What Does It Mean to “Take Things Slow?”

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When it comes to dating and relationship lingo, the expression “taking things slow” can have a vast array of meanings. For instance, it can refer to someone’s desire to hold off for a certain amount of time before engaging in different kinds of intimate acts, while in other circumstances it can simply mean that someone wants to wait before making a serious commitment.

What Is "Taking It Slow"?

"Taking it slow" is a colloquial phrase used to indicate that a romantic relationship is progressing slowly, physically and/or emotionally.

Whatever the case may be, if your partner tells you that they'd like to take things slow, it’s important to understand the possible motivations and explanations behind this approach.

Getting out of a Serious Relationship

In many cases, people want to take things slow because they’re just getting out of a serious commitment, and the thought of immediately plunging back into an intense connection with someone new is a bit daunting. And if your partner had been hurt in this past relationship and/or has been off the market for some time, it may be even more challenging for him or her to fully open his or her heart to you right off the bat. With this in mind, taking things slow enables your partner to develop your new connection at a rate that’s comfortable.

Setting a Timetable for Intimate Acts

Another incentive for your partner’s desire to take things slowly may simply have to do with their comfort level and/or the importance that they place on certain physical acts. For example, some people choose to be intimate right away, while others want to wait for an indefinite amount of time before moving their relationship to new levels. And by taking things slowly, your partner is able to build a physical as well as emotional connection with you at a relaxed pace that’s pressure-free.

Figuring out Wants and Needs

Your partner may not be fully able or ready to move your relationship forward at a faster pace because they may still be unsure about what he or she’s looking for at this point in his or her life. To that end, your partner may still want to get to know you better, date other people and/or fully explore their options before diving into something more serious with you, and taking things slowly grants the freedom to do so.

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Avoiding Ruining a Good Thing

Another motivation for this approach is that your partner doesn't want to ruin or rush the good thing you have going together. After all, many relationships that start off too fast can end up leading to heartache and heartbreak because you and your partner took major relationship steps before really getting to know each other. However, by taking things slow, your partner is hoping to build an even stronger foundation on which your budding and blooming connection can grow.  

Abiding by a Time Frame for Relationship Milestones

Your partner may have assigned meaning to different relationship milestones, occurrences, and events. For example, they may put a great deal of importance on introducing you to his parents, going on a trip together, or even becoming friends on Facebook. And in order for your partner to be truly comfortable, ready and willing to hit these self-proclaimed monumental relationship moments, taking things slow enables these occurrences to happen when the timing is right in every respect.

Should My Partner and I Take Things Slow? 

Once you understand the different possible reasons behind your partner’s motivation, you can then decide if you’re on board with his or her timetable with respect to your own wants and needs. After all, relationships are all about timing, and if you and your partner have conflicting preferences and priorities regarding its pace, it may be a bigger sign that you’re not truly compatible and your relationship is heading nowhere fast. 

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