Are You Pressing Fast-Forward On Your Love Life?

I spoke with my client, Jessica, the other day, for our weekly coaching session.

When we started on the 8-week Passion Course, Jessica was despondent.

Actually, she was past despondent. She was MISERABLE.

She had just come off of a first online date in which she learned that the man was a former felon (or, as she calls him: “a murderer”).

She had a man who was crazy about her and she didn’t want to get hurt. Suddenly there were REAL stakes involved.

I spent an entire session talking Jessica off the ledge, reminding her that this bad experience was no reason to quit, reassuring her that there are quality men just like her out there.

For a cute, 32-year-old professional with no small amount of ego, Jessica found this very hard to believe. Especially given her recent dating experience.

She wanted to quit.

“Sorry,” I told her. “I don’t do quitters.”

I asked her to take a leap of faith that I knew what I was talking about – that I wasn’t some sort of professional charlatan selling false hope to lonely women.

Really. I’m not!

Jessica took the leap of faith.

Three weeks later, she had a boyfriend. No kidding.

The point of this email is not to explain to you HOW she got him. (After all, if you wanted to learn, you’d have gotten Finding the One Online already.)

The point is that Jessica now had a bigger problem than dating a murderer.

She had a man who was crazy about her and she didn’t want to get hurt.

Suddenly there were REAL stakes involved.

There were feelings. There was something to lose.

I have this some version of this conversation with my coaching clients every day, and it’s always a very slight variation on the same theme.

You meet a “great guy”.

You “want to know where things are going”…

…so that you “don’t waste your time”

…on a man “who may not want to commit”

…and has the “potential to hurt you” just like your last boyfriend.

And because of all of these fears, you immediately start tensing up, looking for red flags, trying to get clarity, making sure the other shoe doesn’t drop.

Suddenly, the excitement and passion of new love is replaced by…

“How come your profile is still up?”

“I haven’t heard from you all day, is everything okay?”

“When do you see yourself having kids?”

“Do you have a good relationship with your exes? Why did you break up?”

“Let’s talk about ‘us’…”

Your pure intention is to protect yourself from getting hurt.

Just as you would run from the man who wants to marry you right away, we flee from women who want to know the future before we even know it.

But what HE sees is an interrogation about his character and your future – from a woman that he’s known for less than a month.

Very quickly, your relationship turns from fun and playful to fearful and intense.

And why?

Because you expect him to know after a few weeks that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you and that he’s never going to leave you.

 Can you see how unfair that is? Can you see how unrealistic that is?

Commitment is serious, and it’s impossible for a reasonable man with any integrity or life experience to definitively tell you that he’ll love you forever.

That’s why he’s dating you – to figure out over the next few years whether you’re “the one” before he proposes. Asking – or expecting – your man to make a promise that he can’t keep is essentially asking him to do one of two things:

1)   Lie to you – “Yes, I love you and will never even think of another woman!”

2)   Leave – because the pressure is too great and it’s not worth his time to put up with someone who makes such unreasonable demands.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t expect a ring after 2-3 years.

In fact, you should definitely walk away if your relationship isn’t growing and escalating and providing you with the security you desire.

All I’m saying is that if you want to make it to 2-3 years, you have to allow him to fall in love with you organically.

You can’t protect yourself from ever being hurt by asking for answers too early.

Just as you would run from the man who wants to marry you right away, we flee from women who want to know the future before we even know it.

So just sit back, enjoy the ride, and realize that the right man will WANT to commit to you by his own volition.

You don’t have to DO anything to make it happen.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Michelle

    Evan,
    Ladies this is a story about not giving up like Evan says.
    I am 45 years old and have two daughters, 19 and 23 (and a grandchild on the way!) this is my story.
    I have used many of the techniques I learned from your e books and your daily blogs. I once tried e harmony but found it tedious. Then last summer, with the pushing of my 19 year old daughter, tried a different website specifically for single parents. After six months there were a lot of emails back and forth between many men but nothing promising.
    In early January my six month renewal was coming up and I was not going to renew, but with the prodding of my daughter and reading your articles I though, ok I will try another six months. I sent several emails to men and after about 3 weeks I had a great response from one of the men. We emailed for about a month before we then went to phone calls, then to meeting in person with our teens. Long story short, you were right! when a man wants to be your boyfriend, you will find out very quickly, often within 1-2 months. Well within 1 month (or last week) he said he wants us to be exclusive and things are going very well and he is normal and fantastic to me. I know this comment is long, but for all of you out there, Evan is right about how a man thinks. I may have initiated the contact and participated, but I let him be the man and drive the bus (so to speak) now he can’t get enough of me. Just don’t give up, took me about three years since my last relationship but Evan’s advise is right on the money.
    Thanks again Evan for all your advise
    Michelle (Sacramento, CA)

