Pumping the Brakes on a Fast-Moving Fling (And 4 Other Things We’ve Answered)
It’s OK to ask for help. In fact, here at AskMen, we encourage it.
That’s why we have GuyQ, a place for you to come and submit any and all questions you have about … well, just about anything. From dating and sex to style and grooming, we’ve got you covered. And while we consider ourselves experts on the topics, we’ve recruited two other professionals to assist in providing a resolution to your problems — 5 of your problems, that is.
Below, you’ll find 5 random GuyQ questions, along with their answers to ’em:
“I don’t believe that relationships happen because they’re ‘meant to be,'” says Dr. Jess O’Reilly, award-winning sex and relationship expert and the founder of Happier Couples Inc. “I believe fulfilling relationships arise (and survive over the course of time) because you commit to working on the connection, remain adaptable to change and put in the effort required to be compatible. When you’re dating, it’s natural to want to put your best foot forward, but you still want to be yourself. If you adjust your behavior too much, you simply won’t be able to keep it up.”
She goes on, saying, “If you’re worried about seeming needy, for example, you might want to look at what you can do to look after yourself (emotionally and practically) while also acknowledging that we all need love and support. You’re going to have emotional and practical needs as the relationship unfolds, so don’t hide your needs in the beginning. When it comes to seeming too available or showing too much interest, I think it’s fine to be honest about what you want. If you’re into someone, let them know. You don’t have to ask them for a lifetime of commitment, but you can let them know that you’re interested in something more longterm.”
“Ask her! [And] notice that I didn’t say accuse or confront,” says psychotherapist Daniel Olavarria, LCSW. “Admittedly, this pattern is a bit odd and it’s easy to let the mind wander when communication gets cut off at the same time each day without any discernible explanation. But the truth is, there is no way for you to know unless you ask her. You might be shocked by how simple her explanation could be. She may enjoy having some down time at the end of the day where she doesn’t have to be ‘on’ by carrying on a conversation. Asking the question of why your communication tends to end at 8:00 P.M. with a genuine sense of curiosity, instead of accusation, can allow you to get more information instead of running around in circles in your own head.”
“That depends on what the signs were that they wanted to get you back in the first place,” notes Olavarria. “Perhaps they are not reaching out to you anymore or, if they are, that the tone of your interactions has shifted toward a more platonic dynamic. They might have moved on to a new relationship or are focused on other things in their life besides dating. If their attention is aimed at things other than your relationship, it may be safe to say that their focus is no longer on getting you back.”
He goes on, asking a question here: “Why do you still find yourself preoccupied with trying to figure out whether or not they want you back? Your question implies that your ex has already tried, unsuccessfully, to get you back. Something told you that getting back together wasn’t a good idea, otherwise you’d be partners again. What has changed? If you feel that you made a mistake by not responding to their past attempts, maybe it’s your turn to make yourself vulnerable by making your case to them. These are some tough questions that you can ask yourself in order to figure out how you would like to move forward.”
To O’Reilly, it sounds like “he’s saying that he’s open to a relationship, but hasn’t decided if he’s open to a relationship with you yet. He’s not saying he isn’t, but he’s not saying he is.”
With this response, she’s under the assumption “he specifically expressed that ‘he is very much the kind of person to make the right time for the right person.’ If it’s the latter, it might be safe to assume that he’s not open to a relationship. Of course, the only way to know is to ask him: ‘Are you open to a relationship?'”
As for Olavarria, he believes it’d be best to “take him at his word.”
“Based on what you shared, it sounds as though he recently had a difficult breakup which had left him wanting to have some time to himself instead of intentionally seeking a new relationship,” he says. “Since the two of you have met, however, he’s enjoying the time that you are spending together. Therefore, as you get to know each other at this early stage of going out on dates, he doesn’t mind making an effort to spend time together which is made clear by the fact that you have been on multiple dates, and have to put in effort to see one another due to the distance. In short, it sounds like he is not on a mission to find a relationship, but that he is open to investing energy into the right relationship should it come along.”
Olavarria thinks this is the perfect opportunity to start things over with a hit of “the reset button.”
“Use this slowing down period as an opportunity to approach the relationship with more patience, and to see whether this girl is someone who you connect with in a more meaningful way,” he suggests. “The two of you can go out on dates, get to know one another, and enjoy that early phase of dating that is thrilling and filled with uncertainty instead of rushing past it. You’ve seen what happens when you rush into a relationship without setting up a solid foundation – don’t make the same mistake twice.”
O’Reilly agrees, noting that there’s no real data that says “moving slowly is more likely to lead to a breakup.” That being said, “if she’s pulling back, I’d ask her what her intentions are, [and] ask her to be specific.”
“In terms of her criticisms of your confidence and overthinking, if you want to work on these things for yourself, I say go for it,” says O’Reilly. “But don’t do it just for her. You definitely don’t want a partner who is critical of you.”
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