“Let’s take it slow” is easier said than done when you meet someone you’re immediately infatuated with, but taking the time to really get to know someone is crucial for building the foundation of a [hopefully] long-term relationship.
Here are tips for how to pace yourself while dating:
1. Speak up.
If you want to go slow, say so — and say it early. If you establish boundaries and a pace you’re comfortable with early on, you won’t be alarming your date with an awkward “We need to slow down” conversation later. Reassure your partner that the reason you want to take your time is because you’re really into him/her and don’t want to mess up the relationship by jumping in too fast.
2. Don’t confuse honesty with verbal diarrhea.
You don’t have to air all of that proverbial “dirty laundry” on the first date just because he asks you a question about your personal life. Be honest and open, but refrain from unloading every little detail about your exes, financial situation, or health issues right away. There will be a time and place to share everything eventually; the first few dates usually don’t qualify as appropriate.
3. Use restraint.
Just because you both made fun of Celine Dion on your first date doesn’t mean you have to text her every single time you hear “My Heart Will Go On” in the grocery store. Don’t act on every impulse to make contact. Instead, share some of those little moments and stories with your date the next time you spend time together.
4. Avoid talking about your collective future.
Don’t make future plans together too soon. Sure, you both love French food, but this doesn’t mean that you should be making hypothetical plans to visit Paris together in the fall when you’ve only been dating for two weeks. Nor should you be talking about fun New Year’s plans if your first date is in July. And never start planning a wedding until you’re both already in it for the long haul.
5. Don’t say “I love you” yet.
You might believe it, but that doesn’t mean you should say it — yet. You might be swept up in a new romance, or just riding high after a passionate kiss. Even if this isn’t the case, your partner’s feelings might not be mutual. Give the relationship time to develop until you’re both feeling secure and confident about its direction. If you know you’d be upset if your partner couldn’t say “I love you, too” after you made a confession of love, hold off until you’re sure he/she is head over heels for you.
6. Keep living your life.
It’s easy to make a new relationship the center of your world. Be careful to honor previous commitments to family, friends, work and hobbies. Don’t put your life on hold for a new object of affection. Let your date know about your involvements and slowly introduce him/her to your world. Sure, with time you’ll give your partner a greater portion of your schedule, but in the early stages, make sure you continue to nurture your friendships and keep the commitments you’ve already made.