  2. 2
    Some other Steve

    “Former felon”? Isn’t that like saying “former veteran”? :-)

  3. 3
    helene

    I realise it doesn’t help us women to be “effective daters” to say this, but it has to be said that if men get weary of women being twitchy like this around them in the early stages of dating, then they only have themselves to blame! Guys, you wanna keep your options open, keep your profile up, be vague about your whereabouts when we’re not around… then you have to suck it up! Every action creates a reaction…

  4. 4
    Gina

    Thanks for sharing your story, Michelle! Mine is somewhat similar. As Evan said, and it is SO true: when a man wants to be your boyfriend, he will most certainly let you know it!! I followed Evan’s advice, and found a wonderful man who treats me like gold. 

  5. 5
    Teri

    This blog could not have come at a better time. All of the worries Evan spoke about came to a head the other day when I asked my boyfriend if we were exclusive. Sudden tensing up should have closed my mouth but I pushed on…I reread Why He Disappeared and realized I needed to relax a bit. I’m 51 have never been married and fear that age will make me unattractive so I want to know all now. Wrong idea for men! He is a wonderful man and I’m hoping that I did not scare him off too bad. Since “the talk”, I have kept my distance, no texting or calling and I am letting him steer the conversation and boat. We will see what happens but I am for sure taking a step back, being cool and being feminine. Thanks for your help!

  6. 6
    JB

    “Three weeks later, she had a boyfriend” ??

    Just curious Evan as to how exactly someone gets from “hello” on a meet & greet to “boyfriend/girlfriend” in 3 weeks? Especially doing online dating. Seems very fast to me. How many dates or hours spent with someone can you have in 3 weeks to make that decision? 6-9 dates tops? That’s on the high side. I’m guessing you mean they both took their profiles down and said they’d only be dating each other etc…? I guess it’s just semantics on my part. Am I crazy?

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      When a guy really likes a girl and the girl really likes him back, they become exclusive pretty much right away. There’s not much to think about when you find someone you click with.

  7. 7
    Brenda

    I can second Evan’s response as well as Gina and Michelle’s comments above. My fiancé pretty much locked me up with exclusivity within the first 3-4 weeks, then proposed at almost six months and we will marry at 1 year and four months which is October. Lest anyone think we are young -we are 55 years old.  When you know, you know! I never believed that until it happened to me.

    And all because of Evan’s help too because I did what he told me to do – widen my net with online dating and have fun, and just let things happen!

  8. 8
    Gina

    @ Evan: you are 100% spot on!

  9. 9
    AS

    A great reminder for all the singletons out there! It is challenging not to rush the process when you are keen to meet the one. But ultimately letting a relationship develop organically, gives you both the time, space and opportunity to work out whether you are really compatible, or just getting carried away on the initial high you feel when you meet someone that you really like. 
     
     

  10. 10
    Karl R

    helene said: (#3)
    “if men get weary of women being twitchy like this around them in the early stages of dating, then they only have themselves to blame! Guys, you wanna keep your options open, keep your profile up, be vague about your whereabouts when we’re not around…”

    You’re acting like these things only go one direction.

    My first serious girlfriend, after about 6 months or so, decided she’d broken up with her ex for the wrong reasons. She dumped me the day before Valentine’s Day.

    My second serious girlfriend, after two months of having sex, decided that she wasn’t comfortable with having sex in the relationship.

    Another girlfriend one was enthusiastic right up to the point where I told her that I wanted to date exclusively. Then she implied that I’d been reading too much into what she had said. Fortunately I’d saved our emails. While her attitude toward me had certainly changed, she’d expressed that high level of interest very clearly at the start. It was nice to know that I wasn’t imagining things.

    In fact, I can come up with some story for the majority women who made it past the first date.

    And if that’s not evidence enough, the last woman I dated explicitly told me that she was not interested in having a serious relationship with me. She’s now my fiancée.

    Men and women face a high degree of uncertainty throughout the early stages of dating. So instead of blaming men for your feelings of uncertainty, you might find it a bit more useful to investigate why men don’t act on those feelings in the same way that you do.

    1. It’s counterproductive. If I try to get the woman to commit before she’s ready, I’m going to come across as inexperienced and insecure.

    2. If I’m patient and wait long enough, she will tell me where she wants this relationship to go.

    The uncertainty sucks. It sucks for men too. But you can either adapt to the situation, or you can keep complaining that it’s not changing more to your liking.

