Ask Dave-Am I Expecting Too Much, Too Soon?
They've been dating for two months; could his new guy be pulling away or is he being oversensitive?
I am 28 and have been dating a guy who's 35 for about two months. But I care for him, and he says he cares for me. His work as a consultant keeps him very busy, and it's hard to see each other all the time. Usually, even if he has to work, we see each other on weekends. This coming weekend is the first
that we won't see each other due to his work. The weekend after that, he's going to see his friends out of town. This is making me feel very insecure. I wonder if he's dating someone else. He doesn't call me or text me as much as he used to. I don't see him enough.
|Premature neediness can certainly speed the end of a new relationship.|
All of this is upsetting me. This is a pattern: I get needy with guys I am dating, maybe because I have never had a successful relationship. That's why I need a reality check from you. Am I reading too much into this situation? I know we have only been together for two months, but already I feel that he is losing interest in me. Please help!
You want a reality check. Here's one: After two months, be careful of using the word "usual" to describe any dating pattern you may have with someone. Even if you've gotten very close very fast, and the outlook for a future together is promising, it's still a new relationship.
Another reality check: Before you let fear drive your romance into the ground, take a big step back and consider your pattern. You started dating this new guy when you were on an even keel. Two months later, you've lost your balance, and the newfound relationship is rocking from this sudden gust of neediness and insecurity. It's good to identify a pattern; now the challenge is to evaluate and stop your bad habits before they precipitate an end. You can't change another person's behavior, but you can change your own behavior and responses.
You asked me three questions, so let me advise you by addressing each of them:
Are you reading too much into this situation?
Not necessarily. If your instincts tell you he's losing interest, that's a definite possibility. Or he could just be preoccupied, and this could be an unusually busy time for him at work. You won't know for sure until you ask. But it's how you ask that matters most. If you want to spend more time together, meet each other's friends, or clarify your status (monogamous or dating around), initiate those talks, but in an easy-going, non-accusatory way. Remember that he hasn't done anything wrong per se. You haven't agreed to exclusivity, nor has he broken any promise about spending time together. It's all still too new.
Are you rushing this relationship?
It's only been two months and yet, you're letting your neediness and insecurity get to you while making assumptions about his behavior. Premature neediness can certainly speed the end of a new relationship. So ask yourself why you feel needy: Could it be that part
of your pattern is expecting too much from or pinning unrealistic demands on the man you date? In my research with gay men, I've found that many wait for their lives to start until the right guy comes along, think that a relationship will somehow fix what they dislike about their lives, and/or assume that a relationship will be the key to status and self esteem. These are all myths.
|I've found that many wait for their lives to start until the right guy comes along.|
Are you being insecure and waiting for this relationship to fail?
Feeling bad about not having a successful relationship is baggage that you don't want to carry into a new romance. I can understand why you'd feel scared or insecure, but letting those fears take over is giving in to pessimism. The truth is that security comes from within and no boyfriend can give you the refuge you crave in a relationship if you don't feel secure about yourself.
I think the best approach for you is:
First, give yourself a reality check.
One of my favorite quotes about romantic love comes from the Dalai Lama, who said, "The greatest relationships are those in which the desire for each other greatly outweighs the need for each other."
- Decide if your expectations are reasonable, based on where you are in your relationship right now. For example, is it really so bad that your new guy wants to spend a weekend with his friends?
- Clarify what you want from a relationship. What are you looking for? Does your new guy meet most of your criteria? How much time together is enough?
- Boost your self-esteem so that you don't feel as needy in the first place. Avoid obsessing about him; instead, do things that make you feel better about yourself—read a book, see your friends, or work out to feel better about yourself.
Second, talk with your boyfriend about expectations—yours and his.
Get a reality check from him:
Bottom line: Once you've done these reality checks, you'll be in a much better position to manage expectations—both yours and his.
- Is he happy with your dating status quo? Does he want to continue dating?
- If so, how and when will you consider issues such as making more time for each other, monogamy, and integrating your lives as you move forward? You don't need to make those decisions now, but it's important for him to know you're thinking about them.
- What does he want from a relationship right now? Does he just want a casual boyfriend who'll understand that work is a priority? Or is he looking for more?
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.