Erika Fore is back to help us with the tough stuff, like how to stay cool when you’ve been guilty of coming on too strong.
“I’m in a new relationship. I really like this guy, but I’m trying not to come on too strong. We’ve had sex a few times and it’s been awesome, but I can’t get a sense for his level of intimacy or commitment.
In the past, I’ve gone into relationships (including sex) full force, but that’s always ended up pushing my partner away.
I don’t want to blow it with this guy, but I’m having a hard time finding that balance of being interested and being ‘cool’ with him.”
While this isn’t strictly a sex question, when you think about it, the better your communication skills are in relationships, the better they can be in bed!
This question is the story of my younger life. I also had a hard time in some of my relationships because when I liked someone new, I really liked them, and I wasn’t good at playing the “too cool” game. I like to like people. And I like it when people like to like me back! For most of my high school and early twenties years, I was caught trying to be someone I wasn’t. All my upbringing taught me to play “hard to get,” and “make him make the first move.” So I was totally weird while dating and some of my amours were put off by my awkwardness.
But eventually, I would come to realize I was awkward because I wasn’t being myself. My most authentic self came out when I was straightforward with my dating partners. And something else I realized: I like to chase! No wonder I hated having to sit around, waiting to be wooed–as it turns out, I like to do my own wooing!
(Fun fact about me: my partner is a man who loves to be pursued and romanced, so we’re a fantastic match.)
So, here’s my advice for you: speak your truth. Call out your own awkwardness. Role model the transparency you want to see in your partners. I can tell you from experience that many men also like to geek out about how much they like their new partners, but American society doesn’t really embrace that–it’s sappy, not masculine, and that’s a shame because who doesn’t like to be liked?
Here’s a little script for you: “Hey, [new guy], I just want to be straight with you. I really like you. You’re super interesting to me and every time we hang out (or have sex), I have a blast. I’m excited about where this is going! So if I seem awkward or too eager, just know it’s because I’m an excited puppy whenever I see you. And I want to be dating someone who likes that I like them so much. Are you that kind of guy?”
My only word of caution: make sure your words align with your actions and make sure you’re both looking for the same outcome. Don’t try to appease your partner by saying you agree that no-strings-attached, casual sex is best when really, you’re looking for “The One.” Plenty of people are only in the market for something casual, and it can be a wonderful place to be. If you’re not in a place to give a serious partner the kind of time and emotional energy they deserve, it’s honorable to say so.
Then again, women aren’t the only ones who yearn for a spouse or parenthood, and not all men are commitment-phobic. So if you’re looking to build a life partnership with someone you love, don’t be afraid to say so. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s okay to lay those cards out. Relationships shouldn’t be about hiding your feelings or pretending to feel a way you don’t. The best part about being honest in the early stages is if you’re not looking for the same thing, you’re free to put more energy into what you do want!
Falling in love (or even in like) is fun, it’s heady, it’s exhilarating and it’s passionate! So, enjoy it. Give yourself permission to feel all the feelings and have a good time, whether you have an agenda or not.