Beware The Man Who Wants To Take Things Slow



Name: Chloe
Comment: I have recently met a guy online who made it clear on his profile that he was very recently separated and wanted friendship, company and to take things slowly (ok with me).  We messaged for a couple of weeks and got on really well so decided to meet up.  At his suggestion we went out for a coffee rather than an evening drink. We met in the morning for coffee and had such a good chat, we decided to stay out for lunch.  The afternoon was spent over a bottle of wine and a lot of laughs, teasing and swapping stories about everything.  The conversation was great and he asked if I would like to go for dinner before heading back home (we had to get the same train back). On the way to dinner he kissed me, which I was quite surprised about because of the ‘taking things slowly bit’ but it was a nice surprise. Dinner was great, he was very complimentary and we got onto the subject of meeting up for a second date. He asked if I would like to meet for dinner a few days later as he was passing my town on the train and we could meet up midweek, I agreed and after I got off the train he text me to say what a great time he’d had and that he couldn’t wait to see me for the second date.  The next morning he text to postpone the second date, he said that he feels he should pace himself a bit, which I agree with and think it’s very sensible, but the trouble is I am feeling rejected and confused.  If he hadn’t asked for the second date I would be very happy now thinking what a great time we had had, I was perfectly happy to go at his pace and in no way want to be a rebound relationship. I think the real issue is because he arranged and then cancelled that second date I am left wondering if I have found someone who is straight forward and has just realized he needs some time before he gets involved, or whether the truth is I have just been shoved on the back burner while he sees what else is out there? If only he hadn’t arranged that damn second date!!!
Age: 35
City: London
State: UK


he was very recently separated and wanted friendship, company and to take things slowly

This is a very polite way to say he’s looking for casual sex. Just FYI. Anybody who is on a dating site who says they’re interested in making new friends is offering little to nothing and should be avoided unless you’re looking for something no strings.

When a man says he wants to take things slowly, he’s saying that he’s not looking for a relationship. “I want to take things slowly” is usually something uttered by women which is why so many men use this bogus line. They say it because they know most women will a) sympathize for the guy’s situation and b) be impressed that this man isn’t trying to rush women into bed. It’s manipulative.

This guy did everything that someone who actually wanted to move at a moderate pace wouldn’t do. A contradiction like that should tell you something isn’t right. As I’ve always said: the red flags are in the inconsistencies.

This guy was recently separated, yes? It’s safe to assume he was looking for something casual. Mr. Take Things Slow crammed your first date with what felt like 3 dates worth of activity. That kind of marathon date often times leaves women feeling like they’ve spent enough time with a man to sleep with him without worrying about moving too fast.

I mentioned the other day that I’m uneasy with someone planning a second date on the first date. This is why. Not only does it put someone in a potentially awkward situation, but it feels strategic. Scheduling that second date is a great way to make someone believe that there’s this strong mutual connection. Again, this is a great way to convince someone that having sex that same night would not be the worst thing in the world.

This guy is a kid in a candy store right now. He’s been released from prison and now wants to take advantage of his freedom. Plus he’s a bit rusty in the ways of dating. I think this guy got caught up in the moment, maybe was hoping there would be sex at the end of the night, then when that didn’t happen and he got some distance he cooled off.

This is why people who are newly separated are such liabilities. They’re still trying to get their sea legs. They don’t really know what they want other than they don’t want to get serious with anybody.

I am left wondering if I have found someone who is straight forward and has just realized he needs some time before he gets involved, or whether the truth is I have just been shoved on the back burner while he sees what else is out there?

I think it’s both. He knows what he doesn’t want and he’s starkly aware of the options he has. He doesn’t want to get in too deep with anybody because he knows he won’t stick around.


Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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20 Responses to “Beware The Man Who Wants To Take Things Slow”

  1. fuzzilla Says:

    I was gonna say, I’ve never heard a guy say, “I want to take things slow.” Either they want a relationship and make their interest obvious, or they’re “not looking for anything serious.” I think Moxie’s right that the “take it slow” line is just kind of parroting what he thinks women want to hear.

    People who are recently separated (and advertise that on their dating profile, OMG) are to be avoided. Right now he’s too much in his own head to consistently connect with someone else and consider their needs (which is, like, what a relationship is). Recently separated guys who want to use a woman for free therapy are a hot stove I’ve touched so many times that I’m just instantly done when I get that vibe.

