When a new relationship begins to blossom, it can be difficult to keep your feet on the ground.
When you meet someone and the hormones start firing, you can easily get swept up in the romance of it all and move too quickly.
Then, at some point down the line, you suddenly realize that you’re in way over your head.
Any number of things can make you realize that things are going too fast for your liking…
It might be that you’ve just taken a big step, like making it exclusive or official, meeting the parents or moving in together.
It might be that your partner has started talking about the future and including you in those hypothetical plans even though you’ve only been seeing each other for a few weeks or months.
If you’ve been caught up in a whirlwind to this point, but now feel like things are getting out of hand, you may be wondering how you can gently slow things down without doing any damage to the relationship.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.
Before we get stuck into ways to put the brakes on a relationship that’s slipping out of your control, it’s important to put your finger on what the problem really is.
You need to figure out whether things really are moving too fast for you to cope with or whether you’re just feeling the natural excitement and butterflies that are part and parcel of any new relationship and you don’t know how to deal with them.
Of course, every person and every relationship are different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all way of judging things, but these are just a couple of telling signs that your relationship really is moving too quickly for comfort.
1. You have a funny feeling deep down.
We all know that feeling. When you’re with the person that, up until that moment, has been setting your world on fire, and suddenly something they say or do gives you that odd sensation in your stomach that you then can’t shake.
To some, this means that, on a deep level, you know the person isn’t right for you.
That could be the case, but perhaps you just feel like things are getting out of your control.
The relationship might not be wrong, you just might not be quite ready for it. Yet.
2. You avoid talking about the serious stuff.
If you’re comfortable with the pace at which a relationship is moving, you should be happy to talk about ‘big’ issues and figure out exactly where you stand and where you think the two of you might, hypothetically, be going, knowing that you’re both on the same page.
If you’re less comfortable, as much as you love spending time with the object of your affections, you’ll dodge any potentially serious conversations. The words ‘we need to talk’ will strike fear into your heart.
3. There’s a lot that you don’t know about each other.
I hate to break it to you, but love at first sight just doesn’t exist.
If things seem to be getting pretty serious, but you can’t really claim to know the person you’re getting involved with, or you just haven’t known them that long, you’re probably right in thinking that things need to be taken down a notch.
You need to really get to know each other to be able to figure out whether you might be a match made in heaven, without any pressure being put on things. That can only come with time.
Tips For Putting The Brakes On Your Runaway Relationship
If any of the above rings true for you, then yes, it might be that your relationship is getting a little out of hand.
Don’t panic, though. Just because things are going too fast, doesn’t mean that it isn’t right. Love doesn’t develop overnight.
There are plenty of ways that you can slow things down to a pace you feel more comfortable with.
Some people worry that everything will fall apart if they try to take things down a gear.
But if you’re meant to be, taking things at a slightly more leisurely pace won’t do your relationship any harm. In fact, it should do it a whole world of good.
If you need to slow things down, here are a few tips that should help you reduce the speed that your relationship train is travelling at without derailing it entirely.
1. Honesty Is The Best Policy
First things first, you need to get your feelings out in the open.
You’re a grown up now, and tempting as it might be to just stick your head in the sand and avoid all tricky conversations, that won’t help matters.
You need to be clear with the other person about the way you’ve been feeling.
If you want things to carry on, make sure to reassure them of that, otherwise they might start thinking that this is your way of slowly backing out of the relationship altogether.
You never know, they might even be feeling exactly the same way as you are; they may breathe a sigh of relief when you mention that you’d like to slow things down a little.
Although it’s normal for someone to be a little doubtful if they’re told that you want to slow things down (assuming they haven’t been feeling the same way), if they really care about you and want to make things work, they should be happy to respect your decision and adapt.
Relationships tend to sneak in and fill up any free time you have.
If you don’t have any set plans or something specific to do with your evenings and weekends, you’ve got no concrete reason to say no to spending time with your partner.
Spending time with them can become your default.
The answer here is to find something that fills up those gaps in your diary.
Get some space from your relationship and do something wonderful for yourself.
Take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try, and encourage your partner to do the same. Your life will be all the richer for it and your relationship the healthier.
3. Stop Neglecting Your Friends
I don’t think anyone can categorically say that they’ve never been a bit swept up in a relationship and let their friendships slide.
Make a conscious effort to ensure that your friends are just as much of a priority as they ever were.
Whilst it’s great for your lover and your mates to bond, make sure that you also spend quality time alone with them too, like it was before your love interest came into the picture.
4. Get Away For A Weekend
Whether you go away on your own or with friends, escape somewhere for the weekend without your lover.
It’s especially important to get away on your own if you tend to be joined at the hip. Some mental space and doing something independently of each other will help remind you both that you shouldn’t be entirely co-dependent.
5. Focus On Now, Not The Future
Try to avoid talking about things that the two of you could do together next month or next year. For now, just focus on next weekend instead.
6. Be Your True Self
Often, at the beginning of a relationship, we’re strictly on our best behavior whenever we see the person who’s got our heart fluttering.
We tend to put on a bit of an act and only show the best sides of ourselves.
Try to consciously be more authentic and relaxed around them so that you can find out whether or not your true selves really compliment each other.
Don’t allow yourselves to get caught up in an unrealistic bubble.
7. Arrange Double Dates
If the time the two of you spend together one on one gets a bit intense and you want to keep things light and fun, consider going on double dates with another couple that you get on well with.
That way, you get to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company in a less pressured environment.
8. Steer Clear Of Meeting The Family
No matter how much you might play it down, there’s no getting away from the fact that meeting the parents is a big step.
If things are getting a bit out of hand, consider rescheduling that dinner you had planned.
If your partner invites you as their plus one for a wedding, have a chat with them about whether you’re sure the two of you are ready for such things.
Don’t make up excuses to get out of family obligations, as lies will always come back to haunt you.
Just make it clear that you don’t want to put that kind of pressure on your relationship yet as you don’t want to ruin things between you.
9. Don’t Go Crazy On The Texting
When you’re into someone, it can be easy to spend the whole day glued to your phone just waiting for their name to pop up on your screen.
It quickly becomes an addiction and a habit. If you’re worried about things going too quickly, consider toning down the frequency of texts a little.
Whilst I’m normally an advocate for total honesty in relationships, this is the kind of territory where a little white lie can’t hurt.
Rather than directly saying you don’t want to talk to them as much, try mentioning to your love interest that you’re trying to cut back on texting whilst at work because you’re trying to reduce your screen time.
Or tell them that you’ve made a new rule that you can’t be tapping away on your phone whilst you’re out socializing in an effort to be more present.
Not having constant contact and not knowing each other’s every move means that you’ll have more to talk about when you see each other and it gives you both space to focus on things other than each other.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.