10 signs he wants to take it slow (and 5 important reasons why)

Are you dating a new guy who seems a bit shy or reluctant to get serious?

This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no hope of something more: it’s all about understanding what’s really going on. 

There are various key reasons why a guy sometimes wants to take things slow even when he’s open to something serious with you. 

Here’s how to tell. 

10 signs he wants to take it slow (and 5 important reasons why)

1) He loves to go on dates but is hesitant about taking it to the next level

One of the top signs he wants to take it slow is that he loves to go out on dates with you, but is hesitant to be an official couple. 

You can tell he’s not just after sex or passing time, but at the same time, he doesn’t react well when you bring up getting more serious. 

The indication here is that he’s into you for real, but he doesn’t want to jump heart-first into a serious relationship. 

He wants to take things slow. 

As Kristine Fellizar notes:

“Even someone who wants to take things slow will still have regular contact with you…

“That means, they won’t disappear for days or ‘forget’ to return your texts or calls. Everyone gets busy sometimes, but that’s no excuse to completely drop off completely.”

2) His communication is honest but sometimes not fully open

When a guy is shady or trying to just use you he’ll often lie or string you along. 

But when he likes you for real and just wants to take things slow he’ll be honest and tell you the truth about what’s going on with him. 

The main difference is that you’ll notice he’s not always fully open. 

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There seems to be a part of him that’s “hidden” or behind a wall in a way. 

This can be him shutting you out in a way, but it can also be that he simply wants to take things slow and not jump in right away. 

3) He still wants freedom to date other people 

These days people have all sorts of different values and priorities in a relationship. 

But unless you want an open relationship, then chances are you’re hoping he’ll commit and be exclusive with you. 

The catch is that it has to be of his own free choice. 

And if he still wants to date other people and not get serious with you yet then it’s a sign that he wants to take things slow: it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a player. 

As Eric Charles puts it brilliantly:

“In the cases of the people that I have known who started off casually and ended up in relationships, they wanted to be sure.

“And they felt that the only way they could be was if they had total freedom and choice when they were deciding on who they wanted to be with. Exclusivity isn’t something you want to pester him about…”

4) He doesn’t like to talk about how he’s feeling very often

There’s a stereotype that men don’t like to talk about their feelings. 

I think it can be true in some situations and with many guys. 

However, if the guy you’re dating is particularly hesitant to open up about how he’s feeling it can be a sign that he wants to take things slow. 

If he doesn’t want to get too emotionally invested in the first month or two you’ve been seeing each other don’t worry:

This isn’t necessarily how it’s always going to be. It can just take some men a lot longer to warm up. 

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5) He gets uncomfortable if you talk too much about being a couple already

If you drop the C-word, a guy who wants to take it slow is going to be uncomfortable. 

There are many situations where this can come up as well:

For example, posting photos on Instagram that are very “relationship-y” or showing him in various ways that being an official item is important to you. 

Be careful, because pushing too hard here can make him break the whole thing off:

When all he really wanted was to take it slow and not put it out there for the whole world to see just yet. 

6) He includes you in his life even if he’s not ready to be an exclusive item

When a guy isn’t into you then you’re only an afterthought, a booty call or a fallback option. 

But when he’s into you and simply wants to take things slow then he will make efforts to include you in his life

While he may not want you to be introduced as his partner or girlfriend, he will still be great with introducing you to friends and those he cares about and spends time with. 

“Even if you are feeling things out, if he sees a possibility of this going somewhere he will include you. He will invite you to his friend’s party or introduce you to his roommates,”  writes Samantha Ann

“He may not invite you to his family reunion, but he won’t avoid others when he’s with you.”

7) He says he wants a relationship with you, just not yet

This sign is good because unless he’s lying then it tells you all you need to know. 

When he tells you he wants to take it slow and that a relationship is in the cards but just not yet then you know what’s going on. 

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The best way to tell if he’s telling the truth is the following: 

  • Does he make steady eye contact and explain it in a genuine and normal way?
  • Is his behavior consistent with eventually wanting a relationship or is it more consistent with being a f***boy?
  • Is he showing signs of slowly getting more serious or time or just frozen at one moment where it’s never going any further at all as far as you can see? 

8) He tells you his past relationship went too fast and crashed and burned

Another one of the top signs he wants to take it slow is that he tells you about a past relationship that went too fast and crashed and burned. 

The heat of passion can make people lose all reason and dive into things which later turn out to be an epic disaster. 

