What Do I Do If A Guy Is In Love With Me, But I Don’t Feel As Strongly Yet?

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I have met this guy who thinks I hung the moon. He is considerate, calls me everyday, sees me often, shares his thoughts and feelings with me and wants to make me happy. I like him too and think this could grow into something but I am not moving as fast emotionally as he is. He says he is “smitten” with me. I have told him I like him, and the qualities he has that I appreciate including how he treats me. We have similar views on religion, politics and interests in common, we have chemistry. How can I let him know I am not as “deep” into the emotional “love” feelings at this point as he is without discouraging him or making him feel bad?

Carol

When you become so gooey with love that you literally think a person could do no wrong, you blind yourself to reality and open up to getting very hurt.

Dear Carol,

It feels a lot better when you’re the one who is smitten, doesn’t it? Because as we’ve discussed before, the moment you become smitten with someone, you cease being a critical thinker.

Suddenly, this guy is under the impression that he is dating the person who hung the moon. What a feeling! The person who hung the moon couldn’t be selfish, or jealous, or flaky, or emotionally distant. And if she is, who cares? She’s with me!

The flaw in this type of thinking is twofold:

First, idealizing someone is patently dangerous. When you become so gooey with love that you literally think a person could do no wrong, you blind yourself to reality and open up to getting very hurt. This is the pain I caution against when we talk about “passion”. Great feeling; rarely good for you in the long run.

As we saw in our last reader letter, a man’s passion pushed his wife into a quietly suffering relationship. Now he’s with a woman who feels trapped, who wants out, who silently (or not-so-silently) resents him for what she feels is a mediocre marriage. I think it’s a very telling tale about the clarity of passion.

Which is just a long, roundabout way of saying the old cliché, “love is blind”.

The other flaw in the blindness of passion is how it makes the other person feel when it’s not reciprocated. The guy who calls four times a day, buys you flowers every week, and is already talking marriage after a month is great — if you feel the exact same way about him. But when a guy moves much faster than a woman emotionally, the woman is almost always inclined to respect him a little less and pull away a little more. Same goes the other way around, which is why it’s not considered great dating form to talk about where you’d like to get married on date 2 or your kids’ names on date 4.

Now what makes this question a little more interesting to me is that I know Carol well. She’s a former star client of mine, who keeps me up on her progress, and posts on my Facebook page. Moreover, she’s in her early 60’s and is naturally very good at attracting and understanding men. Thus, her dilemma is no surprise — this kind of thing happens to folks like her all the time.

And if you’re going to deal with this in a way that’s consistent with the rest of your personality, Carol, you are best served by being authentic and vulnerable with him. The next time you have an amazing evening and he tells you he loves you, sit him down and tell him the truth:

More likely than not, he’ll tell you that you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy…and then start smothering you again. That’s the thing about smitten people; they just can’t help themselves.

I like you. I like how you treat me. We have similar views on religion, politics and interests in common, we have chemistry. I’m just not as “deep” into the emotional “love” feelings at this point as you are. And while I don’t want to make you feel bad, I just thought you should know that we’ll have a lot better chance as a couple if we take things a little slower and give my feelings a chance to catch up to yours.

He may be momentarily stung, but probably not too bad. More likely than not, he’ll tell you that you can do whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy…and then start smothering you again. That’s the thing about smitten people; they just can’t help themselves.

But as we’ve discussed privately, this is a far better problem to have than the alternative: 500 variations on He’s Just Not That Into You that we deal with all the time here. Thanks for sharing a positive story of a man’s ability to be devoted, and your patience with giving him a chance.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Lance

    @Carol: Sounds great, I hope this one works out. The only other thing I could add is to make sure he feels loved at whatever level you’re currently at… if he’s a gem, he needs to be appreciated even if there’s catching up going on. Practice the love languages and let him know.

