How to tell your partner the relationship is moving too fast, according to experts
If you think your relationship is moving too fast, you’ll want to let your partner know ASAP to begin figuring out why you aren’t seeing eye to eye. Yes, it can be an awkward and uncomfortable topic to bring up, but it’s much better than getting swept up in a situation that doesn’t feel right.
If your partner seems to be speeding things along, chances are they’ve been making big plans for the future, even though you’ve seemingly only just met. Maybe they’ve been talking about renting an apartment together, meeting your family, or are simply labeling the relationship a bit too soon—and making you incredibly uncomfortable as a result.
Of course, you can give it time and see if the pace evens out. People do, after all, tend to get excited in the early stages of a relationship, and the two of you may need to find your footing as a couple.
But if that’s not the case, don’t hesitate to speak up. If you’d like to slow down, continue to date, and see where things go, here are a few ways to talk to your partner about it so that you can both be happy.
Find the perfect time to chat
The best place to start is by finding a time to chat. And since it has the potential to be a serious discussion, this may even warrant carving out face to face time over Skype or FaceTime, Tyler James Hassan, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor, tells HelloGiggles. You won’t, for instance, want to send a quick text while you’re on your lunch break, he says, or text them right before going to bed.
Instead, ask your partner when they might be able to chat. This will show them how seriously you feel about the situation, while also giving yourself time to plan what you’d like to say and how you’d like to say it. The conversation will be fairer this way, as well, since you’ll both get to share how you feel.
Be honest, but tactful
While it may be tempting, try not to sugarcoat the situation. Instead, “be direct about your experience/needs,” Hassan says. If you’re not ready to talk about apartment hunting, say so. If you’d like to continue hanging out casually instead of going to big family dinners, let it be known.
If you’re not being honest about how you feel, your partner will either argue it, brush it off, or refuse to make changes. Honesty is the best policy in this situation, however awkward it may be. And it will result in a more constructive conversation.
Use “I” statements
Instead of saying things like, “You’re moving too fast,” or “You’re talking about the future too much,” try to avoid pointing fingers.
“Say explicitly […] that you feel the relationship is moving too quickly,” Hassan says, “because someone else might have no problem with the pace they’re setting. To say, for example, ‘You’re moving too fast’ might register as invalidating or shaming.”
Keep the focus on yourself and what you want, but also leave room to hear their side of the story. Ask questions, Hassan says, and find out how they’ve been liking the speed of the relationship so far. “This shows you’re not blaming or shaming but merely have a different experience and, perhaps, different intimacy needs,” he says.
Communicate what you want the future of your relationship to look like
If you’d both like to continue the relationship, end the convo by looking for ways to get on (and stay on) the same page.
“Be vulnerable about your own concerns and communicate them accordingly,” Dr. Ramani Durvasula—a licensed psychologist, professor, and author—says. You might say something along the lines of, “I am a person who is so deliberate and takes my time making big decisions, so I want to make sure we pace ourselves in a way that feels right.”
Lay it all out on the table and share exactly how you’d like the relationship to unfold. There will, of course, be times when you’ll both need to compromise. But by talking it out, it’ll be easier to find ways to meet in the middle. The fact that you had this conversation will mean there’s a better shot at creating a healthy relationship going forward.
“Rushing on the front end will be the first of many times in this relationship that your needs and boundaries will not be honored,” Dr. Durvasula says. If you aren’t communicating effectively from the get-go, problems will only get worse from there. So use this as motivation to speak your mind about what you want the next stage of your relationship to look like.
Be understanding if this doesn’t align with your partner’s needs
Do, however, brace yourself for your partner not liking this news, and possibly even calling things off. One of you may realize it just isn’t meant to be, and that’s okay. The conversation will be a tough one, but it’s important to have it sooner rather than later so that you and your partner can begin creating a relationship that feels right for everyone involved.