Relationships are great, but there are times when you don’t feel like the pace of your relationship matches what you’re comfortable with. Whether you went through a bad breakup or experienced commitment problems beforehand, you might wonder how to slow down a relationship without breaking up.
Taking things slow or taking a break gets a bad rep, but sometimes that’s exactly what your relationship needs to be able to take things to the next level when the time comes. As someone who prefers taking things slow early on in the relationship, you might struggle to get your point across to your partner.
After all, you’re not ready to break things off at all. You simply don’t like feeling like you’re being rushed or pushed to commit to things you’re not ready to commit to. You get turned off and freaked out, and you quickly lose interest in your partner although you can feel yourself falling head over heels for them.
Rather than communicating your concerns to your partner, you’re looking for advice on how to slow down a relationship that’s moving too quickly for your comfort – you’re not the only one. Yes, you absolutely have the right to set the pace that feels good to you and that’s why we’re here to help.
Our top tips on how to slow down a relationship
1. Step back and check what’s going on with your relationship
Starting with something everyone should do occasionally, we suggest you step back and check what’s going on with your relationship before you decide to slow things down, take a break, or break up. Sure, you’re certain about wanting to slow down, but do you understand why?
Maybe you’re struggling with committing to your partner because you’ve been hurt before. Maybe you’re not comfortable with the physical side of your relationship because you feel like you’re not ready to take your relationship to that level. Whatever the reason, it’s important to identify the issue.
2. Come to terms with your own needs and expectations
Once you’ve figured out the problem, reflect on your readiness to move forward in the relationship. Listen to your heart and prioritize your well-being to avoid future regrets about your decisions concerning your partner.
We understand your dilemma – you adore your partner and don’t want to imply that you’re not on the same page. You don’t want them to feel inadequate or think you’re losing interest. You need to convey that you’re seeking change, not an end to the relationship.
3. Communicate your needs and expectations to your partner
Oftentimes, the way you communicate with your partner makes more of a difference than what you’re trying to communicate. Remember to be mindful of your partner’s needs and expectations and make sure the two of you are on the same page about wanting the relationship to succeed.
Whether you have a detailed discussion or gradually express your needs over time, reassure your partner that you’re not looking for a break or breakup – you just want to take things slow.
4. Be open and honest about what you’re going through
If you’re trying to figure out how to slow down a relationship without breaking up, you might be focusing on the wrong issue. Consider how your partner contributes to your stress and anxiety, and recognize that they might be unaware of your struggles.
It’s crucial to be transparent about what you’re experiencing.
If you want to have a happy and healthy relationship with your partner, you need to figure out a way to be open and honest about what you’re going through. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t want to feel you’re on a rollercoaster because you keep hitting relationship milestones you’re not ready to hit.
5. Work with your partner to come up with a plan both of you can stick to
After addressing these steps, work together to develop a plan you both can commit to. Regardless of your partner’s initial reaction, you can establish boundaries, form new habits, and practice patience.
You’d be surprised at the number of concrete steps you can take to slow down a relationship. You can agree to see each other every other day rather than every day. You can agree to take a day off when you’re overwhelmed. You can even agree to celebrate the little things.
When both of you are happy with the way you’re handling things, there’s no reason why your relationship wouldn’t survive and thrive.
6. Give each other space
Searching for concrete suggestions on how to slow down a relationship? Sure, you’ve communicated your needs to your partner, but now you don’t know what to do to improve your relationship. Start with something small, guaranteed to give both of you a chance to reflect.
Consider giving each other space whenever you’re overwhelmed or overworked.
If you already live together, you might want to focus some of your free time on your friends, family, and even things you want to do alone. If you don’t live together, you might want to see each other every two or three days, rather than every day. Work through the overall rules together and see what happens.
7. Go on group hangouts rather than one-on-one dates
We’re not saying that you’re getting tired of each other, but perhaps you’re getting tired of spending every moment of every day together. When you start a new relationship, you’re enamored with everything your partner does and you’re more than happy to be with them 24/7.
However, when the sudden rush of emotions ends, you might feel a little suffocated by the amount of time you spend alone with your partner. You miss your friends. You miss going over to your mom’s place for brunch. You miss everything about your life before your partner.
While that might be a tough pill to swallow, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to hang out with other people, too. Start by arranging group hangouts with your friends or going on separate hangouts on your time off. Still, don’t forget to commit to one-on-one dates, too.
8. Devote plenty of time to your personal life
Relationships have a way of consuming your entire life because you’re constantly trying to please your partner, go on dates, plan weekend getaways, and talk about the future – because that’s what everyone around you does. Rather than getting all grumpy, you can talk to your partner and switch things up.
Devote plenty of time to your personal life. Whether that means spending more time catching up with your friends, working on a project you’ve been trying to get done for months, or starting a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try, you’re going to feel like you’re doing something for yourself.
9. Delay dating milestones
Now, delaying dating milestones might be a bit controversial. Still, you’re trying to figure out how to slow down a relationship for a reason.
Whether you’re freaking out over the fact that your partner wants to talk about the future all the time or that they’re adamant about spending the holidays together, you’re clearly struggling with the pace of your relationship. Who says you need to meet each other’s friends and family right away?
Who says you need to plan a trip together after a couple of months of dating? Who says you need to get a dog because you’ve been living together for more than a year?
Delaying dating milestones doesn’t mean the two of you can’t do anything together anymore – it simply means that you need to sit down, talk things through, and figure out which dating milestones you’re comfortable with and which you aren’t.
10. Commit to smaller plans rather than bigger (and scarier!) plans for the future
Commitment can be quite challenging for people who have been hurt before or for those who haven’t had the chance to explore the wondrous world of committed relationships.
If you’re overwhelmed by your partner’s tendency to talk about the future, you might want to suggest committing to smaller plans rather than giving up on bigger plans. What do we mean by that?
Maybe you’re not comfortable with planning a two-week holiday for the summer after dating your partner for two months, and that’s okay. You might, however, be comfortable with planning a romantic trip for the following weekend.
Committing to smaller plans can be as exciting as planning a future together – you simply need to communicate with your partner about what you’re comfortable with.