Guys Fall in Love With Me Waaay Too Quickly. What Can I Do To Slow Things Down?

Dear Evan,

This is a problem I’ve had ever since I can remember and I know I’m not alone. I tend to attract men who put me on a very high pedestal from which I eventually fall, very hard and very fast. I’m guessing this is because I have some attractive qualities (intelligence, exotic features), and because I fit into a few different categories, which makes it easy for some men to fantasize about me. Then once they get to know the ‘real’ me and realize that I don’t fit the image of the idea woman they’ve projected on me, they dump me. I’m sure that part of their reason for ending it is that I’m going through an insecure period in my life and this is unattractive. Also my insecurity makes me vulnerable to being admired. But I can’t take all the blame. Sometimes their passion is so ridiculously over the top from the start that I’m really at a loss as to where it came from or how to rein it in and, if I’m interested in something long-term, how to turn it into something tenable. I’ve tried telling them that they can’t possibly be in love with me after a week or a month, or I try to slow it down but they’re so aggressive about their admiration, so sure about their affection that they ignore what I say. Plus I don’t force them to slow it down as much as I should because of my insecurity or my own passionate feelings. Then, of course, the moment comes when I fall off the pedestal, which is pretty painful, even when I see it coming. So how do I bring a guy back down to earth the moment I see he’s idealizing me? And if I see long-term potential in a guy how do I get past the pedestal stage? Again: my telling him that he can’t possibly know me doesn’t seem to make a difference. So what can I do to gain some control over the situation? Should I for instance refuse to be in a relationship with the person until they know me as a friend? Should I immediately list all my faults for them (maybe a spreadsheet might help)? How do I get them to see the real me rather than blindly opening my heart to them, hoping that this time things will be different? And by the way, it never is—I always think I’ve finally met the exception but I’m always wrong.

Kara

Which just goes to reinforce my same old point about chemistry – it’s an illusion, a projection, and a fantasy.

No spreadsheets, Kara. But everything else you’re saying really does strike a chord.

I discussed how difficult dating could be for attractive women last year, but this situation is different. Because you’re not complaining about men being intimidated by you; you’re complaining that their heads are in the clouds. And rightfully so. Which just goes to reinforce my same old point about chemistry – it’s an illusion, a projection, and a fantasy. It’s not that the feeling isn’t real or amazing; it’s that it’s so powerful as to blind you to reality. Chemistry is what allows women to put up with abusive, non-committal men, and what allows men to put up with selfish, high-maintenance women.

Alas, you can’t help it when someone feels chemistry for you. All you can do is attempt to manage it realistically.

Your observation about a man putting you up on a pedestal is reminiscent of my own Pedestal Principle, which I explain in Volume 4 of Finding the One Online: “Once you put someone up on a pedestal, he is immediately looking down at you.” Talk about a lose/lose scenario. Not only do you feel uncomfortable being idealized, but you lose respect for the person idealizing you.

“Once you put someone up on a pedestal, he is immediately looking down at you.”

Your instincts about how to handle this, Kara, seem to be admirable. You remind all of our readers that beautiful women have a really hard time connecting with men because men are so blinded by their beauty that they can’t see the rest of the picture clearly. What these men don’t understand is that beautiful women don’t want fans or admirers; they want partners to see them, in full, as they are. I learned this the hard way – having put a woman up on a pedestal for upwards of 15 years. She not only lost her attraction to me, but it took me many years and a lot of heartbreak to realize that she wasn’t as great as I thought she was. She even TOLD me this, but I wouldn’t listen. So I really get the concept behind wanting to offer full disclosure about your imperfections as soon as possible. However, full disclosure is inorganic and clunky. You don’t tell someone on date 1 that you’re on Prozac or that you’re prone to fits of jealousy. Such things are revealed in the dating process so that they’re more easily digested.

