What does it mean to “take it slow” in a relationships?
Once you’ve met someone who makes you feel all the butterflies in your stomach, it can be tempting to dive into a new relationship as fast as possible.
You’re so into them and they’re so into you… what could go wrong? Well, as some of us have learned the hard way, relationships that start fast don’t always have staying power — which is why it’s not uncommon for some people to slow down the progression of a new romance, no matter how into each other they are.
But, what does it mean to take it slow in relationships, and can this tactic actually improve the longevity of a relationship? According to NYC-based relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter, taking it slow might not mean exactly what you think it does.
“Taking it slow is normally a request of one partner who’s unsure about their involvement,” Winter says. “Perhaps they were deeply hurt in the past and taking it slow would ensure that they’re on solid footing before they claim coupledom.”
If you’ve had less than perfect experiences with love in the past (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) it totally makes sense that being a bit more cautious could help keep you from dating people who aren’t a good fit for you. However, Winter also emphasized that a request to take things slow can be a sign that someone may not be interested in a meaningful relationship, and if you are, but a potential bae isn’t, that’s something to take note of.
“Alternatively, taking it slow can be a stalling technique,” explained Winter. “One partner may want to tip-toe around the edge of the relationship, so as to not be emotionally accountable when things go south. The relationship is primarily sexual and they have no intention of having it be more.”
Although the request to take a relationship slow might not always come from a place of caution, there actually are some benefits that can come from not rushing into a relationship. “Whirlwind romances are guaranteed to fall apart. They’re built on lust, illusion, and fantasy,” said Winter. Not allowing yourselves to get swept up in the intensity too soon might mean that you can evaluate the relationship potential with a clear head. According to Winter, this is especially true when trying to take things slow from a sexual standpoint.
“In an over-the-top passionate relationship, lust clouds our vision,” said Winter. “By taking things more slowly, we moderate the sexual acceleration so that we have time to think, process, and assess our new partner.”
Giving yourselves more time to build a sustainable connection can also give you the opportunity to observe the consistency factor — something Winter believes separates casual relationships from more serious ones. “The difference between a torrid affair and a long-standing relationship is that of consistency,” noted Winter. “Taking your time allows the foundational elements to be baked into the relationship so that consistency (day-to-day loving behavior) can be maintained.”
If taking a tentative approach to love doesn’t sound like a bad idea, then taking it slow might be a good move for you. And if your partner is the one asking to take it slow, remember: The upside is that you can observe their tendencies before labeling the relationship.