Home Dating & Relationships Dating “I need you to slow down.” How do you tell someone this without hurting their feelings?

“I need you to slow down.” How do you tell someone this without hurting their feelings?


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The early stages of a relationship, situation, courtship or just casual dating are easy.  It’s easy right up until the point where you say to yourself that you would like to see the person again.  But what happens is we all meet at different stages of our lives.  OK, take, for example, college; when you graduate college, you are a new college graduate and all of your peers are also new college graduates and looking forward to the future.  Well, as it pertains to dating, we don’t meet at the same time, we meet at spontaneous instances in time.  I could be just exiting out of a relationship, I could have be coming out of my “I’m taking some time to myself” stage, I could be in a relationship, I could be on the way out of a relationship, I could be focused on things outside of relationships, I could be evaluating whether the person I’ve been dating for sometime is really a lady I’d like to wife down and if I need to slow down, etc. etc. etc.

So what happens if we meet at these two different points?

me: I’ve been in some bad situations lately, and right now, I just need to date a little bit, try that out for a while and see what happens.
she: I’m ready to be in a relationship.  I’ve met this guy named, Dr. J who I think is the perfect guy for me.

I put my head in my hands and I say, “Sh*t.”  (And that’s a quick “sh*t” not a long drawn out “sh*t”, spelled like, “Sheeeeeeeit.”  That spelling is reserved for when someone does something ridiculous.)  You know what people do when they really like somebody?  They want to see the person they really like, ALL THE TIME.  They think about the person, ALL THE TIME.  And if you are that person and you don’t feel the same way, you can bet your ass you better spend some time figuring out what the hell you’re going to do about it.  Because all of a sudden, you are running the risk of being labeled, Grimy.  (This is almost the equivalent as the word, Ho.  It can be used in the most arbitrary ways.)

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So let’s be honest, I’ll tell you what goes through a man’s head.  I’m breaking the man by-laws.  (Not to be confused with the man laws or man code.)

I have a few options when you can tell someone to slow down without hurting them:

1) I can just make up random excuses about why I’m busy, but I’m really into her.

2) I can just go along with it, I just hope that later on my feelings start to catch up and I want to be around her all the time.  (I am allowed to b*tch to my boys all the time about how the chick wants to hang out all the time and I just want to watch the freaking game!) In this case, you will just avoid if you get asked a question like “what are we?”.

3) I can tell her to slow down.  (Eeeeeek!)

But no one likes rejection, and undoubtedly that’s the way they will take it.  When you told them to slow down, you really don’t mean it in a bad way, more like… I like you, but I just want to take my time getting to the point where I see you more than once a week, or once every two weeks.  Maybe I’m still evaluating options, which means you still have a shot at being the option selected, but I HAVE TO SPEND SOME TIME TO MYSELF and figure out what I want to do.  (And maybe while I’m trying to figure that out, I’m dating other women, but cheese and rice, how else will I be sure that I want to be with you?)

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In my personal opinion, most people will pick option #1, because it’s the best shot at keeping the person around.  But it’s not the best option by any means for the future of the relationship.  It’s like forcing a person into a corner and making them make a rash decision.  But real talk, can I say, “I need you to slow down” and she not jump to a conclusion and say “he’s not that into me and I need to go find someone else who is”?  And maybe I need to explain myself a little better and that will help.  But I’m starting to think that a guy or girl saying, “I think we need to slow down” or “Maybe we should take a step back” is the equivalent of “We need to talk” it just causes rash decisions and actions to be made.

Tell me somebody out there feels me.

– Dr. J

Also, read on an interesting post – Twitter Doesn’t Offer Any Benefits To Relationships


  1. Great blog! I've found myself in this situatuion, where I'm telling a dude to slow down, several times since I moved to Dallas. They will take it as rejection because you're not on the same page they feel you should be on. None of the guys that I told 'I just want to see what happens… No promises.' liked that statement. Whether they felt the same or not, I wasn't supposed to feel like that in their eyes. But all the texting throughout the day, seeing each other EVERY weekend felt more like obligation than something I enjoyed so I told the ones I thought could take the news how I felt. *Pfft* Jokes… And I let some fade into the night.

    I say there is nothing better than being honest. Tell the person you want to sort things out while dating them. If you want to explore other options, let that person know & don't be selfish enough to take their choice away. And understand they may use this opportunity to check out their options as well. And that's something you just take on the chin. A person can't expect to tell somebody to slow down and keep everything how it was. It doesn't work like that.

  2. thats where l'm stuck too. asked a guy if i can be his girlfriend (mostly as a joke, i expected a rejection n my feelings wasn't hurt) and he said somethin along the lines of………..

    whaaaa? um, your wonderful (i'm assuming he was tallkin bout the sex cuz he talks bout mostly himself) but i'm not ready. Its not u it's me…..

    that is after askin if i was serious. i was surprised and confused cuz i woulda said flat out..I JUST EFFIN MET YOU!!.hell na your crazy!

