What does “slowly” mean to me? Is slowly the same as “going slow”? And if so, going slow doesn’t have the same meanings as going fast or going steady does. Or does it? When I think about “going steady” I am thinking about relationships with some commitment and familiarity. “Steady as she goes” however, to me, refers to navigating the same course, perhaps saying continue with the same course, though I think commitment does come into it too because why say “steady as she goes” if there is not an expectation of taking a different course action? Being steady as she goes is being committed to the current course.

“Going fast” has the obvious speed interpretation, there is a sense of judgement here though, a sense of pushing boundaries, and being reckless or dangerous. Going fast, can also mean that something is disappearing quickly, it is an invitation to buy something while it is available. There is a sense of limitation, of time running out, and a sense of urgency. I don’t think “going fast” tends to be used in relationships as a phrase although “going too fast” does and has a sense of being out of one’s comfort zone on intimacy and trust; of actions progressing faster than perhaps the brain can cope with, but also a sense of danger and excitement or pushing boundaries of convention. Perhaps even Intimacy before commitment?

“Going slow” is also obviously speed related, but again, is there not a sense of judgement here? If you are driving a car and you are “going slow” then you are going along at less than the normal speed. But the normal speed varies depending upon the road conditions, weather, and congestion and I wonder if our expectations vary as much. Often the normal speed is dictated by the speed limit, and expectations are that people drive at the speed limit, anything less is deemed as slow, and slow is seen as annoying. Going slow is often viewed in a negative light when it comes to speed.

“Going slow” in a relationship sense or perhaps “going too slow” have different meanings. “Going slow” is not rushing things or pushing boundaries, it is a deliberate decision to take things one step at a time, to space things out and maybe repeat experiences. There is commitment there, but I think the emphasis is more on the process, and the relationship is the goal. The brain has plenty of time to catch up with the body. Going steady is the end point here so the commitment to the other is looser and I think maybe “going too slow” is when there is a disparity in how the relationship is progressing. “Going too slow” suggests there is a judgement, again negative, and a lack of fulfilment on one part. I wonder how much the stereotype of men “going too fast”, and women “going too slow” fits?

I am sitting pondering over past times. There was the time at university when the relationship “was going too slow” for me (which may have had something to do with sex before marriage) but I think now even sex wouldn’t have saved that one and would suggest to my younger self that if you feel like that, then move on quickly for both of your sakes. There was another time when a slow dance meant an awful lot more to my dance partner than it did to me, the look on her face was extremely unnerving, and I make it clear I wasn’t interested in a relationship beyond friendship. I guess she was “going too fast” for me, and now I regret the loss of friendship that resulted.

I don’t seem to fit the stereotype then.

Relationships are tricky and I wonder if we talked about commitment to the process and commitment to the end goal whether that would make life easier? I suspect though a major part of relationships is working out who you are and what you want out of life, which like anything really interesting, changes continually through our experience and environment.  And anyway, who has the self-awareness, and language skills to negotiate these things as a young adult? I am not looking for another intimate relationship at the moment (because I am in one), but I would hope that if I landed needing a new one, I would make a better job of it this time round. I would hope.