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…

Join our conversation (119 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

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.”

    1. 2.1
      motherlover jones

      I had my own rule. If a girl needs to have rules with me, i don’t bother. I could be waiting forever for her to decide to let me have a few more inches of leash.  Like you said, if it’s meant to be,  you’ll know.

  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.

    1. 3.1
      Gestelle

      Im so thankful for this article.  I felt like I was being conceited just for looking for this advice, but the truth of the matter is, is that I’m getting older and would rather not waste my time and feel guilty for wanting to have choices, and date other men.  Personally, I don’t even feel overly attractive, but have way too many options, and enjoy rare qualities, such as some one who is more intellectual (sad but true). To discover ones intellect it takes several dates, if a man gets all gaga you’ll never know! 

  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.

    1. 4.1
      Maryam

      I can relate a lot to this.  I’m 29 and I look about my age but I’m reasonably attractive and know how to clean up nice.  I have the same kind of personality like you, that draws people in and makes them feel chemistry right off the bat no matter what I say.  And I really relate to what you said about how much it hurts your self esteem when you fall from grace, and also being in an insecure moment in life.  I used to be over-confident and it really actually worked well for me.  Now I am so self conscious from “falling from grace” so many times that I can’t live up to the images guys project on to me and I fall out of grace really quickly these days.  Ugh.  And of course, it always always always happens right after I really start to love the guy.  I’ve had this guy chasing me for FIVE YEARS, building up some fantasy image in his head of me after we had a short fling years ago.  I must have done something right back then, that he couldn’t get over.  We recently “hooked up” and I can tell, he’s not as into me as he was.  I must have been bad at hooking up, because how else would I fall out of his favor?  I guess if that’s all that matters to him, he’s really not worth it.  But I can’t stop thinking about him, it’s driving me NUTS.  Here’s to hoping I’m wrong, I guess.

      1. 4.1.1
        Amy

        clearly it has nothing to do with you.he was only in it for the chase and has intimacy issues

    2. 4.2
      troll

      I’m probably not as attractive as the OP, but I look like I’m 28, and I act like I’m 15… 😛 ……good good 😛

    3. 4.3
      Persephone

      Chanel, I have some of the same problems as you. I have never have been want to go out clubbing much, but some friends encouraged me to join them. I showed up and they weren’t there. The minute I walked in guys were all over me.  I met this guy who looked very much like Antonio Banderas, but it was actually his smile that got me. He made assumptions about my age, probably thinking that I was about 21. Other guys were coming up to me trying to make me not talk to him and to leave the club with them. We started dating and after he started getting to know me, I could tell he was pushing me off the pedestal. He found out that my real age was 35 and that was too much for him to handle. The very thought of me being older than him was unacceptable. I didn’t meet all his his little fantasies.

    4. 4.4
      shaunna l hoog

      thank you for this!! im almost 40 widowed was married for 9 years and with him for 14 had some strokes with that came memory los..self lost realy! so my needs, want’s and hell nos went out the window before my husband passed..so i did find somone and he crushed me pretty quickly three times he broke my heart! the pedestal he put me on was so high it should have snuffed out my being when i got shoved off..this helped me recall why i steered clear  of his type of love and personality before..and a sense that what u now have found with somone maybe is real..lol thank you

  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.

    1. 6.1
      bluester

      most sensible thing I’ve ever read so far!

    2. 6.2
      Persephone

      Oh I knew it wouldn’t be very far into this thread before they started bashing attractive people. Yep. It begins again.

    3. 6.3
      dude

      It’s arrogant of the 7 to think that because he has a bone he is entitled to a 10. Come on arrogant lol

  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.

    1. 7.1
      Remy

      Think about appearance like this and this is how I explain appearance to a woman.

      If Im dressed with my pants hanging off my behind with my underwear showing you are probably going to assume a lot of things about me. If I go into a job interview dressed inappropriately Im going to be viewed a certain way. This is because of social grooming, I suggest woman who understand how everyone reacts to appearance that she could consider what type of reactions her appearance is getting as well.