But no matter how you play it, Kara, it will take a special guy to handle you – one who is not blinded by beauty, or rendered foolish in the face of brilliance. This man will reveal himself in how gracefully he treats you – not in how much he kisses your ass when he’s out to dinner with you. Any man who starts with the pedestal stuff will immediately eliminate himself. As for your role in this – I would give you the same advice I just gave to my amazing intern: be a woman. A real, stand-up, authentic, no-longer-a-girl, honest-to-goodness woman. It’s not about being in control, or putting your cards out on the table, or setting arbitrary rules on the pace of your relationship. It’s about communicating fearlessly, because you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

When a guy starts to get all ga-ga; you let him know that you think he’s amazing, but ga-ga’s not going to work. You’ll lose respect for him and you don’t want to do that. Ask him to treat you the way he’d treat his best girl friend. With respect and kindness and chivalry. Ask him to go slow – not because you’re unattracted to him – but because you have seen your own tendency to dive in fast. The right guy will play it at your pace because he has something very real to gain.

Still, not every guy will pass this test of treating you as an equal. And when they don’t, you must be strong enough to walk away from these dead-end scenarios – forgoing the ego boost of having an admirer – and investing your time only in men who know what to do with a beautiful woman.

Trust me, there are a few of us left…

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Comments:

  1. 1
    starthrower68

    Where are they, Evan? I have had men call me “attractive”, “beautitul”, etc. I don’t know that I live up to that but that’s another discussion. What I’m saying is, it seems most of the men are either one extreme or the other; just not that into you or just want to smother you. I’m not man-bashing because I’m sure there are good guys out there. A happy medium would be nice to find.

  2. 2
    Honey

    I could relate to this, although the gist of the advice seems to be “hang in there,” which can be very frustrating. I had lots of guys tell me that they were “falling for me” on date three. My solution (albeit a flawed one) was to dump them immediately (I was in my early twenties). It was just such an attraction killer there was no point in pretending I could continue.

    I did at that time have a rule of 1 date per week for at least the first month – no more, no less. 2 dates per week in the second month, etc. It was helpful at wading in slowly, though I must admit that I threw it out the window the instant I met the BF because we both “just knew.”

  3. 3
    Steve

    Kara;
    I knew a woman back in college who had the exact same problem as you do.
    She was my LAST crush…ever. Like many men and women I was in love with the idea of being in love and not the actual person. I lived in a fantasy world until reality, reasserted itself, as it always will. I was hurt so bad I swore I would never let myself fall for an image of my own creation again.
    I also got to know my crush as a friend.
    Like you she had a mix of qualities that attracted a LOT of men and a LOT of the kind of men who love to build up and fall in love with an image of their own making versus the actual making.
    Eventually reality would assert itself to these men. They would get hurt. They would get angry. A few would obsessive/stalkerish. Most would say mean, angry things to my friend.
    This had a devastating effect on my friends emotional health. She felt (wrongfully) guilty and beleaguered.
    The bottom line is you have to remind yourself of a few things, forcefully and repetitively until it sinks in and feels real.
    1. You can not control these men.
    2. If they create fantasies in your image you can’t stop them.
    3. It is their problem.
    The best you can (and should) do is to tell them once honestly that you think they are falling for their fantasies, not you, that it makes you uncomfortable and that you don’t want to be around them.
    Eventually you will meet emotionally mature men who will appreciate you for you what are.
    There is no way around butching up, getting over your insecurity, telling the other type of guys how it is and moving on from them.
    If you don’t, you are going to get emotionally pummeled like my college friend did.

  4. 4
    Chanel

    I’m in the same boat, and I’m a 41-year-old mom, lol!

    I’m probably not as attractive as the OP, but I look like I’m 28, and I act like I’m 15… and I tend to spark feelings of “chemistry” and connection in people right off the bat.

    So yes, I get put on the pedestal, too. Man thinks I’m great, chases hard, and I can tell he’s replacing what he doesn’t know about me with fantasies of his own. By the time I can feel that I’ve fallen off the pedestal, I’ve started to get attached to the dude.

    I used to try to hang on and try to fix things and patch things up, but now I know this doesn’t work.

    This is a very painful moment because I tend to respond to it by wondering what the hell made me fall off the pedestal. Was it something I said? Am I a bad kisser? Maybe I need a tummy tuck… It’s really hard on my self esteem.

