February 19th, 2012 by Nina Atwood
Dear Nina: I recently started dating a new guy who I met online – we are both in our early thirties. We went out on dates for about a month. Then, we had a couple of dates at our homes and on about our tenth date we had sex; there was alcohol involved. Up until then he was really pursuing me, but now he has backed off. We had no date this past weekend and none planned. I’m afraid that I opened up too much and told him I really liked him, and that being in a relationship is scary to me. I’m frustrated because I feel like somehow I screwed things up . . . again. I want to be open with him, but I’m afraid that things went too fast in a short amount of time and now he’s pulling away. I am also worried that I should have waited longer for sex and now he’s lost interest. I feel like I’ve been repeating this pattern. I was previously married, and all I want is to find a long-term relationship that turns into marriage. I don’t want to keep dating and sleeping with a guy who I think cares about me, only to have him run away as soon as I have “given it up.” What can I do? – Kim
Dear Kim: You are right; you succumbed to the Temptation to Get Sexual Too Soon, leaving you in an emotional needy state and a now fragile relationship. Without asking him I cannnot be certain of the reasons, but in general, we can probably assume one or more of the following issues is at play:
- He was in hot pursuit until you had sex; now the chasing is over for him and the choosing is over for you; After only a handful of dates, he feels pressured to be a great boyfriend in a committed relationship - too much too soon.
- Men do not fall in love through having sex; they fall in love through being in pursuit of a woman whom they see as desirable on every level, not just sexually desirable; usually many weeks to months; since that process was shortened, it may have interfered with his falling deeper in love.
- One of the reasons people feel afraid of getting into relationships is because they rush into them too quickly; when your lust gets ahead of your due diligence, it is difficult to feel confident about the risk you are taking; thus it make sense that you were feeling afraid; however, telling him that you are afraid can be off-putting.
- Too much alcohol early in a relationship distorts your experience so that you can feel more attached than you really are; he may have been feeling a false bond due to alcohol, but later realized that he was not as into this relationship as he originally felt.
- Now that you have had sex with him, you want more; that is very understandable because women tend to bond during and especially after sex; but if he is not ready for more, it makes you feel needy, and that is usually a turn off to a guy.
The bottom line is that you have not had enough time getting to know each other to build a bridge between your hearts. That takes time, and it is best done OUT of the bedroom. My suggestion is that when/if he contacts you again, and asks to see you, suggest that you meet somewhere for lunch or dinner. Keep the alcohol to one drink only, and use that time to have the you and me conversation. Be candid and let him know that having sex at this point was too soon emotionally for you, and that you would like to back up and get to know each other better.
This will not be an easy step; it will be uncomfortable having the conversation, and it will be difficult staying out of bedroom. The way to do it is to have no dates at either of your homes for two or three months, and to have dates that are actual dates where he takes you out to eat or to shows or sporting events or movies. Hanging out dates are for well-developed, committed relationships, not for the early stages. Minimize alcohol with this guy and with anyone you date. It is high risk to get intoxicated with someone early in a relationship.
What you need is to get back in the position of being pursued, and to not give that up for a long time. That will empower you, give you back your confidence, and put your relationship back in a workable position from which to grow. That said, there is no guarantee that he will go back into pursuit mode, and if he does not, you have your answer. It may be an expensive (emotionally) way to learn but you can learn these lessons and go forward to have a healthy relationship.