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    Too Serious Too Soon - How Can We Slow Things Down?

    Asked Mar 5, 2008, 07:37 AM 11 Answers
    My boyfriend (23) and I (21) have been dating for two months now. I began to realize that we got very serious very quickly. We spent every day (that he was not working) together. At first that was fine for both of us, but that soon began to wear off and I think we both began to back off. I care for him very much, but I also know that we cannot be together 24-7 if we want this to work.

    We have never had a fight or intense argument over anything. We got along perfectly, that was until this last week, I had noticed he has seemed very distant, and I asked him about it. At first he claimed nothing was wrong, but then two nights ago I got very upset by his obvious distance, and after a conversation he told me that he wanted to slow down & just be friends (which deep down I knew we needed to slow down). However, just hearing it from him upset me & things escalated and he said he did not want to be in a serious relationship. He also begins paramedic school in a month & says that he will not have time for anything, which I also knew, and accepted. I do not want to do anything to interfere with that because I know it is his job & will only benefit him in the future. Nevertheless, I planned on standing beside him through it all.

    I think initially I was hurt & over re-acting, but now I do not know what to do. Since that night he has text messaged me & said that he wasn't sure if he made the right decision & he had been up all night thinking about it, and that day had been very hard for him thinking about it.

    Is it possible to go from being in such an intense, serious relationship to slowing things down & just enjoying dating? Or should I just let him go? I care a lot about him & I want to make things work, but I just don't know the best way of doing that!

    Please help! :confused:

    Last edited by JLH0396; Mar 5, 2008 at 07:50 AM.
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    sungene's Avatar
    sungene Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #2

    Mar 5, 2008, 08:08 AM
    Hi. It sounds to me like he's about as confused as you about what to do in this relationship. I know it feels like a long time, but you two are still getting to know each other. Because you say "I planned on standing beside him through it all," I worry that you are giving up too much of yourself and your life for him, putting him first. Also, it's normal to have disagreements and little fights in a relationship: if you haven't had any in two months of being together almost constantly, someone is holding back, or both of you are holding back real feelings because you might be afraid to rock the boat. You've had two happy months of being closely aligned and joined, but perhaps the indication of no fights is an indication that not everything was being said. The heady excitement of being together might have made each of you ignore the little things that bother or irritated, and each time you ignore your feelings, even little ones, and especially what some might consider to be "negative" feelings, you might be giving up something of yourself. His distance might be his way of reclaiming his feelings, of not giving them up, and reclaiming himself. And once he's reclaimed himself, after having that spat, it seems his text message indicates that he still cares for you, and is confused about what to do, also.

    I think a little distance is healthy in any relationship. You need to have your own life, your own happinesses, your own irritations and anger, and be true to them fully, before you can really be true to someone else. Relationships are about gray areas: it doesn't have to be ALL one way or the other. Perhaps you both need a little time to see your own friends for a while, or a few days a week, or do the fun things you did before you started dating him. It doesn't mean you need to break up, but give it a few days of not seeing him and being so connected to him, to get your own feet underneath you. Go for a long walk or a bike ride. See something some friends, or an art show, or a lovely park, something big and meaningful outside of yourself and your relationship. It always helps!
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    UDntKnwMe's Avatar
    UDntKnwMe Posts: 26, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Mar 5, 2008, 08:40 AM
    Well, sounds to me like you have a bit of a problem. Honestly, from a guys standpoint, If he is telling you this, he might want to either be friends and date other people, or possibly a booty call, but that don't sound like the situation. What you really need to do, is call him up, tell him you need to get together with him so you guys can talk about things (make sure its at his place that way if you get to upset you can leave). When you are talking to him, tell him you want to know exactly how he feels about the two of you as a couple. Then weigh out the good and bad in your relationship, but it sounds like there is a lot more good than bad. Then bring up the idea that you guys can be close friends. Not too close though, as it may seem like you're a couple. Basically what you need to do is try and talk him into being close friends, that way you can be in eachothers lives. If you have any questions, feel free to message me!
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    JLH0396's Avatar
    JLH0396 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    Mar 5, 2008, 09:06 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by sungene
    Hi. It sounds to me like he's about as confused as you about what to do in this relationship. I know it feels like a long time, but you two are still getting to know each other. Because you say "I planned on standing beside him through it all," I worry that you are giving up too much of yourself and your life for him, putting him first. Also, it's normal to have disagreements and little fights in a relationship: if you haven't had any in two months of being together almost constantly, someone is holding back, or both of you are holding back real feelings because you might be afraid to rock the boat. You've had two happy months of being closely aligned and joined, but perhaps the indication of no fights is an indication that not everything was being said. The heady excitement of being together might have made each of you ignore the little things that bother or irritated, and each time you ignore your feelings, even little ones, and especially what some might consider to be "negative" feelings, you might be giving up something of yourself. His distance might be his way of reclaiming his feelings, of not giving them up, and reclaiming himself. And once he's reclaimed himself, after having that spat, it seems his text message indicates that he still cares for you, and is confused about what to do, also.

