What A Guy Means When He Says He Wants To “Take Things Slow”

When a guy tells you he wants to “take things slow,” it can make you question everything. Is he not into you? Is he lying? Is he romantic? It can drive you crazy, but before you go completely nuts, consider the fact that there are actually a bunch of things that this phrase can mean, and they’re not all bad. Here’s why he may want to pump the breaks.

  1. He wants to connect. Sure, you connect physically and the chemistry between you is dangerous, but he wants more than sex. He wants to see that you really connect on a deeper level and for that, he’ll have to get to know you better.
  2. He’s not sure. Okay, so maybe he’s honestly not sure if you guys click. It’s only been two or three dates and he doesn’t want to rush ahead without being 100% certain. The thing about this is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Taking it slow gives you a chance to figure things out yourself.
  3. He wants to change. Maybe he used to rush into all his previous relationships and he got seriously burned or just ended up with toxic relationships that wasted his life, so now he wants to change. He wants to take his time and try doing things in a different way. Not necessarily a bad thing! It shows that he wants to make things work with you so he’s willing to treat dating in a different, hopefully better way.
  4. He’s scared of missing those red flags. You can’t spot those red flags in the person you’re dating if you’re rushing ahead and jumping into a whirlwind romance. Take a breather! The guy’s smart for wanting to take his foot off the accelerator in this case. Again, it benefits you too. You’ve got to watch out for those red flags because they can be pretty subtle in the beginning.
  5. He wants to be friends. Double yikes. Okay, so maybe he actually doesn’t want anything romantic and slowing down helps him to make the transition into a friendship. Vom. You’ll be able to tell by how he treats you, but hopefully he’ll make it clear he just wants to be friends so you don’t end up chasing hope that things can be different.
  6. He’s fading you out. A guy who’s not man enough to tell you what he really wants might tell you that he’s keen to take things slow when he’s actually just trying to slowly fade you out. You’ll know soon enough, like how he goes AWOL.
  7. He’s still hooking up with his ex. This is another dodgy thing that could be happening when he says he wants to take things slow, and you might suspect it if he’s never available and seems to mention his ex a lot. Maybe he’s not completely over her or he’s still running to her whenever he misses her or gets nostalgic about the past. Next!
  8. He’s afraid of love. He might be freaked out about catching feelings for you, which is why he seems to take a step forward and then three steps back. It’s a dance that can be super frustrating, so he’s got to get his act together or else he’ll lose you.
  9. He doesn’t want to get hurt. Maybe he’s not afraid of love per se but he’s guarding his heart. It could be because he’s just out of a stressful relationship that messed with his head and heart, so he wants to slow down. Hey, as long as he’s honest and open with you about his situation, this doesn’t have to ring the bell on your potential relationship.
  10. He wants to enjoy the moment. You really put him into a tailspin with how much of a catch you are, so he doesn’t want to rush anything. But, he also just wants to keep things as they are, and here’s where his intentions become a bit fuzzy. He might just want to keep things as they are because he doesn’t want to move onto anything more serious with you. It’s worth checking out his behavior to give you the answers you need. If he never wants to move forward, like by saying he likes having fun with you, that’s a bad sign you’re wasting your time and not having fun.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.