5 things to remember when you’re dating someone exclusively.
Ask Wendy: Dating, Sex & Relationship Advice for the Bold
I’ve been dating a guy for two years. We get along great — intellectually, sexually, humor-wise, etc.
We were long-distance as he worked in another state. We talked or texted every day. We saw each other about every 6 weeks.
We never said, “I love you,” and when I brought it up, he said he had trouble expressing his feelings. His actions (driving 7 hours through snow storms to see me, etc.) said he cared so I was okay with taking it slow.
After his temporary job ended, we were planning to move in together and then he got distant. When I asked what was up, he said he wasn’t ready to take that next step. He said he didn’t know why because I was so gorgeous and had an amazing personality and he knew what a catch I was, but he just didn’t feel that “spark.” He thought our relationship never moved beyond friendship.
I told him if after 2 years he didn’t see a future with me, then I had to move on.
I know he’s not my guy because I shouldn’t have to convince a guy to love me, but damn. We had all the makings for something fabulous and I’m having trouble making sense of why it ended. If I made mistakes, I want to learn from them and not repeat them. Was I too much in my masculine? Did I put him in the friend zone? Or was it simply a matter of him not feeling that spark?
Two years! I’m so sorry that you were strung along for such a long time. I’m a little miffed that he didn’t speak up about that “spark” or have the “let’s be friends” convo long before two years. An appropriate timeline for this is within the first few weeks, not years.
When things go south, the first place we tend to go is “what did I do wrong?” The answer here is that you, Cindy, didn’t do anything wrong. You showed up. You were yourself. Gorgeous. A catch. Compatible in many ways. You did your part in this partnership.
Based on what you said, I think one of two things happened:
1) He didn’t feel a spark, like he said, but he liked you so much he didn’t want to lose you.
2) He’s got some serious commitment issues and as the relationship progressed, he didn’t know how to move beyond his own limitations.
Either way, ouch!
“I Love You”
The whole “I can’t say I love you” thing is a pink Post-It note, not a red flag. (A pink Post-It note is something that you scribble down and then tuck away to check up on as a relationship progresses.)
The hesitation is rarely a reflection of the relationship. It’s a reflection of an individual’s relationship with love itself.
I know people in happy, solid relationships who said “I love you” within the first week and others who didn’t say it all the way through a ten-year marriage, and then there’s everything in between. It’s more about the “why” of saying those words, not the when.
“I love you” from a man or folks who run in their masculine energy a lot often tie it up with accountability and obligation, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the person they have feelings for.
So, no “I love you” doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
There isn’t a “spark” doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
The situation sucks, but not because of something you did.
Going forward into the dating world, I’d encourage you to remember that:
Long Distance Usually Doesn’t Work
Don’t date anyone you wouldn’t travel to visit up to three times a week. Why three times? If your sweetheart comes down with the flu, you might need to shuttle yourself back and forth to bring them chicken soup — or vice versa.
Keeping Your Eyes Wide Open and Your Rose-Colored Glasses Off Will Serve You Well
Your letter really sounds like you got the rug pulled right out from underneath you — hard. And after two years of closeness, you loved that rug! I wonder, though, if we weren’t in COVID times and the two of us went out to lunch if midway through (after my grilling) you might not start to see some red flags and pink Post-It notes that you bypassed because you wanted it to work out with this one. At this lunch, I would ask you:
Were there moments when he was giving less than what was appropriate?
Were there times when you wondered, “is this really going to go anywhere?”
Did he show up with less enthusiasm about life plans like moving in together?
How many of the “happily ever after” conversations were driven by you?
I bet by dessert (we would definitely have dessert) you might have had a different picture of him and where his commitment level truly lived.
I don’t say this to hurt you, but to help prepare you for the next round.
Hot tip: Date people who are over the moon that they finally met someone as amazing as you. There shouldn’t be any hemming and hawing about shared goals and desires if the person you’re making these plans with is as ready for your future as you are.
Masculine Energy is Not a Problem
Being masculine is not a problem. We all run in our feminine and masculine energies to varying degrees depending on the circumstance.
Instead of worrying about changing who you are or what energy you’re bringing, focus on questions like, “Am I being vulnerable and receptive to this person?” If you’re open, vulnerable when you feel safe to be so, and receptive, you’ve got it made. No need to change your natural, energetic make-up. Your person needs you exactly how you are.
You Gotta Be You
You just keep being the gorgeous catch with an amazing personality that you are. You will spark the hearts of many if you’re willing to keep putting yourself out there, and one day you’ll meet someone who is such a good fit for you that you’ll be grateful that this one got away.
Sending you so much love and healing right now.
Wendy Newman is the author of 121 First Dates. She’s a dating, sex, and relationship expert who’s led hundreds of workshops and revolutionized the lives of over 70,000+ women internationally.
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You can send a question to the column via email: Wendy@WendySpeaks.com