    I think a little distance is healthy in any relationship. You need to have your own life, your own happinesses, your own irritations and anger, and be true to them fully, before you can really be true to someone else. Relationships are about gray areas: it doesn't have to be ALL one way or the other. Perhaps you both need a little time to see your own friends for a while, or a few days a week, or do the fun things you did before you started dating him. It doesn't mean you need to break up, but give it a few days of not seeing him and being so connected to him, to get your own feet underneath you. Go for a long walk or a bike ride. See something some friends, or an art show, or a lovely park, something big and meaningful outside of yourself and your relationship. It always helps!
    When I stated that we never had a fight or intense argument I meant to only imply we weren't having disagreements constantly. We both have different opinions & we express them freely, but I think that was one of the things I enjoyed about him was that we both could "agree to disagree" on some level. I never have held back any problems I have had with him or our relationship. We got into little "discussions" as I would call them (I don't think a negative connotation of "arguement" should be placed on a normal action) but nothing that ever required us to stop talking, or one person being upset.

    I have started to take some steps (in the short amount of time that has passed) to reclaim my life, that I know I have invested too much into him & he has given up too much of him to be with me constantly. I got in touch with the friends I may have been disregarding the past couple of months & we have made plans to see each other. I also started running - it seemed to help distract my mind from wanting to talk to him & allowed me to think about what it is I wanted. I know that being overbearing and smothering when he needs this time to think would be the totally wrong avenue to go down.

    He also asked me yesterday that we hang out Thursday (tomorrow) when he is off duty. I thought this would be a good idea so that we could talk about things - when both of us have had time to collect our thoughts & can have a mature discussions where we (mainly me) are not saying things just out of reaction.

    I would like to do whatever is best for me, him, and our relationship & lives. I know we are both still very young & I had no intentions of settling down anytime soon - but I do enjoy time spent with him & his company. I can't imagine not having that in my life simply because we both rushed into a serious relationship when we should have taken our time & enjoyed casual dating & friendship. I know now that when we were experiencing the "bliss" of a new relationship that we were hurting our future, time spent together began to feel more like a necessary thing or it was just expected & I believe it may have also devalued the time because we weren't excited to spend time together since we were doing 4-5 days a week.

    Thanks for the advice, I just needed to have an outside opinion of whether breaking-up would be an extreme, and could be avoided. I know the slowing down a full-steam ahead train is hard & takes a lot of power but I wanted to avoid a full fledged train wreck!
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    JLH0396's Avatar
    JLH0396 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Mar 5, 2008, 09:27 AM
    ::Update::

    This morning he sent me the usual "good morning" text message that he has for the past 2 months. I'm trying to give him time/space that I assumed "slowing down" meant, but nothing has seemed to change? I've read previous posts about how people call, email, text, IM etc. & they have no response from their bf/gf/ex who left them & the response is to give them time, don't call, etc. But what do I do in the situation where I am allowing him time/space & yet he is still initiating conversations & acting that all is the same?

    :eek:
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    sungene's Avatar
    sungene Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Mar 5, 2008, 09:34 AM
    All he did was send a good morning message, yes? He was thinking about you and sent you a word to say so. That's NICE. You could respond the same, and say something equally neutral, such as "have a great day", just to show you got his hello and are saying hello back. Meaning, I'm thinking of you, too, and hope you're OK! That's it. Are you reading too much into an innocent hello? And, as mentioned before, I think he is just as conflicted as you were. I like your idea of getting together for a chat after a few "cooling off" days. Do see your girlfriends and try not to over-think things. It's all gray out there. :o
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    JLH0396's Avatar
    JLH0396 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #7

    Mar 5, 2008, 09:39 AM
    Sun -- I'm definitely not reading too much into his good morning, or I don't think I am? I realize it means he is thinking about me - & that should be a good sign. I just didn't know if I should respond back, or just separate myself. You know? Throughout these boards are tons of people telling others to stop contact & I didn't know if I entered that category or should take a different approach. :)

    I'm just trying to do the most logical & mature things so that I'm not to hurt the already fragile state that our relationship is in!