  2. 22
    Sametta

    Personally, I don’t feel comfortable when a man likes me too fast. I feel as though he’s only taking half of who I am and running with it. That type of fast liking could easily be interpreted as desperation. Because, I’ll ask myself, why do you like me so much and you barely have been around me long enough to see all of me? I feel more comfortable when a man has seen me in many different situations with many different personalities, then after, can still say, I like her, or, I am interested in her. I would believe that. I was friends with a guy once who was so smitten, he thought I was perfect and could do no wrong. On one hand it was sweet for someone to think of me that way, but on the other hand, it was a false perception of the entirety of my character. If I am going to be with someone, they have to know me in every way. They have to know I am not a perfect person. I don’t want a guy who thinks I am so perfect I can do no wrong. That is not reality. I feel better being in a relationship with someone who knows me for all that I am and accepts me. That type of relationship, I have more faith in. Then, here are no surprises or disappointments.

    1. 22.1
      Alana

      I’m the exact same way and have been going through the same thing as you. I think it’s best to be honest with him – gently – let him know you care about him but want to know each other more before you jump into anything. Period. Observe how he responds to this. Does he listen, care, and adapt to your position or help you come to see his? Does he help enlighten you on the experiences with you leading to his feelings for you? In my case, I’ve dated him before and he was always so into me from day one, when we first spoke. When things got more serious, I didn’t understand what it was all based on and I ran. I liked him   but wasn’t feeling the connection at the same level, because I didn’t understand or talk about why he was so serious about me. But after time, I grew to think of him and regret this choice and wished I had shared my thoughts instead of backing out. I reached out to him, and was so grateful that he was so kind and understanding. I took the chance to be honest with him and have a deeper discussion about my perspective and what I wanted. It was SO nervwracking and humbling, and made me realize my feelings had caught up to his. I think they assume you feel the same so don’t need to talk about it. But I needed to understand and I’m guessing you do too, so that I can take the leap to be on the same vulnerable level as him, knowing that it is the right and rational choice, one with both considerable care and thought put into it. It helped asking some questions about his perspective and experiences so I could understand what he was feeling for me and see that it was real. My whole feeling has transformed for him and us. I suddenly appreciate him and care for him so much deeper. I realize he is for real and such a good man. Hopefully opening up the discussion for you will more definitively help you understand why he likes you so much. And that there is a lot more thought he’s put into it than you realized and that he is someone you can take seriously, be vulnerable with, and love back.

  3. 23
    vicky

    im currenty goin through the same thing, except ive never face to face met the guy. we have talked on the phone texted sent pics of each other so we know what each other looks like. i met him on facebook a year and a half ago. i like him alot and care for him but i stumbled when he told me he loved me… (which was like an hr ago) he stopped texting  me and im afraid he wont talk to me. i care so much for him i just think its irrational to say i love you when we havent met face to face. He not blinded by love i dont think hes real.. and i hurts me that i hurt him. the only advice i can give you is if you care about him tell him dont make him feel like theres no chance what so ever. you can only hope he will understand how your feeling. i hope he does for my sake as well…

  4. 24
    DeeGee

    I believe in this case “Yet” is the most important word in the title.

    A while ago I was in a similar situation, without the “yet” (at least it was never said).
    We have known each other for years.   We have hung out and gone out a few times.
    My feelings were not love, but they were strong and have been for a long time.
    She showed signs of some feelings as well (or so I thought).
    I told her that I had feelings for her.
    Her reply was that she thought I might be her type of guy.
    But that she didn’t want anything more at this time because she had been in a bad relationship before (and that’s my fault how?).

    What did I do?   I walked away.
    Yes, it stung.

    In my opinion, if there isn’t mutual attraction and desire of similar level, it’s not worth the time to pursue.

    I don’t know, perhaps Evan has some counseling tips for me.   🙂

    1. 24.1
      Karmic Equation

      You did the right thing, DeeGee.

      Most women want relationships, whether their last one ended badly or not. And if a guy says he has feelings for her and she’s interested in you, she would give you positive feedback and encouragement to pursue, regardless of her recent history.

