Amber Grubenmann

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He Wants to Take Things Slow With No Strings Attached

Uncategorized Oct 18, 2022

A listener of the podcast asked me what to do when someone says they want to take things slow, and how to interpret someone saying they don’t want any strings attached while you’re in the dating process.

This is a topic that comes up often in many different forms.

Her question was, when is it reasonable to ask someone if they would like to be exclusive with me?

She said she was dating a guy for a couple months, and when she asked for exclusivity he said it was too soon. The connection ended because he was not comfortable becoming exclusive.

It is the right time to ask for exclusivity as soon as you feel that you’re no longer comfortable moving forward without exclusivity.

But you don’t want to ask for exclusivity unless you already love the way things are going.

In this situation, we have two people’s boundaries: her boundary of needing exclusivity, and his boundary of wanting to take things slow in general.

There is a way to respect both people’s boundaries, but it might make the relationship feel like it’s not progressing.

When we are ready to be exclusive with somebody, it’s kind of like recognizing that the plant has outgrown the pot that it’s in.

If he’s saying he doesn’t want to move the plant into a larger pot, it can stay in the smaller pot, but that means certain things won’t progress forward. For example, you don’t take steps physically, meet each other’s friends, or think about the future as much.

Ask yourself, do I want to be in a connection that is stalled?

There’s an attitude that people bring to a connection sometimes, which is they want to take it slow. And they really believe that for themselves.

But when people say, “I want to take it slow,” what they often mean is “I don’t want to take steps forward at all because I’m scared.”

There’s no such thing as no strings attached unless you have a very clear agreement to be super casual.

As soon as you date somebody there are strings attached.

Each date you go on with somebody, you invest a little bit more.

We want somebody who can acknowledge the discomfort of knowing that something is on the line.

If somebody gets upset that you asked them to be exclusive, that’s a sign of a lack of empathy.

It’s different from him feeling like he’s not there yet.  

It’s showing that he can’t contemplate the emotional vulnerability of dating you.

 Once you like somebody and spend months seeing them regularly, of course you feel like you want to date just them and you want that additional security.

So for that idea to be so far out of his reach that it makes him upset is a sign that this is probably not somebody who would have warmed up to the idea down the road.

There’s a difference between having a conversation about being ready for a relationship and the actions of taking the plant from one pot to the other one.

The main thing that will tell you if somebody is ready for a relationship is how they prioritize you with their time.

That’s something you will discover in less than two months.

Have those standards from the beginning and pay more attention to his actions than his words.


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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify


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