    So here’s how I’ve changed my strategy. I’m not sure it will work or not, but at least I feel like I’m doing something to improve the situation:

    a. I’m really paying attention to whether or not the guy is trying to get to know ME, or making assumptions about me. If I sense a guy is trying to interview me about whether or not I would qualify for the job of being his wife (happens quite a bit when I date someone in their 50s), while not really caring about getting to know me, I don’t usually go on a second date.

    b. I don’t get intimate with a guy unless I feel reasonably sure that he “gets” the real me and likes that person.

  5. 5
    Paul

    I think younger guys with all the testosterone flowing really get it in their heads that you are the perfect woman…in bed mostly. It fits into their own preconceived notion about what they want…the hottness mainly because we men tend to think how great it would be to have sex with you first, and the rest we can deal with later, or will just kinda work itself out. It’s all about romance and sex at that point, and making you their own. Men really are more passionate than women are. It’s possessiveness at it’s finest. I don’t know how old you are but you might want to try older more mature men, because I don’t think you’re going to get around men falling head over heals for you. The best you can do is to just be real, tone down the hottness a little (if you’re out there with hardly anything on and are wondering why men are going goo goo ga ga over you it’s your own fault for not knowing what skin does to a man) and just be you…the real you.

  6. 6
    Andy

    Hmmmm….interesting topic. I will say though the pendulam swings both ways. Women say that they want e real man that is attracted to who they are, not what they look like. Well to be honest, in my experience women who are 9 or 10s don’t date guys who are a 7. That’s just the way it is. Sure you’ll find the occasional exception to the rule, but for the most part, attractive people seem to have that same quality. The quality that could be decribed as…well…arrogant.
    In this world of online dating, all of men and womens choices on who they respond to are all based on looks. That’s the cold hard facts. You can write the best email in the world, but if you don’t have the looks to go along with it, you’ll never get a response. So the beautiful people are stuck with each other and they all complain about the character flaws that they themselves have.

  7. 7
    starthrower68

    With all due repsect, Paul, I think it’s unfair to assume that Kara is dressing in a provacative manner and that it’s HER fault for the reaction she’s getting. The assumption about older men is not necessarily correct either; I’ve had older men react to me the same way, and I can assure you that I don’t do anything to encourage it.

  8. 8
    Angie

    My friends and I call the type of guy you’re describing a “Front Loader”, the “Two Week Guy,” or the “Future Talker.” This is the guy who is calling, emailing, and texting all the time to say how wonderful you are, how glad he is you met, and all the great things you’re going to do together. This guy comes on really strong for a few weeks and then dumps you as soon as you show interest. I think it’s because he’s unhealthy, likes the chase, but then doesn’t like any woman who will have him. Maybe it’s low self-esteem, short attention span, or the fact that he just wants a new challenge.
    I try to recognize it and label these guys as who they are. Take what they say and do with a grain of salt. The only way you know if he’s a keeper is over time. It’s hard, and I often fall for it anyway. That’s why dating is so tough. Even when you think you might have met “the one,” most of the time it doesn’t work out.

  9. 9
    starthrower68

    Angie, that’s if you can keep from getting creeped out. The guys who say they’re in love with you after 2-3 weeks – especially if the only contact you’ve had is online – are kinda scary.

  10. 10
    Diana

    I sense the writer enables the men to put her on a pedestal, and she likes the initial thrill and passion of the experience. When she’s ready to be real and step down from high above, understandably, they’re still going full speed ahead in chasing the dream that she helped to create, and her sudden turnabout is what sends them away.
    To ask a guy to go slow, because she has a tendency to go too fast, is to put the responsibility on him. She could also slow herself down, and try to understand herself on a deeper level to learn what it is within her that seeks this kind of attention.
    We attract what we create. If you want the men to take you more seriously vs. a beautiful, fantasy goddess of perfection, then be more real from the beginning. This doesn’t mean airing all your laundry. Maybe it’s being more down-to-earth?
    Of course, this won’t stop all of the starry-eyed gazing and falling all over themselves that some men are bound to do in your presence, but it’s your initial reaction to them which can help to temper their actions, and by doing so, prevent your heartache later on. Mature men will appreciate your beauty and act appropriately, with a little guidance from you. ;)

  11. 11
    hunter

    Telling a woman you are in love with her, sometimes, earns a man time in the sack.

