How To Tell Your Partner You Need To Slow Things Down
Moving too fast in a relationship is tricky. First, because we often don't realize that we're doing it — we're just caught up in how much we're enjoying everything. And when everything is going well, fast feels good even if it's not. "If you meet someone and automatically think they are 'The One,' you risk idealizing them and minimizing differences," relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle "Also, infatuation lasts, on average, about 18 months, so it’s normal to think your partner is awesome, especially in the beginning." But if you have your head on your shoulders and you know the signs, you might realize that things are moving too fast.
But just knowing doesn't always help — because then how do you slow them down all of the sudden? Part of the speed comes from momentum, so explaining to someone that you want to move more slowly can be scary. You're worried that if the momentum stops, then all of the good things will stop too. Or maybe you're worried they won't think that you like them as much as you used to, even if that's not how you're feeling at all. Talking to them can be tricky, but you really need to do it — because when things move too fast they often burnout too fast. Here's what you have to consider.
Explain Where It's Coming From
Explain to your partner that what you're actually trying to do is to preserve the relationship — that you're doing this to try to make the relationship last. If you focus on how much you care about them and want to be with them and that that's where the fear is coming from. It may make them more comfortable with the idea.
Also, if you have specific things you think you've been letting slide for the sake of the relationship — friends, work, family — you can use those examples to show specifically what you're talking about.
Focus On The Positive
Make sure that you focus on what a great time you've been having together— and all the reasons why it probably started moving too fast. You feel really strongly about each other, you're compatible, you have a great time together— these are all good things. Make sure that your partner understands how much you enjoy and appreciate all of the good aspects of the relationship, so they don't feel like 'moving too fast' is a huge criticism. It will also help if you acknowledge your role in making things move too fast (it takes two to tango, after all), so they don't feel like they've been forcing themselves on you.
Have A Game Plan
If you just say vaguely that you "want to slow things down", your partner might panic. It sounds like you might just disappear and never come back. instead, make suggestions going forward. Try saying, "I love spending weekends with you, but during the week I really need to focus on work." or "I don't feel ready to move in just yet, but let's talk about it again in a few months." If they realize that 'slow down' isn't code fore breaking up, it's going to be a lot easier for them to understand.
Having a conversation about slowing things down is always going to feel a little uncomfortable, but it's OK to have uncomfortable conversations. Focus on the positive and make sure your partner knows what's coming next, it should go as smoothly as possible.