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…

4
5

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Comments:

  1. 31
    lorihaah4

    hunter @29 – you have a valid point – ive seen it happen over and over again w friends and try to remind them, tell them ‘girls dont call boys etc… and yet they will start to reverse pursuit..wtf?? I can attest tho – there are a few women left out there that remain EXACTLY the same – problem then becomes that the man then falls hard, stays committed and in love, and the woman gets bored. Ha ha.

  2. 32
    Mikko Kemppe - Relationship Coach

    Great topic and a lot of great answers, I particularly like Diana’s reply on # 10 and Lorihaah # 25. I also agree with Evan about that this type of initial passion, which I would call infatuation, does not last in a relationship and often blinds us from reality.
    And I have met and know plenty of good looking, handsome, and attractive men who can see past the initial beauty of attractiveness of a women whom are in the market to take the time to find the right one for them, so I don’t think this is the problem here either. But this is not to minimize Kara’s experience, as I know finding the right one can be frustrating and not always easy.

  3. 33
    Dope

    Honesty in relationships and Idealism versus Realism are some topics I’ve been exploring on my blog recently, too. It’s important to be both honest and realistic, but to have your realism informed by idealism, I think.

    The spreadsheet idea was pretty great though, even if, as you say, it’s inorganic and clunky. The idea of a girl passing me a USB key with a list of her faults on it to read before she’d consider dating me cracks me up.

  4. 34
    JerseyGirl

    Wow, alot of the guys seem hard on the OP for no reason at all.

    Alot of these guys that are putting her on a pedestal sound very unstable and immature.

  5. 35
    Veronika

    Kara’s email and Paul’s reply (#5) reminded me of the guy I “tried to work it out” last December. I know him for three years, we had the attraction ever since we met. It’s that one of us was always taken.
    So in november we happened to become free and met, and it clicked immediately – the kind of relationship where you don’t care of taking slow because it’s just “perfect”. Although I reminded him how heart broken I was.
    He fell in love. We had talks about it, how I don’t take it easily that he idolises me, how I can’t handle him trying to own me too soon after a guy I loved dumped me without a word (well, he was heart broken too t the time thus he said he cannot commit, he’s “too scared, too cautious” and “if he has feelings for his ex it’s just not right”).
    My man seemed to understand than he turned around 180 degrees. He was fighting over everything, mostly about my friends, not seeing me enough (4 days a week) – he was invited to occasions by my friends who wanted to meet him and he turned it down saying my friends are more important to me….
    I really wanted it to work with him because he is an amazing person inside and out, funny, charismatic, good interesting personality with a big heart and honesty. But at a point I just couldn’t. It was all because he fell in love too soon. He just made me run away despite me wanting him.

    A month after breaking up he contacted me and said he thoguht about it and sees clearly. But he’s still in love. I see it in his emails, text messages etc…. we don’t meet in person because he moved to a different country but he is even trying to convince me I should move to Ireland. He’s even looking into job offers that fit to my profession. He’s one of the greatest men I have ever met and it’s just turning me off – him trying to own me is down right scary.
    And I am still in love with someone else which I told to this guy, I tried to fight against it, and from day one he said he doesn’t care. I really tried not to play with his feelings and it’s a real lose/lose situation…

  6. 36
    Goldie

    Great post, very good advice. (See, I can be positive.) I’ve been on both ends of crushes, and have never known how to act in either position. I second what Evan said – yes guys, when you get all Cable Guy on us, it is a massive turn-off and, more often than not, the knee-jerk reaction is to dump you. Feeling guilty in the process, may I add!
     
    Bookmarked it. Thanks for the post and comments.

  7. 37
    Jumpdates

    Hmm, this is a rather interesting post and I would surmise that the problem lies with both individuals in the Kara story. My point is that if Kara knows that men fantasizes about her looks and appearance then why does she fall off the pedestal so often?
    The psychology behind this behavior is a need for attention and stems from insecurity by the person. It happens that we often don’t fully appreciate our behavior with the opposite sex as a result of our own dissatisfaction with our self.
    I have been in that type of relationship before where I actually felt that I was in love but in reality the woman was very insecure and needed attention and was always demanding. This makes the other person crave for more especially if they are not astute to the ways of the woman.
    I found over time, its better to reflect on ones own behavior when it comes to the matter of the heart and relationship. By seeking or reacting to changes in the other person doesn’t solve the problem but in fact can make it worse.

  8. 38
    SJS

    This happens to women who are attractive and also a little quiet. The quietness allows enough space for the suitors to fill in the blanks with what they fantasize.
    These women cannot just get sloppy because hygene and “evidence of effort” in personal appearance matters in relationships with men, even moreso than objective attractiveness.
    It can be exacerbated if the woman’s life is lacking in stability (she is in a career transition) or she has a less well-developed sense of self.
    A way to mitigate the problem could be focusing on cultivating a community of female friends for a while to develop your sense of self.