  12. 12
    hunter

    Andy, a female 9 or 10 will date a male 7, if she is financially challenged.

  13. 13
    Anisa

    Quote of Evan: “” and investing your time only in men who know what to do with a beautiful woman.

    Trust me, there are a few of us left “”

    A FEW!!! What are you saying Evan?

  14. 14
    mic

    Everyone seems to agree that her appearance is contributing to the situation. Then it’s something she probably should address (in a way that’s more sensible than making herself unattractive). This company only works with men and she was vague on what she looks like, but Kara can go through aici.org and find an image consultant near her who might be able to help. Don’t expect it to nearly eliminate the ardor, though. Broken record – until there is more equality among people in physical attractiveness, e.g., reasonable effort as the norm, women like Kara will experience the dark side of being pretty.

  15. 15
    Sayanta

    Paul-

    I don’t know if you’re the same Paul from other posts- but it’s strange that your advice – in a nutshell- to women always seems to be ‘date old dudes.’

  16. 16
    Karl R

    Paul said: (#5)
    “you might want to try older more mature men”

    Having observed men pursuing women, I’m not sure that “older” and “more mature” are closely linked. I’ve seen lots of older men (50s, 60s and 70s) pursue cute young women that they don’t have a chance with.

    Kara might do substantially better with more mature men, but that should be true regardless of their chronological age.

  17. 17
    Ava

    In my experience, this is a common scenario. Men are so “in the moment”. I’ve had plenty of relationships where the man started out completely smitten, and in two or three or four months’ time, things crash and burn. It’s a dilemma, and I haven’t figured it out myself. But I do know it’s up to the woman to set the pace. She says “my insecurity makes me vulnerable to being admired”, so perhaps she’s not heading men off and slowing things down because she like the validation and attention. If most relationships don’t work out, how do we “manage” that? Plenty of men act like they want a relationship, but get scared once they’re in one, and some are just looking for fun and sex. Once they get it, they’re gone. All any woman can do is be true to herself, and her own needs. Yeah, where ARE those men who know what to do with an attractive, smart woman…?

  18. 18
    Curly Girl

    I’m wondering if what Kara is encountering is guys who fetishize her because of those things about her that, as she puts it, fit “into a few categories.” If she has a very distinctive look (as she alludes to in her email), I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this is what is going on. If so, the situation would have nothing to do with her at all. If a guy fetishizes your “type,” (blondes and Asians being two of the main “categories” that are popular among the fetishizers), then all you can do is screen carefully and be ultra picky. Tough when you want to be with someone! Maybe seek out your equivalent in a guy–he won’t be so quick to fall if he is your peer.

  19. 19
    hunter

    Ava, there is nothing wrong with being in a 3-4 month long, relationship.

  20. 20
    mic

    Maybe Karl will agree – time probably weeds out from the singles market many of the less superficial (and more mature) men.

  21. 21
    A-L

    Mic,
    Are you saying that as time goes by the less superficial and more mature men get snapped up and therefore there aren’t as many of them to date? Or are you saying that the superficial and immature men will have so little dating success that they won’t even bother to date, leaving only the less superficial and more mature men? Or are you saying something else entirely?

  22. 22
    mic

    The men who aren’t particularly superficial usually can get into long-term relationships with women they desire. Men who are too superficial for their own good either cannot or do but then leave when the looks fade and subsequently experience that kind of discrimination. There also are the players, of course.

  23. 23
    hunter

    Men that get into relationships/date often, they, “ALL,” get caught in that female web. If not for a lifetime, for a good chunk of their lives, 20-30 years…I’ve seen it happen….

