I don’t want to ask for too much

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Dear Meredith,

I recently moved and have been enjoying a new dating scene, and putting into practice what I've learned from a lot of therapy (how to deal with my anxious-attachment style and trauma from having been cheated on). In recent years I've found myself in too many "situationships" with guys who don't actually want to commit or who pursue me intensely at first and then get flaky and ghost. I'm really proud of myself for how far I've come in being able to recognize red flags early and not waste my time on someone who doesn't want the same things that I do (that is, a long-term relationship with an interest in having kids).

I met this guy who immediately struck me as being totally different than anyone I've ever dated before – plus, I think he's attractive and funny and we have interesting conversations. On the first date, he casually asked if I wanted kids, and on the second, he asked me what I'm looking for in dating. That felt so amazing for once – not to have to be the one to raise those questions. On our fourth date, he asked to kiss me, and I discovered in the makeout session that followed that we definitely have physical chemistry. It felt mutual.

I haven't seen him since. All of our dates have been spaced out by one to two weeks, which felt like a very reasonable slow pace for being in a new place and practicing my new dating skills and not wanting to rush into anything. But at this point I very much would like to see him more often than that, and he's become pretty impossible to get ahold of. When one plan we made fell through (I suspect he thought it was tentative and I thought it was definite), I expressed my needs to him via text message (that I'm a planner) and he responded with a sweet apology and said that he was very overwhelmed with work and family things but was also excited to see me again. But no plan to get together has been made since.

In the meantime, I've been planning that when I do see him in person, it's very much time to check in about how we are each feeling about dating each other, as well as our clearly different communication and planning styles. It's driving me nuts to want to initiate that conversation but not to know when or even if it will happen. All of my anxious-attachment warning sirens are blaring right now. It’s been made especially confusing that this started right after we began to establish a physical connection. But at the same time, my instincts about him are that he is not like those avoidant guys.

Any suggestions for how to get through this waiting period until I can express those needs to him? Is there a way to communicate that I want to see and talk to him in person without adding pressure to the situation? (He definitely knows I want to see him again soon, hence my attempts to hold off for a while and not be overbearing.) Am I getting way ahead of myself after only four dates?

– Two Opposing Instincts


"Am I getting way ahead of myself after only four dates?"

A little. Mainly by assuming he's worth all this emotional effort.

He might not be like other guys you've dated – maybe he's nicer and more honest – but that doesn't mean he's what you want. You're so impressed by his questions and texts that you've forgotten that even two great people with chemistry can be a mismatch. If he's looking for someone to see twice a month, when it works for him, that’s not you. You want more.

You can explain this when you see him (whenever that might be), but honestly, you can also just decide on your own that you want to end it. You want someone who's so excited to see you that they want something on the books – and soon. This man has a lot going on with work and family. Maybe the timing is just off.

If you decide to wait and see this through, keep your options open. There is no exclusivity here. You can seek out others, make plans, and have other dates while he's busy. If he does show up again, you can see how it feels. You can also ask what he needs right now – what he thinks of his own pace. If it's not right, it's OK. It just means you were able to spot (in a healthy way) that even though he's a nice person, this isn't it.

Also, there's so much to learn in a new place. Keep exploring.

– Meredith

Readers? What do you think of the pace of this?