    1. 38.1
      Josele

      I think you are on to something here. What do you mean by “they just cannot get sloppy”? Like if you ever slack on your personal grooming a guy immediately gets turned off? Sometimes I let guys see me look less than amazing bc I want to know if they genuinely like me or if it’s just how I look. More often than not guys change how they feel almost immediately if you aren’t always perfect looking. It’s frustrating bc if they think you are their fantasy girl, you aren’t ever allowed to be a human being.

  9. 39
    DG

    It seems that these women are really great, e.g., intelligent, gorgeous, nice, etc. So, why don’t these men continue to like them is my question? I’m curious to know what “flaws” specifically, if any, discourages these men from pursuing the relationship further?

  10. 40
    Jessture

    I have this same issue….of men falling “in love” quickly.  These aren’t guys who wind up falling out of love or losing interest or are commitment phobic.  These are men who want commitment right away…who fall in love and declare me the one they’ve been looking for.  So the issue isn’t about them being commitment phobic or losing interest in me…or me falling off the pedestal that they unfortunately put me on.  I am a very down to earth friendly girl…and pretty to boot…plus mom of 3 kids…and nursing student.  I’m pretty awesome in my own right, but I honestly don’t see what the fuss is about.  My exes stay in love with me for years after our relationship ends…and this makes things confusing and hard.  I feel like no one wants to be friends with me…they only want to “love” me and hope to be with me/pursue me….exes and new men I meet.  It sucks….feels like a curse.  I’d love to be off the market…but with men falling so quickly and easily, it makes it really hard to just browse the market.   

  11. 41
    Goody

    I don’ understand why it’s always the men’s fault whenever relationships are not going well. It’s as if the women are never willing to compromise. 

    I think everyone should compromise and see the bigger picture. If you want to “fall in love” in 6 months rather than 3 like he does, is that really worth the break-up? 

            

  12. 42
    Bubbles

    Me too! I have this problem. And I am 53 but look 35. I will say it straight. I am still very attractive. Tomorrow I have a date with a 30 year old, because it will be fun and maybe we can have good sex, but I just dumped (another) man around my age who was having ‘forever’ fantasies. I want a lifelong relationship, but they turn me off too quickly and yes, I am VERY aware it is only their hormones they are responding to. It makes me sad. I want love and despite being more attractive than most women, I can’t find it.

  13. 43
    Josie

    Well,I pretty much have the same problem.No idea why as well but this is making my closest friends get jealous of me and I hate it.After all,it isn’t my fault!!

  14. 44
    blueberry

    Kara, I can totally relate!  Every guy I go out with does this to me and it freaked me out so bad I stopped dating for almost a year.  It’s the same thing over and over and over.  I’ve tried wearing baggy sweaters and very little makeup… same thing every time though… it’s this crazy chase that starts and my anxiety over it goes through the roof because I’m already pretty picky about who I’ll even go on a date with and then to have them behave like that just freaks me out.  I tell them to chill out, explain to them where I’m coming from and well a lot of it does not seem to sink in.  Just last night I was on a date with a great guy, really great, but I have had to tell him to chill out a couple of times and he obeyed but so we were out and passed a jewellery store and he pulled me back to look at what was in the store window, aiming me at engagement rings and asked me which one I liked.  then gave me that goofy “I’m SOOO in love with you” look!!  holy freaked me out!  because this was date #2 with this guy.   
    It’s sooo hard because actually really do like a lot of these guys but my anxiety level goes through the roof when date 2 or 3 comes along and you just KNOW they are going to force that committment talk and then either freak out because you aren’t over the moon in love with them as well.
    I’m 40 years old but I take care of myself and look about 28 to 32 and I’ve tried dating younger and older and guys my own age and it’s pretty much all the same.  
    I have more lately tried talking to them to explain myself, my REAL self to them but it’s hard because yeah there is a lot I am not willing to discuss with a virtual stranger…
    you can’t even be friends with the guys first because then they think that you don’t want them and get all hurt and pouty.
    I get told this line repeatedly with major goofy i’m in love with you passion from just about every guy “I’ll give you anything you want, I’ll be everything you need, just tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you”.   I feel embarrassed for the guys because as sweet as that is, it just isn’t something you say on second or third date.
    I don’t know how to control this situation and it’s exhausting to go through guy after guy after guy.  blah!!!

  15. 45
    Respect

    Re: Jessture
    Regarding all these men who fall in love with you for years and years. Sounds to me like you don’t communicate clearly to them that you’re not interested in them – and why.

    You are probably too “nice” to them and want to let them down gently, but all that does is give them false hope – which they fall back on when they get lonely (for whatever reason). Honesty and directness would appear to be the best way to handle these guys – i.e. respect, not treating them with kid gloves.

  16. 46
    andy

    Sounds like the typical situation where women want it both ways. Women want to have instant chemistry with a guy and want to be swept off their feet… if its the right guy otherwise he ie just pathetic and they lose respect for him.
    On the otherside when men play it cool, women wonder why they send mixed signals and are so hard to understand.
    OP clearly needs to stop accepting these men take advances toward her.

