How to Navigate Pacing in a New Dating Relationship

Anyone being in a new dating relationship can relate to the sense of urgency that builds up when you share a strong attraction. However, some dating experts believe that doing anything other than taking it slow is the fast route to heartbreak. How do you navigate pacing in a relationship? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of “slow pacing” your way into a new love.

The Benefits of Taking a Slow Pace in a New Relationship

Taking a slow pace shouldn’t be confused with “playing hard to get” or acting disinterested. In truth, there’s no room for games if you’re pursuing an authentic relationship built on mutual respect and attraction. Taking a slow-paced approach instead focuses on taking careful, appropriate steps forward while truthfully acknowledging your interest and attraction. Here’s a look at how chasing love in the slow lane instead of taking a pedal-to-the-metal approach benefits a new relationship.

Getting to Know Each Other

A slow pace allows you to make sure you’re falling in love with a person instead of an ideal. When you ease into a relationship, you get to genuinely get to know the other person beyond the initial infatuation phase. How do this person’s values align with mine? Does this person’s career path conflict with my own plans for the next two to five years? Are our hobbies, interests, and passions compatible? Are our plans for children and family life the same? When we skip too far ahead of these questions, we set ourselves up for arguments over major life choices that should have already been discussed before making a full emotional commitment.

Building a Strong Foundation

A slow pace can help you to build a strong foundation that rests on friendship, trust, understanding, and mutual respect. When we take time to bond before leaping into a passionate commitment, we get the opportunity to discover the character of the other person. Taking it slow also prolongs the “courtship” period that allows the other person to remain somewhat mysterious to us. When we skip this period, we risk missing out on an opportunity to savor early romance.

Avoiding Potential Pitfalls

Strong attraction can make us more likely to ignore red flags. It’s easy to ignore potential pitfalls when we first meet someone because we don’t have much context. The feedback we need from interactions with friends, family, or colleagues just isn’t there yet. We may take stories about exes as the “gospel truth” instead of spotting red flags in accounts about past relationships. We also haven’t been in enough situations with a person to see them react to different stressors.

The Challenges of Taking a Slow Pace in a New Relationship

The choice to go slow doesn’t mean your new relationship will be free of problems. Putting the brakes on your pace can come with its own conflicts. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to ease into things with a new partner.


It can be very easy for one partner to mistake pacing for disinterest. This can lead to feelings of rejection and disappointment. When taking a slow pace, it’s important to be clear that your hesitancy to rush into things isn’t stemming from a lack of interest. In fact, you should let the other person know that your desire to slow things stems from the fact that you want to give the new relationship the best chance possible.

External Pressures

We often go “all in” too quickly because we feel pressure from friends, family, or society to be in a relationship. People around us may tell us that we’re not being “open to love” just because we are putting up healthy boundaries. There is also an ongoing pressure to put a label on relationships as early as possible. While there’s no way to control the reactions of others, we can simply make the decision to trust our own pace instead of reacting to the expectations of others.