      If she’s giving you excuses and not jumping at the idea of dating you, she’s lukewarm at best. Or not interested and wants to let you down easy.

      1. 24.1.1
        DeeGee

        Thanks Karmic.
        Even at 53 I still feel I don’t really understand women.
        The older I get, the more I feel like the less I know about everything.

        1. Karmic Equation

          YW, DeeGee.

          Women don’t like to reject men directly, particularly men they consider their friends.

          A lot of that is because we truly don’t want to hurt his feelings.

          For others it could be a form of self-preservation. Sometimes you just don’t know how a man  will  handle rejection. And you don’t want to find out. So not giving him the “cut direct” is the discretion that is the better part of valor.

  5. 25
    hunter

    ….DeeGee……somehow I don’t think it is about understanding women…

  6. 26
    Matt

    I just had my girl friend break up with me for this same reason I think but she could not explain it. She says she knows my feelings are stronger than hers.   She says she really likes me and likes spending time with me. I am everything she thinks she wants. She thought her feelings would grow more as we hung out but doesn’t see the growing. She says she thinks she should be missing me more after two days of a great weekend in Vegas. She is in the middle of her last year of physical therapy school. We dated 4 months. She broke it all off. So I had to take her at her word and for my sake cut off all communication and social media. I am 33 she is 24.

  7. 27
    Cynthia Marie

    I’m in a very similar situation…

    I’ve been seeing this guy for about 11 months now, and only him. He is such a   great guy, everything I ever wanted in a man. ( with a few minor annoyances, but I can get over it!)

    However, I am not feeling feelings of love for him yet… for months this has been waking me up in my sleep… This feeling that is saying something like, ” why don’t I love him? Is this normal? Can I live with this person forever?”…. ” I don’t know if he’s the one..”   It’s like everything BUT my heart is cooperating! UGH! I seriously want to love him, I want too, really, really..

    However.. I only   feel like I would be content with this man if I stay with him, not really ” meant to be feeling, or fulfilled and even genuinely happy”… I think that’s where the problem may lie..

    So after going on road trips, and seeing each other 7 days a week for the past 11 months, I have finally summed up the courage to tell him that I don’t think my heart is ready for love right now.. and MAYBE we should start seeing eachother less, and ultimately be friends. ( I know, that doesn’t work ever but I had to say it otherwise I would have NEVER LET HIM GO.)

    So its been a week, and I feel less anxiety over US, but I’m scared to lose him completely, we’ve both decided to go from 7-2 days a week for seeing eachother.. He said sad this hurts him, but he is willing to do anything he has to do, and just wants me to be happy. ( shouldnt that right there make me fall in love with him?! Aw….)

    Overall I’m just going to listen to my INTUITION throughout this whole big, fat, messy, emotional ordeal that ive never gone through, and pray to God that my mind and emotions become more clear..

    Its so hard because I appreciate him so much, but something is missing, I feel empty even though I’v been seeing   him every day for almost a year now..

    Ultimately, it isn’t fair to neither of us. He deserves someone who loves him undoubtedly..   I wish everyday that I was the woman that could be so lucky to love him.. We’ll see.. 🙁

     

    1. 27.1
      Angel Libra

      I feel exactly same

    2. 27.2
      Karen

      I’m 7 months into a very similar scenario.

    3. 27.3
      Tiffany

      OMG! Cynthia Marie!

      I was just searching topics on :”when he loves you but you’re not that into him” and happened upon this forum. You have articulated everything I’ve been feeling over the past couple of months! It’s sooo freeing to know we are not alone in this struggle. Im so curious to see how everyone’s similar situations pan out; including my own. This man has loved me for over 13 years. We just recently   reconnected after ‘living life’ and he wants to marry me yesterday! Lol! I’ve always looked at him as a very good friend and a great person in general but the whole “love” thing literally has my tummy in knots. I want to reciprocate the feelings he has, but it just hasnt happened yet. Evan’s response and your transparency gives me hope that everything will fall into place in due time; if we are both willing and patient.

      Thanks for sharing and I wish you and your guy all the best!