  17. 47
    June

    Wow, this situation is me to a tee. I am very fearful and Leary of the men that begin to fall so hard so fast. But there are an awful lot of men out there like this. I am in my late 40s and I do feel it’s looks that make men fall all over themselves. I was married to an actor and a model for 22 years and know that while attraction is necessary, it can not hold a relationship together. I want someone that looks past my appearance and sees my heart. Most men end up scaring me away with their admiration. I need a man who plays it cool so I don’t want to run. I’ve read the comments and some people on here just don’t get it. Online dating makes this issue even worse because men select based on appearance alone usually. It’s enough to make me want to never date again. .

  18. 48
    Catherine

    I had this problem all thoughout my dating life. It always confused me why I hated it so much because isn’t this what you were susposed to want? I would hear complaints that all men wanted was sex and wouldn’t commit but I never saw these men. The problem was …they would bombard me before I even got a chance to like them. It was uncomfortable. I never married.

  19. 49
    hunter

    …generally speaking…the sooner men fall in love…the sooner we earn time in the sack…

  20. 50
    Rochelle

    This was a good read.  I don’t think I’m  above average in looks but I’ve   been mistaken for as young as 17.  And I’ve been attracting a number of men lately who seem to be blinded by chemistry and are coming on too strong and putting me on this high pedestal in just a few days of knowing each other. o_O I’m like we just met so they can’t possibly  be sure that they want  to be with me.. I’m thinking that these guys are going to implode. And the immense flattery they give me does seem  chemistry driven.  Having a history of always feeling like I was chasing,  I’m not really used to all this attention and it kinda freaks me out.  It also feels nice lol but I’ve been trying to slow them down.  I think my approach is pretty in-line with what Evans suggests so this reinforced my beliefs!

  21. 51
    BSer

    I have always found if a man is up front with me, I am with him.   But if a smoke screen is the order of the day, well then, bring me a load of firewood! 

  22. 52
    BSer

    My niece, who is single again, has a tried and true method of revealing a man’s character…. Hold him at arm’s length for longer than usual…see who he really is, see what he’s made of – is he determined?  is he easily discouraged?  is he focused?  is he calculating?  How does he react to being held at arm’s length?  When he doesn’t get his way, whether it’s being noticed by you, or talking with you or whatever – is he like a bratty 2 year old, or does he pull back, does he walk away, does he call you a bitch (or worse)?  That tells you a lot about him.  If he’s quick tempered or hot headed, you will know now!
    She swears by this…if you try it, let me know how it goes for you!

  23. 53
    Vzen

    I enjoyed reading this post and was looking for that same topic… “I love you within a month.” I will say this, I’ve had the exact same experience and I can tell you for certain that my conduct did not draw them in, and I did not dress provocatively either.  I’ve dated younger, the same age and this time I went for a man eleven years older….I’ve gotten the exact same experience.  By the way, I am fifty-five, and no I don’t look it. This man has been the perfect gentleman, paid for all the dates and gives me a lot of attention.  I have not been intimate with him, however he has begun to make a few advances in that direction and always says when “you are ready.”  He has already begun to talk about being in love with me, and intends for us to have that until death do we part kind of  future….wow…spooking me.

  24. 54
    hunter

    ..a mans biggest sex organ are his eyes, we know if we want a woman, just by looking at her…

  25. 55
    ELIZ

    u know the guy likes u when he chats and chats and his eyes get bigger

  26. 56
    hunter

    @eliz#55

    …Ha!, he, he, how funny!….

  27. 57
    Flowergirl

    God. I am in the same situation! Guys seem to fall head over heels for me, feel awe in my presence and squirt me with compliments on my looks, smarts etc. Most of them fall in “love” with me at first sight and go literally crazy for me if I reject. And when I let them get to know me, they just blurt out at one point that they do not like the real me. I try to tell them from the beginning that I am not the girl they imagine but they just get blinded by lust and such.

    Lust prevails, love doesn’t. :/

  28. 58
    boo

    Wow omg I’ve struggled with this for a long time and thought it was only me…. this guy I met now is not like that its such a change I like it! This helped so much!!! Thank you

  29. 59
    Nicole

    Thank you for this. Thank you. It’s almost shameful to admit and I don’t know of anyone in my life that can relate. Bit this issue makes me feel lonely even though I get asked out constantly.  I am intelligent and strong and I do have looks that are consisted exotic.  I’m kind and logical and easy to communicate with.  However. This leaves me skeptical and untrusting because I’m always pumping the brakes and I don’t want to constantly be told how incredible I am, how do you know after one or two dates? When I ask, I’m not looking to be lifted up,  I don’t need reassurance in myself, I’m needing reassurance that in a relationship with you, you can see yourself and not get swept up in whatever feeling. It’s tiring and kinda sad, frustrating and exhausting. It’s lonely. I wasn’t always attractive to many, and even though I enjoy looking as I do, I do know the connections I had before seemed to be deeper and more genuine. Hang in there, yes, I will because I don’t have other choices. But how to stop myself from becoming jaded and impatient with men in the meanwhile.  :(  I have children, I’m a student and I work.  I want a partner but… One that will carry me when I’m weak, one who sees me. I won’t always look this way.

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