How do I slow things down?
Things are going well with this new guy I’m seeing. Perhaps a little bit too well. We’re a month in, and he wants to start looking for an apartment. I’ve even met his parents, and, basically, he’s acting like we’ve been a couple for years.
While I can totally see him being The One, I’m also worried that we’re moving too fast. I feel like we need to slow down. But I’m also concerned about hurting his feelings by mentioning that I’m uncomfortable with how things are going. What should I do?
Hi, Worried Walton,
Tell your new boyfriend how you feel. It’s absolutely critical that you reveal important concerns about where things are at in this relationship.
Keeping silent and hiding your feelings won’t make them fade away. It also won’t guarantee that reality will bend towards your unspoken desires. Say something.
You’re totally correct that you may injure your new boyfriend by asking to put the brakes on your love affair. Chances are, he’s super happy about how things are going and is enjoying the fact that you two are on this dramatic rollercoaster together, accelerating into the future.
But you must tell him anyway. Unfortunately, one of the things that make relationships hard is that there’s no guarantee you won’t hurt your partner.
During any romance of significant length, you’re going to have many important conversations that decide the direction of your time together.
Talks about heavy topics, like monogamy, money, housing … the list goes on. Each time you talk with your man other about the big picture, it’s possible that you’ll have different pictures in mind. It’s part of any healthy relationship.
Moreover, it’s smart to take things slow and you should be commended for wanting to do this. “Slow” is my default recommendation, not just for you, but for anyone – gay or straight.
Making the relationship too serious too soon is usually a mistake. Sure, we all know people who moved in together after two weeks after meeting and they are still going strong today. That certainly does happen – but it’s also rare.
And there’s a basic reason why: being in the early stages of love is like being a little high. Basically, for a very short period of time, you’re just totally cranked on the most powerful brain chemicals available.
All the good stuff, like oxytocin— the also known as the love molecule, gets released into the system. While you’re in that heady period, your judgment is impaired, in a powerful way.
You can’t stop picturing your future with your new lover. Maybe you’re going to surprise him on his birthday with a trip to New York, or swim in the ocean together, or whatever.
His name flows from your lips in every conversation you have, regardless of whether you’re talking about him. You imagine walking down the aisle together, saying “I do” and then slipping on a ring.
But, to extend the highness metaphor, you should enjoy this period of intoxication, but you should also be mindful that you’re not doing anything stupid. At present, you have a wildly distorted picture of your new partner. You’re seeing all the best parts of him, and you’re not irritated by any of his sh-t yet, or getting tired of sex, and, last and most important, you haven’t gone through your first fight.
This is not to say that you’re on the verge of a major change in your relationship. You just haven’t yet seen the real person underneath the masking glow of new love.
Don’t you want to see all of him before deciding to make any major moves?
This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. Colin was made for me, I thought. Like, I was pretty sure he would save my life, and he had the same feeling about me.
We were completely different, but we complemented each other very well. He was a put-together professional with an amazing career, and I was turned on by how sharp and ruthless he was. I was a sloppy, scatterbrained office worker, and he liked me for all of the odd things I said, and my sensitivity, for some reason.
Immediately, we functioned like we were married. He introduced me to his mom two weeks in, and told her I was the man she’d finally been waiting for—while I was there, at the dinner table, in front of him.
In turn, I spent lots of money (I didn’t have) on random gifts for him. We were completely inseparable, absolutely devoted, and totally convinced that we would remain an item forever.
Except it didn’t turn out that way.
While our differences made us fascinated by each other, they also created real problems — I found his non-stop work schedule oppressive, and he didn’t like the fact that I was pretty much broke.
Also, when the rush of our initial romance started to fade, our conversations started to become less interesting – to the point we eventually became bored.
And when we finally split up, it was hard. I was relieved, but also upset that I had invested so much, so quickly, in what turned out to be sort of a sham relationship.
And, since I had told all of my friends Colin was “The One”, I had to break the news, to about 25 people, that my fairytale relationship had come to a halt.
Please understand I don’t want your relationship doesn’t go the same way. It is my sincere hope that you stay in love forever, that you build happy lives together and do the things loving couples do.
However, you should be prepared that it may not work out this way. Caution is in order.
So, how do you have this discussion? The most important thing, as in all truthful conversations, is that you be transparent.
When you tell him that you want to take things slow, you have to make it clear that this isn’t because you don’t want to date him anymore or because you are dissatisfied with the relationship.
And you should spend as much time listening as talking. Perhaps he holds some of the same worries you do?
Ask him about why he thinks things are moving so fast, and whether you can both reach a place of compromise? If done properly, the conversation could may bring you closer together – and bode well for the future.
Need some dating help? Email Jack, the Gay Dating Coach at: [email protected]