    Men don’t complain women being twitchy. We dump the ones who are. Just like you dump the men who are twitchy. And you feel like you dodged a bullet when you do.

  11. 11
    Laine

    Evan @ 7. I have found this to be true and is a good indicator for the most part until my recent experience. Met a man online, after 8 weeks became exclusive. 8 months later, still going strong and spending 4 to 5 nights a week together, involved with each others family, two overseas trips planned together, only to find out he had another life dating many women, meeting and communicating online and attending singles nights, speed dating etc. How he managed to keep this from me for so long Ill never know. At least I found out now rather than in another 2 or 3 years.

  12. 12
    mary

    had been dating someone for 3 yrs we broke up 3 days ltr back again then come wkend don’t see him …what gives went to his house saw comp on & open sure enough had match.com ad, and was on speed date!

    we broke up he said invaded his privacy used it as an excuse..whatever he’d invaded mine too—very sad had very real feelings for this guy …thght he was the “one”  

    so tired of this …in this computer age …people treating each other like transients! 

  13. 13
    sthrnphoenix

    @ Laine:  I’m sorry for you.  Unfortunately, there are some people in the world that don’t look on things the same as the rest of us.  It sounds like you met one those that lack decency.  Don’t let it stop you; someone right will come along if you keep working on it.

  14. 14
    Laine

    Phoenix-I actually don’t look at this as a negative. It was a very interesting learning experience. I learned a lot more about myself and how I contribute my own energy in attracting a guy with certain qualities that dont in the end serve me well. I dumped him, put my profile back up and am looking forward to the next chapter. All is well in my world. Thanks for your comment. :)

  15. 15
    morgan

    Laine @ 12

    You’ve lived my worst nightmare.   So sorry you’ve had to go through that.  It must shake your faith.  I hope you’re okay.

    Can I ask how old the beastard is?  In retrospect, were there any clues you didn’t pick up on?  What was his relationship history?  Not querying your situation specifically, more interested generally how we can miss this stuff.  

    m

  16. 16
    Laine

    Hes 50. Divorced 4 years. I felt it was strange that he didnt have any pics of us together on Facebook. When he posted pics of a trip we went on together, it looked like he had gone on the trip alone. When I asked about this, he said he had ex girlfriends and an ex wife on his friends list and was mindful of hurting their feelings.

    Seems my feeelings weren’t  a priority.

    I caught him out on a lie very early on. It wasnt an important issue, so I let it go. 

    He was cheap,always insisting 50/50 for everything. A family member of mine offered us the use of her apartment on Sydney harbour. We had the place to ourselves for a week and he never even paid for my coffee let alone a meal.  

    His main communication during the week was via text, only telephoning once to talk in person. We saw each other from Fri night through to Monday morning, so I didnt feel this was an issue.   

        

  17. 17
    Susan61

    The last relationship I had occurred just as I was exiting a 4.5 year relationship.  I was head over heels for the new guy and to make matters worse, we worked together part time (not in an office setting).  Since I had not dated in almost 6 years, I was “rusty” and just assumed he felt the same way (he certainly seemed to really dig me in the beginning).  He told our mutual colleague after breaking up with me that I wanted “way too much way too soon” because he kept calling me a “friend” and I asked him if that was all we were, after a couple of months (we had become intimate at that point).  In retrospect I wish I had just kept my mouth shut, had been less available and did not pursue him (which regrettably, in a way, I did).  One of the bigger mistakes of my life and I was 46, he was 48. Our mutual colleague tells me that he would have dumped me anyway, he dumps most everyone as he awaits his 15 years younger supermodel girlfriend to materialize but it still was a huge and very painful lesson to learn, again. 
     
    It’s a very tenuous game we play, this dating thing.  One false move and attraction can be killed, it’s that simple.

  18. 18
    Michelle

    Susan61, sorry about the tough lesson, I think we have ALL had them.  I think the ‘one false move’ thing actually is not accurate.  This guy was not commitment material, he wanted a sexual relationship (he had sexual attraction) and that’s what he got..  I think the ‘mistake’ here was not knowing exactly what you wanted (you probably didn’t know) and communicating that right from the beginning–without asking ANYTHING from him.  He would either be in or out. 

    Sounds like this was a GREAT learning experience in multiple ways.  It also sounds like you dodged a big bullet here, he doesn’t sound like a mature, relationship ready man–which you may be looking for.