  24. 24
    Dare

    WOW…do I have to comment on this. I’ve always had the tendency to put the “beautiful” girls I’m attracted to on pedestals. Why? Because 1) I’m an optimist and believe the best in people 2) it’s been stuck in my character trait of being the nice-provider-classy guy and 3) MANY beautiful women are used to using their alluring POWER to woo-captivate-charm me. I now recognize this more as I get a little older and wiser. They’re using the most powerful trait (looks and sexuality) to their best advantage. I’ve felt like Superman and they’re my Kriptonite (my feeling weak, forgetting logic, and being overcome by their sex appeal.) These girls’ insecurities also cause them to COVET attention-admiration from everyone and anyone. It’s their way of feeling good-wanted-desired that fuels this very behavior. As this beauty starts to slip due to age or weight, these girls become even more obsessive about their beauty or looks and their ability to keep attracting new men. These are just MY observations on about 10 or so beautiful girls and my relationships/friendships. Usually, my attention and commitment is NEVER enough because they require MORE and MORE attention from others (usally guys) to feel validated. So then, some of the RESPONSIBILITY may actually rest with this particular girl, who would have thought?

  25. 25
    lorihaah4

    Kara – i’ll share with you what ive shared with my friends from years of observing people and relationships (im married, fascinated by all i continue to learn about myself and others and am intrigued by interpersonal relationships) – a few of my girlfriends have had the SAME problem as you – i think much of it has to do with exactly what evan describes, but from what i have seen, much also has to do with an instinctual ‘hunt, chase, kill’ thrill of the moment mentality of men, and woman becoming vulnerable to this expression and feeling of love and opening up too quickly and accepting what they hear – without also requiring the actions to back the words. From what i see, my friends will buy into the projection and admiration too quickly, bare their soles, admit their love or at least create, in their minds, an instant relationship of sorts – and the man realizes he doesnt have the mystery or any fun of ‘finding out new exciting things’ from the woman anymore – i think it is VERY important, no matter how crazy you may be about the man in return, to STILL remain independent, still maintain high standards (ie.. not allowing text declarations of admiration only etc.. but knowing if a man truly is interested he will CALL and want to SEE you often) – staying calm, cool and fun, but also remaining a little bit mysterious – NOT IN A GAME PLAYING WAY… but in a ‘this woman is amazing and i want to get to know her over and over again..’ and she is spontanneous, yet stable, fun yet knows what she wants, she is great to be with, but she is OK TO BE ALONE, she is beautiful, but humble, she is human, has faults but is good with herself, she is receptive to love, but doesnt NEED someone to complete her… but instead someone to complement her as a partner.. maybe you are doing ALL these things and it is the men you are meeting that are players or commitent phobic – but from what i have experience witnessing – my friends get too tied up with a mans words too quickly also, they are too receptive too quickly, the men realize the woman lost herself into the relationship too quickly (again, what your doing has to reflect what your saying also as a woman – you can say ‘i need to take it slow’ but then call the man too often, and start pursuing HIM).. i think Evans Mirroring is the BEST advice i have ever seen on the subject and i refer my friends often to the article. Also, be yourself, dont get lost in the initial PEA hormone induced moment, savor the passion but stay realistic. I tell my friends to ACCEPT from a man no less than they would expect from me as a friend – too require the same mutual, respecful treatment.

  26. 26
    Ava

    hunter #19

    Ava, there is nothing wrong with being in a 3-4 month long, relationship.
    Not a question of wrong or right, but ultimately frustrating if you are looking for something long-term.

  27. 27
    Chanel

    Hi Dare,

    I’m reading your post and can identify with some of what you are saying.

    I’d like to comment on this part:

    “Usually, my attention and commitment is NEVER enough because they require MORE and MORE attention from others (usally guys) to feel validated. ”

    Don’t you think happens in both genders? How about cute guys who thrive on the attention they get from women? How about cheaters of both genders who say they cheated because they weren’t getting enough attention from their partners and felt neglected.

    If this is a pattern for you, could it be that somehow, after the initial chase, you stop giving your partner as much time/attention?

  28. 28
    hunter

    Ava, I see what you are saying. I have known women to be very smart, bright, intelligent beings. As adults, most women, find solutions to their frustrations.

  29. 29
    hunter

    Lorihaah4, such a wonderful dissertation you wrote. Might I add that, most of what you wrote, changes/no longer applies/ceases to be, in a relationship at the 3-4 month level. Most men hope and pray, a woman will remain the same person we met.

  30. 30
    JuJu

    starthrower (# 7),

    and what if she is?? How on Earth does it make it her <b>fault</b>?

    I am personally of the opinion, if you got it – flaunt it.

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