Do you feel like your long distance relationship is moving too fast?
Perhaps you love your partner, but they’re pushing you to make promises or commitments that you’re just not comfortable with at this point.
Or maybe you both feel good about things, but you’re reaching milestones a lot quicker than you normally would, and you’re wondering what’s up with that.
If any of this sounds familiar, don’t worry. This is actually really common in LDRs.
Why? Well, think about these ways that LDRs are different to “regular relationships”:
- You can only see your boyfriend/girlfriend for short periods of time, so there’s pressure on you to “make the most of it” during your visits
- Because of the distance, you’re already investing a ton of time, money and expectation in the relationship – even in the early days
- Long distance couples often come from different cultures and backgrounds, with different ideas about commitment
With all of those factors at play, it’s no surprise if things are confusing.
How can you really know if things are moving too fast, or if it’s just the distance complicating things?
And if you’re not on the same page about commitment – does it mean the relationship is doomed? How can you let your partner know that you want to slow things down, without hurting them?
In this post, I’m going to discuss 5 key signs that your relationship is moving too fast – and then how you can let your S.O. know how you feel.
The crucial thing to remember
Before I tell you these 5 key things, it’s very important to say this: what counts as “moving too fast” in a relationship depends on who you are.
To elaborate: different people consider different things to be signs of commitment. For example, meeting each other’s families might be a huge deal for one person, but for the other it’s no big deal because they introduce their parents to every person they date. Neither one of these perspectives is right or wrong, just different.
So what does “too fast” really mean? Simply put, it means too fast for you. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Just because your boundaries are subjective doesn’t make them any less important. However, I mentioned the above as I think it makes sense not to jump to conclusions about what a specific thing necessarily means, until you’ve clarified it with your partner.
Now, here are 5 signs that your LDR is moving too fast for you:
1. It's eating up all your time and money
LDRs are an investment of time, money, energy and emotional resilience. If you’re not prepared to go the extra mile (literally!) for someone, then this type of relationship is not for you.
But there is a healthy balance to be made. Any relationship requires some expense, true, but it must be able to fit comfortably into your life and not compromise your other goals to a huge extent. If you’re finding your other commitments suffering and your bank balance dwindling, it’s time to talk.
2. You're uncomfortable when they talk about "the future"
If you’re in a LDR, chances are good that you consider the person you’re dating to be someone very special. If you don’t really feel that way and this is just a casual relationship, IMO there’s very little point investing all the time and effort into it – you may as well just date locally if all you want is a casual thing. If you’ve never thought about this before, now is a good time to think about it, and probably to call it quits if you’re on fundamentally different pages about long-term plans.
If you are serious about this person and open to the possibility of long-term plans – just not, you know, right now – then stick to your boundaries and don’t be pressured into making promises that don’t feel genuine. But don’t make the mistake of telling them that you want to “just take things one day at a time” either. This will not make them feel appreciated or like a priority in your life.
Instead, set modest goals for the two of you to work towards. Perhaps you’re not ready to set a “move in together” date just yet, but you are willing for the two of you to save for a holiday together in a couple of months’ time? Think about small commitments you could make, until you’re ready to make larger ones.
3. You're arranging your whole life around them
A big red flag for any new relationship is when your partner expects you to drop important long-term plans for them.
Say for example that you’ve been offered your dream job in another city, but it would put you even further away from your partner than you currently are. Should you reject it?
If (and only if) you’re certain that they’re the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, then you might consider the relationship worth the sacrifice. Otherwise, it’s not fair for another person to expect that of you when things aren’t that serious (to be clear, though: if that would be a deal-breaker for them, then they have a right to feel that way and to let you know. The choice would then be entirely your own if you put the relationship first).
This also works in reverse as well. If they’re prepared to uproot their entire life to be with you after only having dated for a month or two, be direct about letting them know if it isn’t what you want.
4. You're always arguing about it
If you’re always arguing about commitment issues, this is a bad sign.
The only solution is to talk it out properly. If you always find yourselves flying off the handle and having arguments whenever you try to deal with conflict, check out the advice in the post below for some tips on how to talk through disagreements.
If this is something you just can’t seem to get past or compromise on, then perhaps it’s time for each of you to find someone else, more aligned with your expectations?
5. One of you is on the rebound
If one of you has recently got out of an old relationship, it’s especially important to take things slow with a new one.
I once started a new relationship about two weeks after breaking things off with a partner of 3 years. It made things pretty confusing in the new relationship. I didn’t want to be with my old partner anymore, but it was hard to go from a state of knowing someone’s personality inside-out to being in the “still getting to know each other” stage with someone new, and ultimately things moved far too quickly because of it. We both said “I love you” far too soon, but I was so used to being in love that it felt right at the time… Only later did we realise we had very little in common.
Now, there’s no arbitrary length of time that has to pass between relationships. But it helps to be aware that when one of you has recently had a break-up with someone else, there may be a tendency to rush into things. If that’s you (or your partner), address it directly.
How to tell your long distance partner that you want to slow things down
So you feel like things are moving too fast, but you don’t want to break things off. What do you do now?
It’s not going to be easy, but you have to talk about it. Here’s the approach I recommend:
- First, reassure them that you’re enjoying everything you do together and that you want to be in this relationship
- Bring up a specific thing that you’re worried about and tell them how it makes you feel
- Then reassure them again
In practice, that might sound something like this:
“I wanted to talk to you about something. I had such a great time last week when you visited, but I was a bit worried when you mentioned that you’re planning to go to a college on the West Coast so that we could be together.
On our first date, you said that you’d always wanted to go to college in New York and that that was really important to you because you have family there. We’ve only been dating for six weeks and it feels like a really big decision to make at this point – for you and for me. I’m having a great time with you and I hope we’re together for the long haul, but I don’t want us to rush into any life-changing decisions so early on.”
Hopefully, if you’re tactful, caring and reassuring, they will be okay with this and will accept it.
If they continue to push for more commitment than you feel comfortable giving, it might be time to think more seriously about whether you’re happy in this relationship. This post might help:
Have you ever committed too soon in a relationship? If you have any thoughts on LDRs and commitment issues, let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!
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