  19. 19
    Susan61

    Michelle, I think he is commitment material but not with me, or maybe he was burned by his divorce.  He does dream of a much younger woman (I know from his online dating ads).  I do think things were too intense too quickly and I deeply regret that.  I know from my own experience that if a guy comes on too strong it can be a turn off.  When we first met in “real life” there was instant attraction which developed over a period of months – which to me is the best way to meet someone, rather than online – but he was just out of a relationship as well.  I did know what I wanted but I was so happy to be with him and the intense feelings just convinced me “this was it!”.  NOT.  
     
    I think it is a relationship killer to ask a man from the beginning “what do you want, where is this going, where do I stand”.  We did discuss that we were exclusive – only dating each other – after we became intimate.  So I was hopefully optimistic and then when he asked me to join him on his vacation a month in advance of his departure, I felt buoyed – he was making future plans, we were on the right track.  Shortly before the vacation, he broke up with me.  *sigh*.  
     
    It is comforting to think that I dodged a bullet and after three years, I have finally stopped blaming myself (well, almost).

  20. 20
    Michelle

    Susan61, I can’t agree with you more that you don’t ask a man about HIS attitude, what he wants and ESPECIALLY where is this going.  Actually what I’m saying is the exact opposite.  That as women, we have to clearly know what we want (i.e. committed relationship vs. just dating around) and then be confident enough to express that and NOT accept anything less.  These are sometimes not easy things to do when we are caught up in the chemistry.  I’m not saying to be a bitch or anything, I’m saying to be confident in the woman you are, what you have to offer, what you deserve and what you want.  This has to come from inside.

    In your original post you said ‘you assumed he felt the same way’, and then he kept calling you a ‘friend’ and you asked him if that’s all you were, and then the colleague saying he would have ‘dumped’ you anyway (other people tend to see things we can’t see for ourselves). 

    Not sure why you’re saying he’s commitment material based on the colleagues’ comment that he dumps everyone while he waits for the supermodel girlfriend (dreaming?).  Just being out of a relationship also is a red flag…beware.

    It sounds to me like you are still blaming yourself when really, you went on good faith (and not a lot of experience, and I’ll tell you, we’ve all been there, if we didn’t go through these things, how would we learn?) and sounds like he wasn’t being very honest and upfront (not great character) and wasn’t that great of a catch. 

    Let me tell you this, when there’s a man who is of good maturity and character, who is relationship ready, and is really into you, there’s very little you could say or do to drive him away.  In addition, when you’re with a man like there, you are not ‘hopefully’ anything, he does everything he needs to do to make you feel included in his life and how he feels about you, no wondering.  It really isn’t as fragile as you were indicating, UNLESS he’s not really into you.  Believe me, I understand how you feel, just trying to give you a different perspective.

    One final thing, the thing with dating is thing can change pretty suddenly.  Very disappointing, and it’s common.

  21. 21
    Susan61

    Thanks for the pep talk, Michelle, that is helpful.  This failed relationship definitely tested my confidence and it certainly doesn’t help that I see this man for work on a semi-frequent basis.  The longest period apart was 5 weeks, not long enough.  If that were not the case, I am quite sure I would not be posting about him – he would be a memory of “oh yeah, that guy I dated”.  I guess I consider him commitment material because he was married and that relationship lasted something like 8 years.  I did make mistakes but don’t we all.  It does come down to “he was just not that into me” which is painful but someday this will all be that bittersweet memory.  

  22. 22
    susan

    Three weeks later she had a boyfriend. If you just click with someone you get exclusive pretty early.
    Hmmm so actually it probably doesn’t matter how each of us act.  Twitchy, needy, aloof – the reality is that if two people like each other it’s gonna happen.  ie if someone is really into you, you can’t really do anything wrong?

    The other conclusions i draw from this
    - just becuase he says he doesn’t want a relationship doesn’t mean its true
    - just becuase she says she does doesn’t mean its WITH YOU
    - probably doesn’t matter where you have sex either (ie timing not location) …becuase if you’re into each other it’s going to work out anyway
    - sometimes I don’t want a relationship means ”i don’t want a relationship WITH YOU
    - much as we can admire a car/house/piece of jewellery and think its amazing, it doesn’t mean we want to buy it. similarly we can think someone is AMAZING, fabulous etc but that doesn’t mean we want a relationship with them.

    pretty simple really.

  23. 23
    judy

    Karl 11 – I enjoyed that.
    Here is my latest experience which rather made me laugh actually.  The guy on the first date said (talking about photography), ye Gods but you have to take at least 600 pictures to get 3 that you might even like.  He then added that he had many girlfriends and had had relationships (??) with them for 20 years.  Methinks that he could have commitment issues (:o).
    I have had a man fall “madly” in love with me.  Madly is the right word.  On the second date, (it might have been the first or third) he bought me a Teddy Bear with “I love you” on it.  I ran like hell.

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