Dear Christine, Jeff in Jackson

  • Posted on June 11, 2018 at 9:03 am

Dear Christine,

I have been hanging out with this guy for about 6 weeks.  We get together about twice a week for dinner and movie at home or sometime a date out or an event.  We really enjoy each other and I love the cozy intimate evenings at home just watching TV and cuddling on the sofa.  We started out agreeing that it would be casual as neither of us felt we were in the right place to start something serious.  So, besides the 2 times a week we hang out together there is little if any communication.  I have no idea how he is feeling and I am afraid to let him know that I am starting to feel a lot.  It’s just so easy when we’re together at home and sexually, it is the best ever.  I don’t think I have ever felt this strong about anyone.  It feels like we are really a couple, but the time between visits, it feels like he’s a million miles away.  I don’t want it to end but at some point I want to tell him my feelings.  Should I wait and enjoy this and maybe give him time to start feeling what I do, or should I tell him now and break our “deal” to keep it casual?  Jeff in Jackson

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for writing me.  Sounds like dating is still as cagey as ever!  I always disliked that scene, as it’s so hard to figure out who someone really is and if you both are compatible, or are my feelings about her just my projection of what I hope she will be, not yet knowing who she is.  And the game of “do I share my feelings or not?”  Telling your feelings unilaterally puts you in a vulnerable position of  risking your heart, only to feel rejected if he cannot mirror your emotions.

First think about what you really want in a relationship.  If originally was just to be casual, and still can be for you, fine.  But, if  you have changed and are you’re more ready for a more serious relationship, then you need to get ready to get hurt.  In any relationship, it’s never “if” you’ll get hurt, it’s “when”.  Whenever you open up your heart, your feelings, your needs and opinions to another, you are vulnerable and could be hurt through misunderstanding, meanness, disagreement, or the just not getting back whatever response you hoped for.  You cannot have closeness and a serious relationship without these risks!  So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, I’d suggest the time honored method of talking about it with him.  If he seems distant, ask about that?  What is he feeling, and where is it coming from?  Does he ever want a serious relationship, with your or anyone?  If he truly doesn’t share such mutual feelings, it’s probably better to know now before you really let your heart go and get more deeply hurt.  I learned over time to be very direct in dating, as I tired of the games of wondering what the other wanted and felt about me, and not wanting to reveal my feelings until I knew it was “safe”.  Some of my relationships were pretty brief, but there was a lot less drama in my life, and less hurt.  Once I did meet my partner, I was blunt and direct that I didn’t want or have time for a serious relationship, as I was in graduate school and working full time.  I knew she was looking for someone to be serious with, so I didn’t see the point of leading her on unnecessarily, but I also didn’t see the need to dismiss her from my life, if she could live with my need for more emotional distance. She appreciated knowing that, and decided she’d hang around for a friendship, and lo and behold, the friendship ended up blossoming (slowly!) into a serious, committed, intimate relationship that continues still.  I would have been fine had she decided that she needed to pursue someone who was ready for commitment, as it’s her job to take care of her, and my stating my position was my way of taking care of me.

So, go out there and figure yourself out, and take care of you.  If you’re ready to pursue this guy more seriously, take a chance, being fully aware that you’ll get hurt, later if not sooner.  But that’s ok.  Being hurt allows for healing and understanding to grow between a couple, and helps you understand and appreciate each other on a much deeper level.

Good luck.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067

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