Most of us have probably heard of the "taking it slow" approach to new relationships, but I’ve often found myself wondering what this actually means. On one hand, it seems obvious that it’s important to get to know someone before committing to being in a relationship with them. However, there’s a big chance that taking your relationship slow might mean something a bit different to everyone. Depending on who you’re asking, moving slowly could mean waiting to have sex, or it could mean having sex from the start but holding off on labels until you’re both on the same page emotionally.
So we can better understand what exactly taking it slow means and how it affects the potential for long-lasting relationships, I spoke with NYC-based relationship expert and love coach Susan Winter. "’Taking it slow’ is normally a request of one partner who’s unsure about their involvement," Winter tells Elite Daily. "Perhaps they were deeply hurt in the past [and moving slowly] would ensure that they’re on solid footing before they claim coupledom."
But "taking it slow" isn’t always a good thing. Winter explains that this can also be a "stalling technique" used by people who want the perks of a relationship without having to fully commit. "One partner may want to tip-toe around the edge of the relationship, so as to not be emotionally accountable when things go south." In this case, Winter warns that there is a high probability that the person wants to keep the relationship sexual and is trying to safeguard against it turning into more.
Either way, according to Winter, "taking it slow" is an attempt to remove all labels and expectations (which has both a positive and negative side) until one or both parties are ready to commit, or indefinitely, in some cases. If it’s the former, this approach might be able to encourage the development of important relationship aspects that typically get pushed to the wayside early on, like trust and stability. If you’re considering entering a relationship where either of you isn’t sure what the end goal is, here are some ways taking it slow can actually work out in your favor.
1You can see beneath the surface.
Once you’ve agreed to let go of labels and expectations — seeing how things develop pressure-free can be a good opportunity to get to know someone on a more genuine level. Winter points out that slowing down the "normal" dating trajectory also gives you the chance to ask yourself important questions.
"Are they good for me? Do I like their disposition? Are they a person I admire and respect? Do they possess the kind of emotional skills that allow them to be in a healthy partnership?" are all important things to consider, according to Winter.
2The sexual attraction will be less likely to define the relationship.
Taking it slow from a sexual standpoint could also allow for insight into what a relationship with this person would be like. "In an over-the-top passionate relationship, lust clouds our vision," explains Winter. "By taking things more slowly, we moderate the sexual acceleration so that we have time to think, process and assess our new partner."
3You can make a solid connection.
"Spending time establishing a solid connection creates a firm foundation for ongoing partnership," says Winter "This connection is one of friendship, mutual respect, and shared interests. These are the qualities that keep a relationship alive for the long haul."
Let’s be real: We’ve all likely experienced the confusion that ensues after an explosive sexual relationship starts to simmer down and it feels like there’s nothing substantial left. If you focus on connecting in other ways early on, this can make it clear from the start if the relationship has more than just sexual potential.
4It gives you some time to establish consistency.
"Whirlwind romances are guaranteed to fall apart," says Winter. "They’re built on lust, illusion, and fantasy. The difference between a torrid affair and a long-standing relationship is that of consistency."
When things are hot, of course you’re texting each other back at lightning speed. However, seeing how you both act when things are a bit less charged can help you realistically asses if a person is capable of meeting your needs on a consistent basis. "Taking your time to know each other allows the foundational elements to be baked into the relationship so that consistent, day-to-day loving behavior can be maintained," explains Winter.
So, if you’re thinking of "taking things slow" with someone new or have been asked by someone else if moving slowly is something you’d be OK with, first it’s important to clarify exactly they (or you) mean. Once you’re on the same page (or realize you’re not) you can then decide if this approach is in line with the type of relationship you want.
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