How To Slow Down a Relationship

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So we spoke about the signs your relationship is moving too fast, we also shared how to take things slow when dating, but how do you slow things down in a relationship, when you’re already with someone? How do you backtrack or put the breaks on, without it breaking the two of you? In this post, we’ll run through how to slow down a relationship, the right way. So let’s get stuck in…

How To Slow Things Down in a Relationship

When it comes to how to slow things down in a relationship, it really doesn’t have to be as daunting or difficult as you may think.

But let’s start with your reservations – what are you worried about?

See, usually the biggest fear when it comes to slowing down a relationship, is worrying how your partner may take it.

You think they won’t understand? They’ll be hurt? It will cause issues between the two of you?

Well the truth is, moving things too fast is more likely to break you – not just because you may not be ready, but because it may not be right.

Relationships that move too fast, too soon, are most likely to crash and burn.
Forgetting Fairytales

So if you feel like you need to slow down the relationship, do it – for the sake of both of you, and for giving the relationship the best chance of not only surviving, but thriving.

Slowing Things Down in a Relationship

So before we look at how to slow down a relationship, let’s backtrack a little. I want you to ask yourself: why do you want to slow down the relationship?

Or could it be that:

  • Everything has gone 100mph so far, and you think the relationship needs a breather?
  • You’ve both fallen fast and hard, and you still feel the same way, but you know you don’t have the right balance in the relationship right now?
  • Maybe you’re happy with where you’re at, everything’s been great up until now, but you’re just not quite ready for things to progress to the next stage?

Whatever it may be, get clear on why you want to slow down the relationship, and how exactly you feel. Always try to understand why you feel that particular way and where it’s coming from. 

Is it to do with you, and your fears or insecurities? Or is it to do with the relationship and something that’s fundamentally wrong, or needs to be adjusted to become healthier? 

How To Slow Down a Relationship

Once you know why you want to slow it down, when it comes to the “how” part – it’s simple.

1) Talk About It

Whatever the reason, whatever it may be, the best thing you can do from here, is be honest, open and talk about it. Communication is key.

This doesn’t have to be make or break, and actually, having the conversation about where you’re at, how you feel and how your partner feels – could be the exact “fix” you need.

You’re a team remember, and talking about why or how to slow down a relationship, can actually only bring you closer.

You don’t need to lie, hide things, push your partner away or blindside them – because when you do this, you’re only pushing the outcome to a breakup… only in the worst possible way.

If this does break you, you weren’t right. But talking about it is always the first point for change – and that can be a positive change.

How To Slow Things Down in a Relationship

How To Tell Your Partner You Want To Slow Things Down

When you do approach the subject and go to tell your partner you want to slow things down, make sure you’re sensitive about it, and understanding.

If they don’t feel the same way, if they’re happy with how things are going and see no need to do this – it’s likely to come as a shock, and would be easy for them to panic and assume the worst.

So always be gentle about approaching it the right way. The better your partner understands how you feel, the easier you can work through it.

So make sure you tell them that you love them, you love what you have, you just think things are moving too fast or aren’t ready for the next stage.

Before you go into the conversation, make sure you know what you want – you know what changes and adjustments you want, and are able to talk about them, so there’s less confusion and you’re actually working towards the desired outcome.

Be patient, ask questions and listen to what your partners saying too – because how they feel also matters.

This shouldn’t be just one person calling the shots, but open communication, understanding and compromise from both sides. That’s how you’ll make it work – by meeting in the middle.

2) Don’t See Each Other As Much

Another key element when it comes to how to slow down a relationship, is to take more time to yourself.

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed as you’re together too much, or maybe you feel like you need to take a back-step because your relationship has taken over your life and left no space for anything else.

This isn’t about distancing yourself from your partner, but understanding that the two of you are happy, you are secure, and that it’s a GOOD THING to develop your life away from the relationship. In fact, it only makes things stronger.

So if you want to slow things down in your relationship:

  1. Spend a little less time together.
  2. Text a little less when you’re not together.
  3. Develop your life apart.
  4. Make sure the time that you do spend together, is quality time.
  5. Fully appreciate that time you have together. Remember how special the two of you are!

Initially, it may be hard to adjust – hard not only for your partner who may not see anything wrong with the relationship, but also hard for you, as we are creatures of habit… and although you may know you need to slow the relationship down, it doesn’t mean you necessarily want to.

But action is key here – not just talking about changes but implementing them, straight away. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or drastic, just small changes that benefit the both of you.

How To Slow Down a Relationship

3) Don’t Talk Too Much About The Future

Ahhh, talks about the future – this is a big one.