    ….Is he sayin what he means and i just needed to pump my breaks n give him time? or is he just playin me and silently labeled me as …THE PSYCHO TO AVOID …. this was an experiment (that failed horribly because my hypothesis is now wrong) that has left me confused. I like him…but where is he at? figuring out if im givin him space to consider it OR is he hoping in the time apart i'll get the hint and kick rocks? I really would rather a person be blunt rather than try to spare my feelings. seriously it's a waste of time stringing people along!

  3. @goldensugarplum: Don't take this the wrong way, but that's why you should never "test" anyone. If you want to know something, just ask, b/c when you try to "test" someone, it usually fails. I would say chill out and don't focus so much on one guy, go on dates with other people (I'm not advocating sleeping with them), then you won't be so worried about what he thinks about you. Or you can just ask him, but he may not give you a straightforward answer.

    @Goddess KLS: “A person can’t expect to tell somebody to slow down and keep everything how it was. It doesn’t work like that.” –Exactly.

    You have to be honest b/c when you go with option 1 that can lead to a lot of drama. I had to tell one of my guy friends this recently. He couldn’t understand why he had all this drama with women,ie, women showing up to his house and hangout spots unannounced bc he had been dodging their phone calls, getting cussed out constantly and all sorts of drama. He consistently would follow option 1 on your list and even though he does not fully commit himself or his time, he sleeps with these women every once in a while and pretty much leads them on.

    If you don’t want drama, tell the truth. The person may be upset or decide not to be bothered with you at all, but that is a better risk to take than messing with someone’s feelings.

  4. When I was younger, telling someone to slowdown was pie in the face. I found a lot of women so sensitive and saw that they over thought about it so much I might as well have said "f*ck off!"

    Now that I'm more confident and mature, I have no problems saying "pump yer brakes and cool your pipes." I actually think it garners more respect. I will admit though…there was someone who was all on the ole CPT's snacks and they were being too pushy. I have had trouble saying "look, you're cool but you're not my type." Lawd…don't tell them they aren't your type! The dialog that takes place after that is never that pleasant, but if she's a good sport she'll at least hook you with friends. Honesty is good but use caution…some folks can't handle the truth.

  5. I think the real talk needs to happen. But if someone needs to make a rash decision based on that real talk, that's alright, too. Slowing down may be on her agenda but not his. And it's his prerogative to find an agenda that matches his own.

  6. I agree with all y'all points. Especially from the female perspective. I just feel like sometimes for guys, once a woman finds a good man, they are more persistent than the can i get your number dude from madtv?

    real talk, that's why us nice guys have to be such assholes.

  7. real story: This guy in college told me he just wanted to fu**, that he just got out of a relationship. At first I was appalled… but then reflecting on it later, he never lied & tried to woo me to get the draws, he was upfront about it, and till this day, I still appreciate that. I never got all emotional over him because I knew where he stood…

    That's real

  8. Bottom line is, females need to stop getting ahead of themselves. I'm not saying all females do(and yes I'm a female), but it's rare that a guy is head over heels off top, unless he's just plain creepy.

    People just need to learn to go with the flow of things and let things naturally happen. Sad part is, when you throw sex in the mix it clouds a woman's judgement, has her thinking it's deeper than it is. I know a lot of my friends are quick to be like "omg he's the one" after like a month or so, and then umm 2 months later, he's out of the picture. People just need to learn to take it slow, and if you jump in there and start having sex in the beginning take it as just that, don't try to make more out of it because sex is involved. Be the cool chick, relax, don't smother a guy and don't force someone into a pseudo relationship.

  9. "if you jump in there and start having sex in the beginning take it as just that, don’t try to make more out of it because sex is involved. Be the cool chick, relax, don’t smother a guy and don’t force someone into a pseudo relationship."

    *Round of applause*

  10. For me it is a matter of knowing what you are going after from the beginning and checking in every now and then to make sure you're on the same page. Sure you like the person, but you don't want to be tied down to someone and be resentful later nor do you want to be resentful to the other person because you think they are just leading them on. If it is anything I learned from my brother's relationships and him is you have to know what you are getting yourself into.

  11. @CPT Callamity gunshots for me? I've always dreamed of this day lmao

    @Dr.J lmao I love the slow clap hilarious

    Seriously though, ppl take my advice just let things build naturally. Find some hobbies, get some friends, and give ppl space, nothing will drive away a man more than someone smothering him.

