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How To Pace Your Relationship For the Long Haul - 6 Incredibly Necessary Insights on Perfectly Pacing Your Relationship

How To Pace Your Relationship For the Long Haul

# 1. Pacing an intimate relationship is about rhythm, timing, and inter-dependent, consistent communication, much like dance partners in an intricate performance or bound-together runners in a three-legged race


What one partner does, the other must be able to weave in his or her reciprocal movements in perfect harmony if they are to be successful in their endeavors.

All potential partners have their own way of approach pacing, within-relationship pacing, and trouble-shooting and repair pacing. All paces are also responsive to emotional provocations. What may seem an intense challenge to one partner’s rhythms may be almost unnoticeable by another. As is obvious, the process of pacing a relationship with an intimate partner gets easily complicated.

Approach Pacing

What is your style, your goal, and your expectation when you approach a new relationship? If you are one who seeks to be rescued, for instance, you will probably present yourself as relatively passive and in need, waiting for your partner to make the more power-oriented moves. You could seem anxious and somewhat fearful of loss, encouraging that partner to initiate reassurance, offering more energy and time to quiet your distress.

Or you might be a conqueror, pushing in with intense and controlling efforts to make certain your new partner feels total comfort in letting you take the lead and define the relationship. If that were true, you might give the impression that you will always be in charge, responsible for every detail and decision. Perhaps your original pacing appears more like an anthropologist, quiet and observant, with no apparent need to change or challenge your new partner’s choices or beliefs.

Every person has his or her own approach pace. It will be the first sign a new partner has to evaluate the next chapter of the relationship. It is crucial that you know your own pacing style and are clear about whether or not that will change once the relationship is in gear.

Within-relationship Pacing

Once you have begun a relationship, do you change your pace?

If your new partner believes that your original style is who you are, he or she may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised if you change in any substantial way.

For instance, if you have approached a relationship with an intense sexual pace, concerned that your new partner may not like you in any other way, and then slowed that way down once you feel more secure, you are likely to encounter disappointment or frustration from him or her. Or, what if you began as a kicked-back person who seemed easy with any direction then pushed the pace when you wanted more than was offered?

Trouble-shooting and Repair Pacing

Some partners become very upset and urgent when problems arise in relationships. The other partner may not be as distressed and not offer up the same pace to solve the issue or may not see it as one at all. If this difference occurs, the difference in pace can be more hurtful than the actual problem, itself.

To make matters even more complicated, differences in pace between intimate partners can occur on every continuum; sex, money, time, energy, resources, etc. It is such an important issue that new partners must make it a communication priority early in their relationship.

Dr. Randi Gunther –

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# 2. First, hold off on the physical intimacy; second, take things day by day and be secure in who you are


So it’s the end of Date #1 and you’re pretty sure you’ve found the man you’re going to marry.

Women can go from 0 to 6000 mph in a matter of seconds and before we know it, we have fallen hard for a man. It happens so fast, we hardly even realize we’ve gone from sane to close to insane (but of course you can only see that as an outsider looking into someone else, because we all like to think we don’t do that).

Well here’s the deal, we do it, and that alter ego we will refer to as “Crazy Lady”. We need to be sure we are protecting ourselves, and, as cheesy as it sounds, “guarding our hearts” (I promise I won’t say that again…ever).

So, how do you keep Crazy Lady from sabotaging your relationship?

First, hold off on the physical intimacy (keep the clothes on).

Our bodies say “YES, go there, lets DO THIS”, it’s what we were made to do. Problem, as soon as we’ve gone too far too fast, our emotions start getting warped and the emotions are in charge–not our better judgment. 

From there, Crazy Lady has taken over your body and you start doing things that are totally unreasonable. And it’s because we aren’t secure in the relationship with the man. We have lost total control and started down a road we never wanted to head down. You’re in over your head.

Second, take things day by day.

Enjoy where you are each day with him and don’t get anxious about what’s ahead. Things will progress naturally if it’s a good thing… and if it’s not a good thing, it will become evident real fast and you can bow out.

Last, be secure in who you are and what’s going on in the relationship.

If you start getting jealous or second guessing him when he says he is really busy at work but you think he’s taking someone else out, Crazy Lady is about to come back and take over. And we can all relate to Crazy Lady because we’ve all got her hidden somewhere inside us.

Just relax, enjoy, and don’t be in a rush for the next step.

Haley Gage, M.A., LAPC –

# 3. Understand that there is a difference between wanting from a needy standpoint to wanting from a healthy standpoint


It’s important to dig deep into the root cause of falling in love too quickly.

Let’s first establish that love is something that grows and develops over time. In the beginning stages of a relationship we are usually experiencing lust or infatuation. Both of these feelings can masquerade as love.

Lust and infatuation are both high energy, needing feelings.

We feel like we just can’t get enough of said man and are anxiously waiting by the phone to hear from him. Additionally, we want to spend most, if not all our free time with him to the point that we will cancel previous plans or withhold from making plans with others just to be available.

There is a difference between wanting from a needy standpoint to wanting from a healthy standpoint.

The needing standpoint stems from trying to fill a void in ourselves through the attention of a man. From a healthy standpoint, the desire to be with him will stem from a mutual place of co-enjoyment of one another’s company. We already feel “complete” and a man/partner will only serve to enhance our lives further. It is true that in the healthy standpoint, we may indeed be excited to spend more time or talk with him, however, there isn’t the baited-breath-waiting that accompanies the needy standpoint.