See, if you feel like you need to slow down a relationship, you feel like things are moving too fast, or will move too fast – and you’re getting anxious, nervous or scared.

It can happen in other aspects of your life too.

Like when you leave University and suddenly have the pressure to find a job, build a career… Suddenly you have to grow up, and grow up fast it can feel. It becomes overwhelming.

But whatever you focus on, you feel.
Forgetting Fairytales

Read that again. Because it honestly couldn’t be more true.

If you feel like there’s pressure on your relationship, pressure on you to make the right decisions in life – find the right person, move in together, get married, settle down, start a family, etc etc (that’s usually the standard path anyway) and you’re conscious of where you’re heading and where you “need” to go, it takes away from where you are.

So in order to slow down a relationship, take a breather. Stop talking about the future. Stop worrying about the future. Instead, just enjoy where you currently are, enjoy what you currently have and keep making it the best that it can be, right now, in this moment…

4) Live In The Moment

Appreciate the here and now, appreciate the stage you’re currently in. Look back only to smile at the memories and see how far you’ve come, but avoid looking forward too much. Stay present.

Everything you want – it will still happen. But all in the right time. And this doesn’t mean you can’t ever have serious conversations, it just means that – for the most part – you’re slowing things down by enjoying the now.

To help with this, a few recommended reads I have:

If you’ve identified that you need to slow your relationship down, it means that you probably need to work on building stronger foundations… You’re running before you can walk. But this can still be FUN to do!

Outlook really is everything, and the way you look at this, the way you approach this, can actually be the difference between make or break. Want to work on the way you see things?

Recommended Read: How To Change The Way You See Situations

5) Get More of a Balance

So we said about speaking less, spending less time together – but don’t just do this for the sake of it. In the time that you’re apart from your partner and focusing on you, really focus on you.

Look at other areas of your life that are important to you, set goals, make plans, take action. Develop yourself. Do things you enjoy. Because if you’re happy with your life as a whole, you’ll be happier within your relationship.

And by the way – you don’t need to cut your partner out in order to slow down the relationship. They can still be involved, supporting you, supporting your growth and exploration.

This is still a team effort. You’re both exploring different things away from each other, for the two of you too.

Take Things Slower

How To Slow Things Down in a Relationship

Ultimately if you want to slow things down in a relationship, it goes back to knowing what you want, knowing what you need (or what the both of you need), talking about it, clarifying the changes and then implementing them.

You also need to set new, healthy boundaries (that you have to both stick to!) So for example:

  • You might say you need to slow things down because you’re seeing each other too much – you spend all weekend, every weekend together and it’s becoming too intense.
  • The change could be to spend every other weekend together.
  • And maybe you stick to this to begin with, then fall back into old habits – getting paranoid when your partner goes out, or making plans one after the other so they “have to” still spend time with you.
  • Or perhaps you have your weekends apart, but can’t seem to relax so you spend all evening excessively texting.

Boundaries have to be put in place to:

  1. Help you stick to the things you both say.
  2. Understand what’s involved with that. (EG there’s no point spending a weekend apart if you’re just both going to be glued to your phone anyway!)

You see? And it doesn’t have to be so “strict” and set in stone forever. It’s just about making adjustments and getting used to them, so that your relationship moves at a healthier pace that you’re more comfortable with.

Remember, sometimes you have to move backwards in order to move forwards.
Forgetting Fairytales

Initially the relationship may feel like it’s taking a back-step, but you may well need this in order to form stronger foundations to move things forward.

That’s why it’s so important to understand how you feel, what you need and why you need it. It’s important for the both of you.

Relationship Review

This Can Be The Turning Point…

If you want or need to slow your relationship down, know that you can and should. Don’t be scared. Follow your heart. Because this will be for the best.

When you do slow the relationship down, it also offers a great opportunity to work on the two of you, as a couple… but doing so as a team, and supporting each other with different challenges that you may have.

So maybe you or your partner have trust issues, which resulted in things moving too fast. What better time to tackle them? [Click Here For How To Build Trust In a Relationship.]

Or maybe you / they have relationship anxiety, are often clingy or suffocating, maybe you / they have controlling tendencies, or abandonment issues that come into it even…

Whatever it is, identify which areas interlink with why your relationship is where it is, and work though these together, before you move the relationship forward.

Because I promise you – if you do this, and you use it as the turning point, slowing down the relationship to strengthen it will be the best thing you’ve ever done!

Hope this helps. For more support or one-to-one personal advice, click here.

Take care!


How To Slow Things Down in a Relationship
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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