Episode 58: "How Do I Tell Someone They Are Moving Too Fast?"Support the show
Today, we’re answering questions from local teens about communicating when a relationship is moving too fast.
This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey's lead domestic violence response organization, providing services at no charge for survivors of dating and domestic abuse for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: “How do I tell someone they are moving too fast?”
Setting boundaries with a partner, in the beginning and also throughout your relationship, is so important. This isn’t something most people talk about when they talk about relationships, but boundaries of all kinds are a healthy and natural part of life.
It can be best to set boundaries early on, so that you feel most comfortable and safe in whatever relationship you’re in. But there’s never a wrong time to set them! If you change your mind or a new problem comes up, you have the right to set a boundary and feel safe to talk about it with your partner. If you don’t feel safe to set a boundary, this is a big warning sign that this might not be a healthy relationship for you.
In a relationship, you and your partner both have rights. For example, you both have the right to be safe and decide what’s best for you as an individual. You have the right to say “no” to things, and you ALWAYS have the right to change your mind. No one can take these things away from you, even your partner. If someone tries to take those rights away, that’s another big warning sign that this relationship isn’t healthy for you.
So, let’s go back to the right of saying no, to anything. Maybe the teen who asked this question was trying to slow down sexual activities, or maybe just slow down the relationship in general. Either way, being direct as possible is the best way to communicate. This way, there’s the least amount of chance that your words will be misinterpreted. For example, you could simply say, “I need us to slow down.”
This will take some courage from you. If your partner is truly respectful of your boundaries, they will listen and will not push you. They might be confused or frustrated, but a respectful partner doesn’t take it out on you, blame you, or rush you. You have the right to decide what’s best for you!
Here are some other phrases you could use:
· Another direct way of saying something is, “I don’t want to do that.”
· You could also say, “I need some time.”
· You could say, “I need to think about this. Can we try again later?” Or, “Can we talk more about this later?”
· “I need some space.”
· “I’m not sure yet if I want to do that.” (By the way, saying you’re “not sure” or “maybe” is not consent for sexual activity)
· You could say, “Can you give me some time to think about that?”
· “Can you give me some space?”
Remember, if anyone is pushing your emotional or physical boundaries, or making you feel unsafe, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Help and hope are always available.
To speak with an expert about dating violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential hotline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.