I feel it very important to go within and ask yourself what exactly your motive is to spend time with him.

Are you putting your life on hold until the next opportunity or are you continuing on with your business and allowing him to be a bonus? This is the time to be radically honest with yourself because if you have discovered a pattern of falling to quickly and scaring the man off, it is likely there is a void that you are trying to fill from the outside rather than from the inside.

We are all sentient beings. Not one person is exempt from this. If we are resonating out the energy of need, I can assure you, the man feels it. If you determine that this is the case for you, don’t fret, rejoice! You have just uncovered an enormous truth into the inner workings of your psyche and through this awareness you have now opened the doors to healing this pattern once and for all!

Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor –

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# 4. It is important to follow the tides of the relationship


In the beginning, it’s important to follow the tides of the relationship

Think of the flow of a river; it is constantly changing but still following down the path at a steady pace. Some areas of the water are faster than others. Likewise, some areas are more tumultuous than the calmer sides. And the most important lesson, you can’t make the river move any quicker.

There are complex reasons for why things are the why they are and you can influence it but you cannot make it be anything other than what it is. Relationships follow the same pattern; some areas are rockier than others and some parts are slower than we expect.

When starting a relationship, listen to the natural flow of things

Take a look at if this is a “river” you want to go down. Are there red flags like “huge boulders half way down”? Those boulders can be the person’s emotional baggage, thus the first chance in deciding if this is a relationship you want to be in.

Once you’re on the path, when more “boulders or rocks” come up then you get to make another decision if this is something you can manage.

At the end of the river, we all hope to be taken to a peaceful lagoon but sometimes that the end of the river is a waterfall. It’s all about taking a chance, listening to your instincts, deciding what you want out of a relationship and hoping for the blue lagoon at the end of your journey.

The bottom line is that all relationships are different.

There isn’t a clear path to any outcome. It’s going to take communication with the other person to make sure you are both on the same “boat”. If you are on different boats, then the way you are flowing is going to look differently. Take it slow, get your feet wet and eventually you will both be comfortable with jumping right in.

Amanda Patterson, LMHC –

# 5. Slow the process and pace your relationship


Why do women fall so fast and hard for the men in their lives?

Is it because they feel desperate, insecure or are just plain ready to make a commitment? The answer is yes, yes and yes. In the process, however, you wind up scaring your partner off and feeling disappointed, frustrated and disillusioned with men.

Don’t give up, though, because there are several steps you can take to slow the process and pace the relationship to move in a healthier, more positive direction:

1. Start with friendship first.

This level of comfort translates into a solid foundation for love to blossom and intimacy to develop. So be friends first before you open the door to the physical and emotional closeness that is so essential for a solid partnership.

2. Be able to communicate effectively by encouraging open, honest dialogues.

Be attuned to nonverbal cues and body language from your partner that can trigger messages and unconscious signals that you are coming on too strongly.

3. Stop sacrificing yourself for the sake of your partner.

It’s important to be flexible whenever possible, while maintaining the values, integrity and standards that are important to you. You must be able to maintain your individual interests, including friends, activities and professional goals so you can orchestrate your life and not feel compromised.

4. Trust your intuition, which is that part of you with knowledge vital to your well-being.

This internal antenna continually sends you messages that you shouldn’t ignore, especially how your partner is making you feel.

5. Avoid “fairy-tale thinking.”

It’s not your partner’s job to make you happy. It is your responsibility to love and value yourself when you enter a relationship.

Dependency and neediness are not attractive qualities.

It is also an illusion to assume any one person can meet all your needs or desires. Relationships take a lot of work, continuous effort and a great deal of compromise, insight and understanding. Romantic love will inevitably change as you progress through your relationship. But what lasts is the committed, emotional love that makes all healthy relationships worthwhile.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

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# 6. Stay present to your feelings and don’t rush and overplan


It’s so exciting when we first feel the initial glows of love.

It’s not called “falling” in love for nothing. So, when we feel we’ve found our soul mate, we can become over-enthusiastic. We might feel like we’ve bonded so quickly that we already know where the relationship is heading. It could be love at first sight. The pull towards merging can be intense. This is especially true if we are uncomfortable with our separateness. So, taking a few deep breaths is crucial.

We may ask ourselves: What’s the rush?

Learning to slow it down means we are open to listening to each other and to letting it unfold. We need to allow and invite rather than control and force. We need to let a relationship develop so that we can get to know how we are with this person and how they are. We need to be available to see the opportunities to notice and reflect on our differences as well as our commonality.

We all know that we can be blinded to aspects of another person in that honey-moon period, so slowing it down means we won’t miss important cues.

It’s not that we are looking for problems, rather that we are trying to see the whole person and to include the whole of our experience rather than sugarcoat it. If we can relax and let it unfold, we then let go of our desire to control, which is often a cover for the anxiety we feel about getting to know this new person and allowing intimacy to develop.

By taking it at a pace that feels respectful we can allow ourselves time to adjust, to transition into the experience of being with this new person and their world, and to allow them to do the same with us.

Men often complain of feeling like women want to control them, and sometimes it is the reverse, but by staying present to our feelings and not covering them with speediness and rushing, with over-planning and regulating, we can be free to watch this space and see what emerges in this new and wonderful co-creation. And to live with the uncertainty that we do not know what will happen and that is OK!

Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI –

Revealed: What Men Secretly Want But Will Never Tell You…

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