      #KeepUsUpdated

  8. 28
    Lois

     

    great post as always

    I came to the comments mostly  to see what Karmic Equation said.

     

    1. 28.1
      hunter

      …karmic is well informed…

    2. 28.2
      Karmic Equation

      Thanks for the kind words, Lois and Hunter 🙂 Much appreciated.

  9. 29
    Lois

    Cynthia Marie

    I had almost exactly the same situation

    I don’t  have any answers

    1. 29.1
      Angel Libra

      I do too…

      Somebody reply to us

  10. 30
    B

    Many people have been “smitten” very quickly with me too. But you know how this actually works? By sharing only partial information and framing things in your history and personality to  make yourself look like the angel you want them to see. But it’s all lying by omission. Tell the truth! For instance, one story I twisted to my advantage many times: my engagement break-up. Five years ago I got engaged and then “dumped” my   fiance at the altar, which was a totally immature, jerk-move, one  extremely painful for the guy I was with.  But later when I went on dates,   I found myself using only the facts I wanted to use to explain this breakup… to make me look like the victim and actually the hero of the  story, “oh  we were a total mismatch…but my ex was so pushy and I was such a poor passive girl who suffered through a turbulent and abusive childhood, that I couldn’t resist his pushiness and ended up getting engaged. Fortunately, I gained my voice and the courage to break it off, which saved him and me from a failed marriage”  Almost every guy who was smitten said the same thing, “oh my goodness you were so brave”. Bull***t. If I had framed the same story from the perspective of my ex, they would have said “oh my goodness you were such a jerk”. I have learned to be much more honest about my shortcomings and my past, and surprise, surprise, this doesn’t lead to  as many “smitten” guys!

  11. 31
    karokute

    what if we just accept things for what they are/… is it not fine if you lov somebody so strongly and they dont feel the same towards you? so what if we are being called”foolish” or “stupid” … is it really not fine?? at least i have the privilege to feel something… is it not fine if somebody stabs you and you dont mind it? so what if it’s painful.. it might seem painful to you.. maybe it’s not that painful to me.. in the long run? everyday is a new day..people just want to have fun anyways.. like the person doesnt love you back.. just administer some money or party and boom ther they are running in your arms.. is it not a concept that is way too far fetched when someone doesn’t love you.. i mean the person mught be supercool if he fell in love with you form his free will.. but meanwhile why not enjoy some circumstancial love.. everybody does it..

  12. 32
    Lysa

    Ouch – this one was hard to read. I’m 48 and just ended a sweet (almost) relationship with a guy who was head over heals for me. He declared “love” after only three dates over a months time – we dated almost four months in total. I tried the honest talk – but he  remained blind and continued with overtly smitten behaviors. In the end I felt smothered, disrespected, unseen, and unheard! I couldn’t get away fast enough. The worst part is, I liked a lot of things about this  man and at times thought we might have a chance at something long term. Alas, I became so overwhelmed by feeling smothered I felt my only choice was to end it. Sadly, despite numerous conversations I’d had with him – he  was still left wondering why things ended.

    1. 32.1
      Clare

      Lysa,

      I’m with you. I’ve had a couple of these. With one guy, he was talking love after only  one  date and moving in together after three.

      The trouble with these guys is that they are tone-deaf to your feelings and comfort level. They seem only to notice the strength of their own feelings and don’t seem to be aware that they are smothering the relationship before it has even had a chance. They don’t seem to care about how “too much too soon” feels for you.

      In the case of the guy I mentioned, he would phone, email and text me at work incessantly. For my birthday, he sent flowers which took over two thirds of my desk. Too much doesn’t even begin to describe it. He was oblivious to how this interfered with the normal functioning of my life, and my pleas for him to slow down fell on deaf ears.

      So, I think it’s easy to categorize these guys as overly sweet and nice, but in some ways, I think such a man is just as oblivious to your feelings as the man who disappears on you. Guys like this are also often jealous and possessive, which can starve love too.

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