      The guy dressed with his pants off his behind can be upset if people thinks he’s not of the best character and he does not have to change but most people will still react to his appearance. The woman dressed a certain in way cannot be upset when her appearance garners the same reaction from most people each time. It is just something to consider live as you wish.

      1. 7.1.1
        Persephone

        So how would you have these women dress? Is it that they cannot dress like everyone else, they must wear gunny sacks? Must say totally eschew makeup, for fear of being considered too attractive, while everybody else gets to wear it? Are they supposed to totally avoid attractive and fashionable hairstyles for fear of being considered too attractive? My sister was so sweet to me, she’s to tell me that I would look beautiful in a gunny sack. This is tantamount to victim-blaming what you guys are doing.

    2. 7.2
      Lisa

      These guys saying women are dressing provocative and that’s why men are acting like this are so far off base and making assumptions.  I have this same issue and I can assure you I am not.  In fact I made sure to not be because I thought maybe it was me.  So there.  But they are right In that I have found that men are so focused on trying to bed me or acquire me that the method is lets get to that and see if she’s compatible otherwise later.  Age has nothing to do with it.  The more I resist or less interested I act the harder they try and they do act gaga.  I’ve had men buy me 3k necklaces within a month rent fancy cars I mean the stuff they do is insane.  I make well over six figures and am not impressed.  They go at this for months!  I hold out to try to weed out relationship minded men. Then I will relent give it up they will enjoy the sex for a few months and say well I realized we really are not a good relationship Match and list all these things they have know about me from month one as if they are new! Then say but you are really hot and good in bed we can still have sex and it plays out over and over.  I don’t want guys to tell me I’m hot no one wants to know me!  My female friends are like well you get lots of dates and attention and men buy you things you are pretty I get no attention.  Well yes but no one wants to committ to me or love me, it’s all superficial.  My looks and body will fade.

      1. 7.2.1
        AllHeart81

        Lisa – I don’t get a lot of attention from men or fancy presents. And while I think initially it would feel pretty amazing to be validated for physical beauty, to not always question if you’re attractive enough for a man to be interested in, or to feel insecure in the presence of a more beautiful woman, I certainly understand why ultimately, it’s not satisfying for you and why even beautiful women, who do get lots of validation from men, want the same exact things more plain women want. Which is to be validated for who we are, not the way we look or for the things we possess. We are all human after all, whether we are very beautiful r more plain. And it often feels like men don’t see us for those qualities, instead choosing to view us only through a filter of what we can do for them through our physical looks. Thanks for sharing your experiences here though. It’s not easy for most of us, no matter our looks.

      2. 7.2.2
        Persephone

        Haha, I am in the same situation!!! I do not dress provactive. I do not even paint my nails. I always must worry that I am treated as if I am a commodity, or that I am someone who makes a guy look good to others.

        In the end they tell me I am the nicest, most decent woman they ever met, but they do not love me enough to marry me. Bit then they want to continue seeing me for the sex. Uggggh.

      3. 7.2.3
        Persephone

        Lisa, no they won’t. You’re look somebody won’t fade as long as you stay reasonably healthy. It kind of sucks because in the guys are still acting that way even if you’re old. That means a certain group of women will never really get anybody. All we will get are  the shallow guys who want to put us on pedestals, push us off a few weeks later and cast us aside like a paper cup.

  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.

    1. 8.1
      benie

      U are so right. Those guys know how to talk and show u that u are amazing. And say u drive them crazy but the funny thing is after that, they try to act like strangers. I always ask myself what really happened. Sad
       

    2. 8.2
      Justin Cobb

      Not very true, I guess u can say I’m that same guy.. But I’m looking for it to last…

    3. 8.3
      Jnya

      I have never heard of these terms before but I think you just described the last three relationships I have had. Sadly, I have just bluntly told a very forthright individual to back off. After 6 days and one meeting he was all in… scary stuff.  Thanks for sharing these personality types.

    4. 8.4
      1meek1

      Omg Angie! You’re SO ON POINT! THESE DESCRIPTIONS HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

  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.

    1. 12.1
      Lynn

      hunter I was thinking that 😂😂

  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *