My relationship is moving too fast, but my partner is happy with this pace. Should I break things off?

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  • You and your partner don't have to break up because you disagree about how fast your relationship should move.
  • Instead, reflect on what's driving your fears of moving fast and tell your partner using "I" statements, therapist Kristie Overstreet told Insider.
  • Usually our relationship fears are rooted in past relationship trauma. Telling your partner could help her better understand your worries and help you through them.
  • Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

I love my girlfriend. We've been together for about eight months and she's made me realize how amazing being in a relationship can be.

My problem, however, is that I feel like she's too deeply in love with me. That scares me.

I've tried multiple times to make her understand my concerns, but she never really gets it. To her, I'm just being paranoid and overwhelmed because this is my first relatively long-term relationship in over five years. But I need her to slow down.

I've considered breaking up with her, but I know that'll hurt her to the very core of her being, and I don't want her to feel like that because of me. How do I move forward?

– South Africa

Dear South Africa,

Romantic partners often see us at our most vulnerable, so I can understand why you feel frightened about the pace of your relationship.

At the same time, I don't think you need to end things with your girlfriend to feel safe.

As Kristie Overstreet, a therapist and author of "Fix Yourself First: 25 Tips to Stop Ruining Your Relationships," told me, you need to get to the bottom of why you're afraid of where you're relationship is headed.

That's not to say your fear isn't valid, because it is. But understanding where that fear stems from will help you articulate those reasons to your partner and help her see where you're coming from.

A fear of abandonment due to a past romantic or childhood relationship, or toxic codependency you noticed in the relationships of those around you could be underlying your aversion to move as quickly as your girlfriend would like, according to Overstreet.

She also said you could potentially have an avoidant attachment style, where you need more space and alone time in your relationships, while your girlfriend could have more of an anxious attachment style and crave more attention or togetherness.

Once you pinpoint the root cause of your relationship fear, Overstreet suggested using "I" statements to explain your feelings to your girlfriend. 

She suggested saying something like, "I'm really happy you're glad with how our relationship is moving and that you're happy with it. At the same time, I would like to see things slow down because it would make me feel more comfortable."

During this explanation, you could offer specific suggestions for how to slow things down so you feel more safe and secure in your dynamic, like spending more time apart or requesting she only text or call you at certain times of the day.

Be sure to let your partner know that you appreciate her and your relationship, and you're asking for these things because you want it to work out. Explain that her support in your needs means everything to you, Overstreet said, to show her it's nothing personal.

After this conversation, see if your girlfriend is able to understand and respect your needs. It might take time, especially if she isn't used to dating someone who needs more space, but that doesn't mean it's out of the question or that your needs aren't valid.

If she continues to brush off your boundaries, it's reasonable to let her know that if things continue this way, you're going to have to end it, Overstreet said.

"What you're doing is you're being really vulnerable and sharing a fear. If your partner can't hold space so you could share that fear and be vulnerable, there's other red flags in the relationship," she said.

As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it — no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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