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He Wants To “Slow Things Down”—Here’s What That Means

It’s easy to think that when a guy says he wants to slow things down a bit[1] he’s really saying he wants to end things, but this isn’t always the case. There might be other reasons that could lead him to say this, so before you freak out and dump him, bear these points in mind.

He wants to get used to commitment. No, he’s not necessarily a commitment-phobe. Let’s be real: commitment is scary, especially if it’s happening really fast in a relationship. If he wants to slow down a bit, maybe he just wants to ease into commitment. Instead of saying he loves you after three dates (which is crazy), he wants to tell you he likes you and make things official, and then move towards the three big words. There’s no rush.

He wants to deal with his baggage[2] without losing the love of his life. Just because he has baggage (hey, who doesn’t?), that doesn’t mean that he can’t be in a committed and happy relationship. However, he might want to keep the relationship moving at a slow pace so that he can deal with his issues without them feeling overwhelming. As long as he’s open about his issues and how he wants to be with you, it shouldn’t be a biggie.

He wants to include you in his life. He has a full life overflowing with lots of hobbies, career demands, friends and more. He’s not the type to tell you he’s too busy to see you, but he might have to take some time to ease into a new relationship that’s going to take up some of his spare time, headspace, and emotional investment[3]. Also, he might not be rushing into letting you meet his friends until he knows you’re onto something good. Doesn’t sound so unreasonable, does it?

He wants to be sure. This is different from being confused. If he says he’s confused about whether or not he should be with you, the guy’s a jerk. But if he just wants to make sure you’re right for each other, he’s treading with caution and there’s nothing wrong with that.

He wants to enjoy the process. People rush into relationships too damn quickly. The worst thing is to end up in a LTR and look back with regret, such as by thinking, “I wish we’d enjoyed the early stages of our relationship.” Maybe he doesn’t want to rush and he doesn’t want those regrets. He wants to enjoy things. As long as he makes it clear that he wants to be official and exclusive with you (and not leave you in casual dating purgatory) then it’s legit.

He’s also afraid of getting hurt. Hey, you’re not the only one who’s afraid of being hurt! He’s probably experiencing the same fears and worries. He doesn’t want to get his heart broken (again) so he’d prefer taking things slowly. 

He doesn’t want to miss some red flags. If you’re too busy rushing into a relationship and heading for those milestones[4], it’s easy to miss some important red flags. He doesn’t want to miss them (maybe he has in the past and he’s learned his lesson). He wants to make sure that you’re compatible, and you should be doing the same thing.

He wants to suss you out. Look, maybe he’s just met you. He might like what he knows about you so far but he might not actually know you on a deep level. How can he commit to you, even on a small scale, if that’s the case? Besides, spending time talking and really getting to know each other can be loads of fun. It also forms an incredible foundation for a committed, connected partnership.

He’s had sex too quickly with other girls. Maybe in the past he’d rush to the bedroom with women he’d started dating. The result? He realized that he was going about his relationships all wrong, almost backward, by sleeping with them before knowing them. He’s done with that. The good thing about this is that he’ll probably want to work on having a more emotionally intimate relationship before the physical side of things comes up.

He wants to break up[5]There are some reasons that point to how he might not want a breakup, but there’s always a risk that he does, in fact, want to break up with you when he tells you that he just wants to slow down a bit. That’s likely to happen if you’ve already grown close and you’ve already become official. In such a case, he’s backing out of the relationship instead of working towards something. You can tell he’s doing this by stepping back and seeing what he says and does. If it’s clear he’s not focused on being with you, but rather using the “let’s slow down” excuse to break away from you, he’s heading for the exit.

Giulia Simolo[6] Giulia is a freelance writer living in Johannesburg, South Africa. She writes for local and international websites, with a special interest in writing about dating. In her spare time, she can be found blissed out in a bookstore or writing fiction of her own. She loves Oscar Wilde, organic beauty products and Italian food.

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