Why Does The Woman I’m Seeing Want to “Take It Slow”?

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I’m in my mid 30’s and she is in her early 30’s. I’ve been dating her for three months now (about 12-13 dates) and everything seems to be going well. A couple of weeks ago she asked me about my feelings, what am I feeling. Well, I told her that I like her a lot…that I’m crazy for her. She told me she feels the same way, but wants to take it slow. She mentioned that the last time she felt this sort of passion she got hurt. 

Ok, I said I understand and we can take it slow and I certainly don’t want to do anything that’s going to make you uncomfortable. I should say that we do "make out" but no intercourse. I have no problem waiting until she is ready for sex, but I would feel much better about it if we were exclusive. Neither of us have brought it up and seeing how it’s only been a few months, I don’t want push her away with the "are we exclusive" topic.

Is there something more to her statement of wanting to take it slow?

Thanks!

Brian

Dear Brian,

One of my clients had the same exact issue going on during his burgeoning relationship. He’s 22 and he’d been on about 6-7 dates without any physical intimacy or exclusivity. And although he, too, is crazy about this girl, he couldn’t help but wonder where things were going.

My instincts told me that he was a victim of "nice guy" syndrome. By being so worried that a woman won’t like him, or that he might upset her if he makes a move, he passively plays the friend card and kills all hope of attraction. I encouraged my client to not be afraid of making a move physically, and, if his date doesn’t reciprocate, sit her down for a heart to heart.

Heart to heart discussions, to me, REVEAL feelings, they don’t DICTATE feelings. Which is why having the conversation won’t change how someone feels about you it’ll just let you know the cold, hard, truth. I wrote about this extensively for Match.com’s Happen Magazine last year. As long as you’re reasonable and not attacking, you’re just gonna get your answer by being direct. Most people are way too afraid to do this. Not my client.

Heart to heart discussions, to me, REVEAL feelings, they don’t DICTATE feelings. 

He took my advice after she declined to go "any further" than making out… Here’s the recap of their heart-to-heart in which he talked about how he needed clarity on their relationship:…

The conversation kind of naturally went towards past relationships, and she told me how she has a history of rushing into things. (Her last boyfriend she moved in with after two months!)  Anyway, I get into the whole bit about how I needed to know where this was going, and we talked for a while about why we hadn’t had sex yet and why she felt like we didn’t know each other. She agreed that she was taking it really slow, but it’s because she didn’t want to repeat her mistakes of the past. I brought up that what I needed right now was clarity and security, and we talked for a bit about what it meant to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

Long story short, she was asking me why I wanted to be her boyfriend.  I finally figured out that what she needed to know was why I was choosing her instead of any of the millions of girls in the city. To be honest, I had assumed she knew why she was special to me at this point. Maybe she just needed to hear it. And she told me how she really liked me and wanted to be my girlfriend.

I think it’s only a small matter of time before we have sex, because she told me that she only needed to feel secure in her relationship and that it would last before she would have sex. Basically, she didn’t want to have sex unless she knew things were going to be around for a while. But she is "like a 12-year old boy" (her words) when it comes to sex and I can tell she is really holding herself back. She said the reason why we couldn’t go any further than making out was because she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from going all the way.

We connected a lot more emotionally tonight than on any previous date!

I made a big effort to come off as caring and empathetic all night (basically act like a boyfriend and so shall you be).

Thanks for all your help, Evan! The profile writing and picture taking let me see myself in a whole new light. It gave me the confidence I needed to get the girl that I deserved. And your advice on the phone has always been spot-on. Thanks again for your priceless advice, I couldn’t be happier!

Seth

I’ll be honest with you, Brian this note surprised me. I really thought that this girl was just using him for companionship trying on the nice guy for size until she met someone she liked better. Thankfully, he struck just the right tone in his heart-to-heart where he learned that this was not the case. It’s not that she’s not attracted to him; it’s that she’s risk-averse.

You can make all the excuses in the world about "taking it slow", but people who are excited about each other rarely take it slow.

Still, I want to caution men out there with the same exact advice I’d give to women if a woman is not sleeping with you, if a woman is not committing to you, if a woman is not making an effort for you, the odds are that she is just not that into you. You can make all the excuses in the world about "taking it slow", but people who are excited about each other rarely take it slow.

I’d let her know how you feel ASAP. You’d like to move things along physically, but are willing to respect her wishes, as long as you know that you’re in an exclusive relationship. And if she can’t make that promise to you, then you’re going to have to think long and hard as to whether you want to commit to someone who is so decidedly indifferent towards you. 

Do this and you’ll know where you stand soon enough. 

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Comments:

  1. 101
    Widowed

    it is possible she is afraid to get pregnant. Was she raised in a religious home? A friend of mine did not have sex with his now wife until they married. She was honoring her religion.

  2. 102
    Morpheus

    Don’t fall for that nonsense. Take it slow is code for ”Ive never taken anything slowly until I met you cos you’re such a darned nice guy but you don’t get me excited at all. You might make a good stable boring partner though hmm”.

