start a family.
Could there be a big disparity in your ages? If you’re a lot younger than he, it could just be that you are in different developmental stages of life.
Is he insecure?
If so, he could be looking at tying you down as a way to soothe his insecurity. If that’s the case, it’s a big red flag. In spite of what he thinks, he isn’t at all ready for a relationship.
Whatever the case, the two of you need to talk and find out what each other is thinking and feeling.
You need to have respect for each other’s needs, but you need to honor your own and feel entitled to take care of yourself.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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