  12. I think the problem women (myself included) have with the "slow down," "I'm really into you, but I'm just not ready" comments is the ambiguity. I really don't like gray areas, so I naturally assume that "he's just not that into me." I understand you guys' points, and I agree, but isn't a guy who says "I'm not ready" just saying, "I like you, but not enough to date you exclusively right now?"

    @Goddess KLS–I agree, I don't think it's fair for a guy who says he isn't ready to expect that the girl won't find someone who is…

    But yeah, just like Sunyblack said, we women have to stop getting ahead of ourselves, and bring our emotions in line with REALITY.

  13. @Sunyblack
    Bustin buckshots from my agreement gun! Take a bow.

    The easy advice is to stop over-analyzing the situation. We men know when you all do because we'll just be minding our business and you all come up with that "we need to talk" ish. The butterflies in my stomach don't stop after that…I usually prepare for a long and arduous conversation after that.

  14. I agree with Diva, as long as the guy is upfront I'm cool. As long as I know where the guy stands in the relationship, he won't have to tell me to slow down or vice versa. Good communication at the beginning of the whole relationship will prevent a lot of confusion and heartache later on.

  15. @ Sheena – Gray is a beautiful color though. I think forcing someone into Black or White is dangerous.

    @ Nicole – What if he lies to you?

  16. Great post, going through the same thing. He just got out of a relationship and I haven't been in one in 2 years. But I'm actually ok with him wanting to go slow and not jump into a relationship because what I am learning is that why get into a relationship just off of "I like you". There needs to be more than that. So I'm so cool with getting to know him and feel him out because in the end he may not be good for me or I may not be good for him. So I am sitting my happy tail down lol and getting to know this dude. But I appreciate his honesty and I am in a place in my life that a man saying that he isn't ready, doesn't upset me or make me feel rejected.

  17. @ I Agree with Sheena. She said it all. I say call it wrap. Deep down he/she is not stupid. Most likely, they already think you are grimey. I experience this most with ppl who want to be gray, who want alot of S.O things without S.O dedication and commitment.(best example..they want goodies, but do not want to atleast commit to just your goodies. ) perhaps another sbm topic..??? ill suggest it…

    In short, making someone go to your pace and mood aint really fair. Timing is everything. Grown ppl understand that, and if its really early in the relationship the better it is to call it a wrap.

  18. @ DrJ
    I never really thought of that. I hope he wouldn't lie, but if he does then the truth would come out eventually.

  19. Hey Fam,

    It's been awhile since I've posted a comment, but I've been reading all the posts; however this blog is just that hot that I had to drop a couple of lines. See this here is exactly where I am in my current situation. I've gotten to the point, where I am ready to open up to another individual and he seems to have all of the characteristics and codes that I value. However, I don't know what the hell we are. I want that meaningful relationship with that and dude has just signed his divorce papers, so he says he needs me to be patient. The problem that I'm having in slowing down is he's sending so many mixed signals. One day we're chilling, the next he wants to develop something with me, then in another convo, he considers the situation to be more than friends. Ahhhh I'm like dude, make up your mind, you're all over the place!!!!!

  20. I'm dealing with this right now. Have been dating a lot right now, although I really don't want to get serious at the moment because a lot of other stressful things are going on in my life. There is another guy I really like who was really persistent and then he lost his job and is in a major funk. I am letting him have the space he needs, although he does call and text once in a while. I'd like to see him but the timing is bad. Sucks because we had awesome chemistry and it was mutual. But I digress, the newer guy and I had a really nice date but we have only been on one date and he acts like I'm the one!! He calls and texts all the time and although I'm out of town taking care of some business is asking me when he can see me again. I don't even know when I'll be back. I already feel pressured. The truth is, the first guy was chasing me and I was rather nonchalant. Now he's stopped somewhat and it make me want him more. This new guy leaves no mystery at all about how he feels. If he started to back off then I'd probably be more interested. Stupid but that's how it is.

  21. Ever been in a situation.. where you've fallen for your best friend? me and this guy have been friends for years.. and well, he's allways been there for me, through everything. And recently we decided to start dating, and this week was friggin fantastic.. but today he tells me we need to slow way down.. how do I just cut off all these feelings?

  22. I have really enjoyed reading EVERYONE'S comments all of you guys and ladies speak with such passion that I had to send a reply. Honesty is always BEST!!!! We women just have to learn to take it as it comes, because truth be told…Guys lie to obtain the prize.

    It's sad that some, NOT all guys do this, but the vast majority of them do. LMAO!

    Word to the Game Ladies: Stay one step ahead!!!!!!

    Meaning when he say "Take It Slow" "Pump Breaks" or what eva (SMILE) you are like Okay Imma Holla.

    It will confuse the Hell out of him. LOL!

    Next thing you know he will be blowing you up. That's when you know you havee won and you decide to entertain or not.


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