Ask Dave-Can We Regain Momentum?

Their relationship started off fast and furious…but is cooling down. Can they get the spark back?

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I've been seeing a man I met three months ago, but I am not sure it's going anywhere. We're past the initial stages of getting to know one another. But we're not heading into anything more serious, from what I can tell. It's not that I have a problem with slow and steady dating; it's that we started out
This is one of the dangers of getting very close very fast.
fast and furious and it's slowed down. We're both 30, with busy professional and social lives. We saw each other a lot for the first couple of months. During the last month, we've had less contact. He's attended a family wedding, taken a couple of business trips, and needed some down time, which I understand. I have been busy, too. But I'm at the point where I just don't know if it's worth pursuing this great guy. I've been hesitant to bring this up, because there always seems to be a good reason for not getting together lately; family, business, friends, and personal needs. All I know is that a romance that kicked off in high gear is now poking along. I feel like we're losing momentum. Any advice?
- Frustrated in California

Dear Frustrated,
A wise person once said, "If you're coasting, you're either losing momentum or else you're headed downhill." It does seem to apply to your dating situation, doesn't it?

This is one of the dangers of getting very close very fast. Expectations kick in, and you assume that love will be a straight line heading upwards on a steady climb. You feel like you're on a rocket, or maybe climbing a ladder. But then the truth hits, and it seems more like you're up and down on a rollercoaster or, in your case, in a car shuffling along at 15 M.P.H. on cruise control.

You have to address your feelings about slowed momentum. But before you say anything to him, ask yourself a few key questions:
  • What do your instincts tell you? Is he losing interest, are you, or are both of you slowly dropping the ball at the same time without admitting it? If your instincts say you are not right for each other, or maybe it's just not the right time, then consider moving on before you're more entrenched.
  • Do you feel nonchalant about dating him? I am guessing the answer is no, or you wouldn't have written. But if you're unhappy and staying in this relationship because you feel you should settle for any reasonable boyfriend, then reconsider. Maybe you feel like you should date him because he's a "looks good on paper" guy, with the qualities you say you want. This approach discounts your feelings, which are a very real part of this equation. His great qualities duly noted, how do you feel about him? If the answer is "so-so," then it's not fair to either of you to continue.
  • Is this a pattern? Are you rushing this three-month relationship out of neediness and insecurity? Premature neediness can certainly speed the end of a new romance. Do you have a pattern of expecting too much from, or pinning unrealistic demands on, the man you date? If so, then work on feeling surer of yourself before you project your fears onto him.
  • Are you worried despite the fact that he's calling you regularly, making plans, and at least showing some momentum with phone calls? Could it be possible that he really is just preoccupied during an unusually busy time? You won't know for sure until you ask. But it's how you ask that matters most—you should be seeking information, not accusing him of anything. And before you ask, make sure you have some idea of what you want, because this discussion will most likely lead to each of you sharing what your expectations are for your relationship.
Now, let's get more specific about the kind of discussion you might have. If you decide you want to get back on track and regain the momentum you've been
Remember that he hasn't done anything wrong, per se.
missing, initiate those talks, but in an easy-going 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.

Gently and honestly lead the discussion toward such topics as how much time you want to spend together, what level of dating you both want, and if your expectations for each other are reasonable. Does he want to continue dating? 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? If so, how will you consider issues such as making enough time for each other, juggling friends and work, and maintaining a sense of momentum as you move forward?

After you talk, you'll find out if the priorities that took over during the last month are really temporary, and the two of you can start planning to see each other more frequently, take a trip together, and do other things that make your bond feel as if it's becoming more solid. Or, you might discover that you're two great people whose romance conked out due to bad timing or a relationship that quickly ran its course.

Bottom line: Yes, you can regain momentum, but make sure you both want to go in the same direction before you put the emotional pedal to the metal. Don't rev up a relationship that may not be right for you, at least not right now.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for 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
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