  2. Fyodor Says:

    I don’t think that he’s necessarily being manipulative or disingenuous.

    I think that it’s really possible that he knew in the abstract that it wasn’t a good idea to dive into a relationship, but got caught up and had a good time with her and then panicked about how quickly it was moving.

    To some extent it’s a moot point-he’s not a good relationship prospect if that’s what the OP wants. If she likes him she should circle back in a year and see how he is. Or not.

  3. Nicki Says:

    I dunno, whenever I have been on a dating site and see someone has written about how they’re recently single and want to take thing slow I just think, “Then cancel your account and hangout with your friends if you just want someone to talk to and hang with.” Now I know there’s more too it because most of the time they’d also like someone to have sex with, but still. I feel as though taking it slow isn’t something you say, it’s something you do.

  4. SS Says:

    I refuse to date separated men (because I think they’ll almost certainly be emotional wrecks), but this story reminds me of a man I met on Match who had been divorced for 2 years.

    On our 4th date we started getting a little physical (first time) and he suddenly pulled back and said he’d like to take things slow.

    That’s the first and only time that’s ever happened to me, and I was shocked for months afterwards. He then followed up with the memorable line “I’m not a user or abuser”… uhhhh, what the WHAT now?

    Long story short: On our 5th “date” I said I could offer him friendship, nothing more. He took it. We are still friends some 20 months later and hang out regularly.

    He will have been proactively online dating for 3 years this November. He has never made it to over a month with any woman (rarely over 2 dates) by his own design. I adore him, but he’s the first person to admit that he is completely and *totally* emotionally unavailable.

    That push-pull you describe with the intensity followed by the disappearance? Classic commitmentphobe. OP – if you are truly looking for a relationship, this is NOT the man for you, and it’s time to move on.

    • Yvonne Says:

      “I’m not a user or abuser”

      Good guys who have their act together don’t have to proclaim that they are good guys.

      I got burned by the “taking it slow” line by a man who’d been divorced for 5 years, but hadn’t really dated at all during that time, as well as a never-married man. I agree that it is man-speak for emotionally unavailable.

      I too also wondered if this man might be married. To me, real dating is doing activities together in addition to dinner or drinks, like going to a movie/play/concert/sports event or whatever, not meeting up for dinner because you are passing through someone’s town.

      And who thinks that “taking it slowly” means spending an entire day together on a first date? The OP needs to set some boundaries. If she thinks that this guy is so enamored of her that she can win him over, she is in for a rude awakening.

      • Yvonne Says:

        I mean actively married and not separated.

      • SS Says:

        Exactly. My immediate thought was that someone – likely more than one – had called him that. When someone answers a question that wasn’t asked it’s because it’s in their mind.

        I’ve since come to learn that he tells women up front that he doesn’t really want a relationship and “tries not to” sleep with them; he feels “guilty” when he does. smh.

  5. Alexa Says:

    I can’t shake the feeling that he’s not separated – he’s just a married man.

    • SS Says:

      Thought the *exact* same thing as I read it – he’s keeping her to the daytime dates and reneging on the evenings.

      I was trying to be a little less jaded than usual though :)

      • fuzzilla Says:

        I guess I’m a lot less jaded these days if I didn’t immediately assume “lying married guy.” ;o) That’s historically been my go-to. If the push/pull dynamic is pretty dramatic, that’s a possible tip-off (he genuinely likes you, but unexplained “circumstances” make things difficult).

        My advice is the same whether he’s a Lying Married or Ambivalent Separated, anyway.

  6. cb Says:

    Separated is a dealbreaker for me. I’m also not up for being the first girl after the divorce. First girl after the divorce gets her heart broken. Been there, done that.

  7. bbdawg Says:

    I have been on that situation, connecting with a separated man. Had an incredible connection and we also “took it slowly”… we are still in touch (occasionally) but we never had sex and and nothing physical will happen until the divorce is signed.

    IMO separated men have 2 HUGE problems:

    1. They lack empathy to your situation, a characteristic of married people regardless of genders: they think single people are “possibilities”, objects with no needs, they don’t get that once they leave the marriage, they will most likely encounter women who want to get into relationships and they aren’t into that for obvious reasons.

    Married ppl who are on the way to a divorce don’t realize they don’t actually have as many options as the options they imagined they had when they were married. It’s a wake-up call to them, they are often disappointed at the level of rejection they encounter (i.e. nope, not that many women/men want to date a man/woman with 3 children who is still legally married to someone else).

