When dating, the way in which the relationship is paced can vary depending on various factors such as the comfort level of the individual and what the ultimate relationship goals are. Sometimes a person will flat out declare, “I want to take things slow.” I think this can be interpreted in one of many ways and there is not exactly one definitive answer as to what this means. There are certain instances it is apparent the reasoning while other times, you just need to be patient to better understand the other person’s point of view, especially if there is not much clarity to back it up.
Not Fully Out of Last Relationship – If there are any loose ends from their last relationship or a person has not mentally recovered from the outcome of their last relationship, it can be expected that the person will want to move at a slower pace before getting too deep into the next relationship they pursue.
Fear of Commitment – Not everyone is able to fully commit to someone or are in a place in their life where they want that at the present moment. Typically if someone is not interested in a commitment, it is just easier to say they ‘want to take it slow’ than to completely spell out their true intentions–especially if this puts them at risk that the other person won’t want to stay unless there is a commitment. Keep in mind, if the reason stems from a fear of commitment or simply not wanting to commit to you, the person might never be ready or it could take an extended period of time.
Not Wanting to Be Vulnerable – It can take certain people a very long time to open up to another person. In addition, some prefer to protect their feelings out of the fear of getting rejected or abandoned in the long run. So rather than emotionally connecting to the person they are dating, to protect oneself from potentially getting hurt, the person will tend to be more guarded when proceeding with any relationship.
Multiple Options – When someone has multiple options, there is no need to really progress any of their personal relationships on a fast track because they want to compare all of their options and see which person is the best match out of all the options on hand. They might also enjoy dating multiple people or not be looking for anything serious in which none of their options will end up turning into serious leads.
Setting Boundaries – It is important to set boundaries in any relationship and sometimes this is said to do exactly that. By making this statement, it signifies to the other person to not ask for too much too soon while also putting a slight psychological wall up. It might just take some time for them to feel comfortable around you and for their boundaries to slowly come down.
Moving Too Fast Too Soon – Maybe the style in which the relationship started moved at a much quicker pace than they were ready for or perhaps their previous relationship moved too fast in which they are more consciously aware that they want to slow things down and pump the brakes a little bit.
Interest Level is Uncertain – If someone is unsure where they stand with their feelings towards someone, it makes sense to want to take things slow. It does not mean the person does not like you, their level of interest just might not have reached an intense level where they are 100% all in. Attraction is not always an instant spark but often times can be a slow build between two people which could very well have started out as friends and potentially lead into something deeper over time.
Very Focused on Career/Goals – People who are extremely focused on their careers, school, and other life goals typically do not prioritize their personal relationships. This is not to say they do not have an interest in pursuing one, it just means the person has many obligations which can prevent them from giving as much as they can within a relationship so it is to their advantage “to take things slow” so they can still stay focused on their goals while exploring the idea of building a new relationship.
One Day at a Time Approach – Some people approach just about all their relationships and many other areas of their lives on a day-by-day basis. There is nothing wrong with that as some people just need more time before really transitioning the relationship into a more serious one. This is the play it safe route and applies to someone who pursues most things with caution and mindfulness.
There are many reasons why people may want to take things at a slower rate which might feel like a negative thing initially but it does not necessarily have to translate this way. It really comes down to the personality, past relationship experience, life goals, dating preferences, and other individual factors that can dictate the pace in which they want their relationship to unfold. Some people like to move at a slower rate while others move more quickly but at the end of the day, you need to be respectful towards the needs of the other person while also keeping in mind what you are truly looking for. If you find things are not progressing at the rate you feel comfortable with, you can choose to be patient or to move on altogether.