  3. 103
    Jess

    12 or 13 dates. oh no. you poor fool. stop jerking off and grow a pair and start dating other women. All your security stuff sounds like you are a puppy dog.

  4. 104
    Adam

    Watch! Her saying about “taking it slow” might mean something else.

    She might also be dating/seeing someone else she is more interested in(most likely a walking money bag), giving him an advantage to fall for her and then turn and tell you about “let’s just be friends”

    Some of the signs to look for in this, is if she never calls you/never answers/never returns your calls,

    another sign is by not bothering with talking to her for a while whether in person or calling her and see if she makes any effort to let you know she misses you.   If she doesn’t; it’s time to move on!

  5. 105
    Nissa

    There are some distinctions here that I’m quite surprised were not discussed. Evan makes the point that a woman who is not sleeping with you, who is not committing to you and who is not making effort is not that into you. I can agree with that.

    However, it doesn’t address something else. The poster said he wanted clarity and security. I was very surprised he didn’t just ask for it. Surprised he didn’t express it verbally (I really like X about you – I enjoy spending time with you – the more I know you the better I like you). If the woman felt the same, she would then reciprocate (and could do so without becoming the aggressor as could occur if she makes these statements first). As a woman, if I did not hear those things from a man, I would assume he it was because he wasn’t feeling those things. Also, if the woman is saying yes to spending time together, yes to being exclusive,   verbally confirming her reciprocity of feeling- those things are tantamount to her making effort.

    So while all three together would mean SJNTIY, one out of three would not.

    In the poster’s case, it seems that he failed to ask the woman to be exclusive with him. This then puts him outside of Evan’s criteria. The girlfriend did not reject him, the poster failed to ask. By itself, that easily accounts for her seeming lack of interest…he was not establishing a precedent for her to reciprocate. She may well have been trusting the OP to follow his own timeline of when exclusivity felt right for him, instead of imposing her own timeline. That seems like a good thing to me.

    Contrast that with a another scenario. The man asks, and the woman says yes to dates, to time together, to exclusivity, but no to sex .  If she  explains  that  while she very much likes & desires him personally, and is willing to be exclusive, is willing to make effort that mirrors the man in intensity, that sex is not part of her courtship process for an indefinite period. To me, this woman is still “very much into that man” as he seems to be, yet is allowing for the fact that it will take time and relationship to really get to know him. Would that limit this woman’s dating pool? Quite likely. But that might seem like the lesser evil to her, than getting carried away by one’s passion and making more of the relationship than it really is (as many of us have done).

    FWIW, when I met the man I married, it took about five minutes to recognize that  given minimal encouragement, I  could really be into him. However, I think it was about 9 months before I slept with him. Not because I had no desire, or because I was  interested in anyone  other than him. I think it just took that long for me to know that he wasn’t just passing time or just interested in sex….he was interested in ME, and spending his life with me. Even if the relationship had not resulted in marriage, I think I would still have been content with how much of myself I invested. And to be honest, the sex might have happened far sooner had my husband invested himself sooner.

  6. 106
    jelizasch

    First of all, I don’t think that you can put everybody in the same box nor can you determine another person’s intentions without talking to them. Some women (and men) may be dealing with mistrust or fear of getting hurt, but others might have different reasons.   Second, taking it slow is not necessarily code for “I’m not that into you”.   In fact, it’s quite the opposite for me (and taking it slow is not easy when you are into someone).   I want to take it slow because I see a possible future with someone and I believe that physical intimacy should develop WITH emotional intimacy…as you get to know each other and feelings grow, so should physical affection.       Passion and physical intimacy are both extremely important to me in a relationship and I am certainly not taking it slow because I am insecure.   I do, however, want to be in love with someone that I’m sleeping with and not have just met him three weeks prior on a blind date. Being that vulnerable and open physically with someone when you haven’t exposed what’s at the heart of who you are as a person seem out of balance to me.   Ultimately, I take things slow because I want something more.   I’m not looking for a relationship that lasts for six months or a year and fizzles out because we realize the sex was great but we really aren’t that into eachother.   I’m looking for a a strong, long lasting relationship built on mutual respect, common interests, and…when the time is right…great sex.   My advice if you are wondering what the deal is with your girl?   Ask her.

  7. 107
    Jose Duarte

    Men and women do not speak the same language.

    Women

    Take it slow= I want to string you and 10 other guys along while I look for the man with the most money.

    Men

    Take it slow= there’s something wrong with the front axle.   We need to take it slow until I can get to my friend’s house to fix it.

    Crisis averted.   Men, keep your cash in your wallet and your Trojans in your pocket.

  8. 108
    Victoria Zabaras

    All you guys wanting fast sex are narcissistic selfish pigs who need to go live with each other and each other‘s selfish grabby manipulations. You are well on the inside and sucking up women’s lives and emotional health, damaging them for the purpose of feeling bigger than you are. My advice to the women: If a guy wants fast sex try to screw him over royally because that‘s all he wants to do to you.

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