If he’s experienced that then it’s likely still on his mind – and his heart – in quite a real way. 

So when he tells you about a past relationship that flared out, keep in mind that this could be a big sign of why he’s not moving into getting serious with you just yet. 

“If he has indicated an interest to relate with you on a deeper level, it’s possible that this guy craves a relationship better than his former,” writes Linda Ojuks

“Maybe, his past relationship didn’t work out because it started off in a hurry.”

9) He is really into you but also wants quite a bit of time alone

Another one of the strongest signs he wants to take it slow is that he needs a lot of time alone. 

It can be hard not to take it personally, but it’s important to be a little patient if you want a chance of this going to the next level. 

A guy who wants to take it slow may need quite a bit of guy time with his buddies or alone. 

It’s just his way of being a man, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. 

His formation of a solid foundation can later be the basis of a great relationship between the two of you. 

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It’s all about being understanding and giving him his space. 

10) You can depend on him and know he’s interested even if he holds back a bit

One of the most important signs he wants to take it slow is that he’s there when you need him. 

Even if he’s not comfortable being a serious couple just yet, he’s consistent in being there for you when you need it. 

He’s a dependable and caring guy when you have a tough time or even just need a hand and his hero instinct is clearly being triggered by you.

This is definitely a great sign. 

As marriage therapist David Klow says

“The basic qualities of reliability, trustworthiness, and loyalty are still there in his makeup even if he is not ready to spend an entire getaway weekend with you after three months.

” Measuring his ability to stay present might indicate where his heart is.”

Why does he want to take it slow?

1) He doesn’t have much relationship experience

One of the most common reasons why a guy wants to take it slow can be because he doesn’t have much relationship experience. 

He’s still finding his wings in love and he doesn’t want to fly too high too fast and crash and burn. 

Try to be understanding: if this is all new to him then he’s going to be moving at a slower pace than you might expect. 

2) He wants to get to know you better first

Another one of the most important reasons he may want to take it slow is to get to know you better first. 

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Many people jump into relationships without really knowing their partner. 

Down the road, this can become a nightmare when they realize that they are incompatible, codependent, or bring out the worst in each other. 

As the Daily Spice says

“If a guy is inquisitive about you, it suggests he’s honestly interested in everything that is happening in your life. 

“He wants to know your choices, your inclinations, what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable.”

3) He doesn’t think you’ll accept or love who he really is

Another one of the reasons he may want to take it slow is that he’s worried he won’t be good enough for you. 

Sonya Schwartz gets this exactly right:

“The reality is if a man is talking about taking things slow, it could be because he thinks he can’t fulfill your desires at the moment.”

This is one of the saddest reasons for a guy to take it slow and – really – there is not a ton you can do. 

You can support him and show him he is good enough, but it’s ultimately a certainty he’s going to have to find within himself by developing his own personal power

4) He’s shy to show his interest in you too soon 

There are still shy guys out there who have trouble showing their interest in a woman. 

He may want to be with you badly but be hesitant or shy to show you that he wants something serious too soon. 

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Maybe he doesn’t want to come across as needy or desperate: maybe he believes that there aren’t enough signs that you’re into him yet. 

As Pearl Nash observes, there are certain signs that a guy is interested in something serious even though he’s taking it slow

5) They got burned before and they’re being more careful this time around

This reason is very common as well. It’s important to respect that some guys really have been burned badly and they are very scared of it happening again. 

For that reason, they take things slow and don’t want to get into another intense relationship that goes wrong and leaves them as a wreck. 

“We can have the assumption that someone wants to take things slowly because they’re unsure how they feel about you. 

“This could be because they’ve been hurt so badly in the past so they’re wary, or it could be because they’re just not 100% sure on you,” observes Ell at Forgetting Fairytales

“They may be stalling, or tip-toeing around the edge of a relationship because they don’t really want to fully commit. But this doesn’t have to be the case. And it isn’t always.”

How slow is too slow?

Ultimately, how slow is too slow depends on your own priorities and experiences. 

If he’s moving so slow that you feel he’s only using you or keeping you on a roster then it’s time to move on. 

But if the above signs and reasons apply then it can be a chance to look at things in a new light and continue giving him a chance. 

As relationship counsellor Heather Gillam says the two most important questions to ask yourself are:

“How have past relationships impacted your man’s desire to take it slow? 

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“How have your own relationships impacted your discomfort with taking it slow?”

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