    2. All divorces are unpredictable, painful and expensive and you have no idea how they are going to feel once that is over and done.

    The guy I met, in Dec 2014, is getting the divorce signed supposedly this October. He filed Oct 2014. That was an “uncontested” divorce (i.e the simplest) he initiated. ONE YEAR. Expect it to take longer if there is litigation or if the wife initiated the divorce. Add to that the healing time. Which can take years.

  8. Lisa Says:

    I dated all thru my separation and dated men who were separated; I was definitely fine and so were most of the men. I wouldn’t generalize about that…tho I’m sure there are many separated ppl who just aren’t ready.

    To me the “let’s take it slow” suggestion was more foreboding than the separated marital status.

    But that being said, I think the LW was also foolish to extend the date so long. She chitchatted and story-swapped her way right into the friend zone, and prbly made herself appear boring and too available. He’s seen everything he needs to see and doesn’t feel any urgency.

  9. mxf Says:

    Lol I love reading the feedback on this site but the warnings around dating separated people strike a little chill in my heart every time. Currently dating a separated guy and it’s been tough to strike the right balance between cautious optimism and oh-god-run-for-the-hills.

    His is not a recent separation, though, and I have had experience meeting a guy who told me on the first date that he and his ex had just ended their marriage a few months prior. In that guy’s case, they had lied about their separation time to divorce immediately, so while he was divorced it was super fresh. He insisted that he was totally fine, but also said that “obviously” he wasn’t likely ready for anything serious, and then proceeded to get into the details of the end of the relationship when I probed a bit. He was a smart, pulled-together guy, but I could just sense that he wasn’t viewing the world as a single person yet, and still had his old couple filter on. He used the word “we” a lot, as if it were normal that he’d be “we-ing” about his ex-wife to a new date — “we travelled extensively before moving here, we bought the house in 2012, we used to watch that show,” etc. No go.

  10. coffeestop Says:

    As somebody who is divorced I won’t date people who are separated, people who are recently divorced, or recently widowed. They typically dive right in and then back off and they haven’t done much personal reflection ( not usually ) and the baggage they have is very fresh and gooey. I think “let’s take it slow” was not just about casual sex it was a blatant warning to have low expectations.

  11. Dave Says:

    Agree with everyone here…I went out on a few dates with a lady a while back that married very young (age 20 or so) and then got divorced in her mid 40s. We met offline…so unlike meeting online I knew very little about her at first…only that there was a mutual attraction and interest.

    She was fun…at first. But when things got physical it was like walking into a field of landmines…pulling you in one minute and pushing you away the next. She clearly needed to do some emotional housekeeping as I could only surmise from her behavior that her marriage had been a very toxic one (she rarely talked about it and I did not ask for details).

    Regardless…I’m sure some people…if they learned to carry their baggage well could date after waiting a reasonable amount of time after a divorce. However like many commenters shared…I’m extremely gun shy of someone who is recently separated or divorced…too much potential for something to go wrong. Dating is tough enough as it is.

  12. Donnie K Says:

    Recently separated is as big a red flag as wanting to “take things slow.” I understand wanting to be open-minded and give people a chance, but the result is often the same when dealing this these types. Online dating can be very frustrating. I understand the desire to want to cling to those we appear to have an immediate connection with. As Moxie and others point out, marathon dates often build a false sense of familiarity.

    The LW needs to chalk this up as a learning experience. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. We all get fooled sometimes. Just move on.

  13. Melissa Says:

    I have never dated anyone who was freshly separated or divorced myself (I run for the hills) but I have a close friend who has, and twice. The first time she was totally the “rebound” girl – she wanted more commitment than he was willing to give and essentially scared him off towards another woman. The second time she was bounced back and forth like a yo-yo while he figured out what he wanted (in other words would stop seeing her, date others, then come back to her again) and she is still going through this with him. She is not happy to say the least! I say if you get involved with a man like this, you better have very, very low and realistic expectations!

  14. Melanie Says:

    He is obviously still fresh from being separated. It means don’t get your heart strings attached, because he’s not ready to yet. He wants to see you and have fun and not feel like he’s stuck in a relationship again. Have patience with the man, and if things are meant to happen, they will. In the meantime, have some fun with him too.

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