Does "Go Slow" Mean "Stop?"
Q: My girlfriend asked me to slow down the relationship for a few weeks while she finishes school, and she is also busy with her own business. So I didn't contact her for 10 days. At that point she called me with a question about her business. She also called me the other day and suggested we go to dinner, which we did. I send her flowers as well. She told me at dinner that she is still in love with me, but she did not act the same as before. I am confused. Is she really in love with me? Why does she want to slow the relationship, and why is she cold? I'm not getting as many calls or IMs, though she sends IMs that she really misses me. What should I read into this? Does a woman say that she is still in love with you if she is not, or is it a signal that she is falling out of love with me? -- Jeffrey, 45
Dr. Susan: When a woman says she wants to slow things down for a few weeks, it can mean a lot of different things. It might mean she's having second thoughts, that she isn't ready to commit to you and wants to see what else is out there. It could mean she's falling out of love and wants to let you down easy. Or it could mean exactly what she says, which is that she's really busy with school and work and feels overwhelmed and wants to spend less time on the relationship until she feels more in control of her self and her time. The number one thing is to not read anything into it until you get more information. None of us can read minds. All the sitcoms in the world seem to be based on misunderstandings which could be cleared up if only people would talk honestly to one another.
It can't hurt to take her at her word for a while. That would show trust. Try to get her to be clearer with you about what she expects out of this relationship. Let her know that you miss her too and that you wonder why she seems less loving than before. If someone told me to slow down, I wouldn't NOT call them for 10 days, necessarily. But I also wouldn't call them every single day and prolong the conversation for hours. Keeping in touch without pressuring her might be the best approach.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.