    OH... & the friends that I'm going to be seeing aren't girls - I find that my closest friends are guys. Which may have been where I found myself distancing myself from them. These guys are not romantic interests in the least, but I think sometimes the co-ed friendship could cause problems. I know that it shouldn't in a healthy relationship & I don't think it would have bothered him, but maybe on some sub-conscious level I was avoiding it because I know it has caused problems with others in the past...
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    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 51,754, Reputation: 10739
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    #8

    Mar 5, 2008, 09:52 AM
    Stop overthinking, and merely reply in kind, keep it simple, as the goal is to slow things down, not stop in your tracks.
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    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #9

    Mar 5, 2008, 12:03 PM
    I'll never understand why people in a relationship begin pulling away because they are too busy with the rest of their life. Sure it can get rough going to college, starting a new career, and balancing the rest of life all at the same time, but I just don't see this as an excuse to end a relationship. I've always felt that facing life's difficulties and challenges with someone special would be very exciting and rewarding. On one side, being able to help my partner achieve her goals and make her dreams come true would be such a great feeling. On the opposite side, I would be a lot more confident if I knew my partner was there pushing me and helping me get through the tough times. I don't understand why we push people away during the times they can help us the most.

    Sorry, after reading your post I just had to say that. Now, to answer your question just give him space. You don't, and shouldn't, cut all contact with him. At this point your situation is a little different then others. If this relationship will last then you two need to communicate. For now just go with the flow, but when the time is right let him know that you really care about him and you are absolutely fine with slowing things down. Remind him that you don't want this relationship to hold him back from his career goals but that you want it to help him succeed. Let him know that whenever he needs his space you will give it to him, but more importantly when ever he needs help you'll be his pillar of strength. That is what a relationship is about.
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    JLH0396's Avatar
    JLH0396 Posts: 6, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Mar 5, 2008, 12:13 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by confused25
    I'll never understand why people in a relationship begin pulling away because they are too busy with the rest of their life. Sure it can get rough going to college, starting a new career, and balancing the rest of life all at the same time, but I just don't see this as an excuse to end a relationship. I've always felt that facing life's difficulties and challenges with someone special would be very exciting and rewarding. On one side, being able to help my partner achieve her goals and make her dreams come true would be such a great feeling. On the opposite side, I would be a lot more confident if I knew my partner was there pushing me and helping me get through the tough times. I don't understand why we push people away during the times they can help us the most.

    Sorry, after reading your post I just had to say that. Now, to answer your question just give him space. You don't, and shouldn't, cut all contact with him. At this point your situation is a little different then others. If this relationship will last then you two need to communicate. For now just go with the flow, but when the time is right let him know that you really care about him and you are absolutely fine with slowing things down. Remind him that you don't want this relationship to hold him back from his career goals but that you want it to help him succeed. Let him know that whenever he needs his space you will give it to him, but more importantly when ever he needs help you'll be his pillar of strength. That is what a relationship is about.
    Wow, I've never been so close to tears as I read that. It's like you said everything that I have been thinking about. I tend to write when my mind is perplexed & last night I was trying to gather my thoughts on the whole situation, & the topic of his school came up (knowing it is a huge weight on him right now) & when I wrote it seemed that what you just wrote was exactly what I was trying to say. I want to be there for him & just be there emotionally to help him through school (if he needs it). I know I am personally in my senior year in college & things are tough, & having someone there who understands the immense amount of effort you're putting in just makes the tough times & the accomplishments that much better. Really, thank you for that thought - it seems to reinforce my belief that a healthy relationship would not hinder your goals, but rather help them. Key word being HEALTHY.

    Thank you so much for your advice & words!! :)
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    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 51,754, Reputation: 10739
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    #11

    Mar 5, 2008, 01:56 PM
    Way to go confused25, and you should change your name as that was a great post, and not confused at all. Maybe Confucius, would be better. LOL. Or is that taken? Confucius25, yeah that's about right!!
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    confused25's Avatar
    confused25 Posts: 319, Reputation: 98
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    #12

    Mar 6, 2008, 09:44 AM
    Thank you for the kind words Tal. I wouldn't have been able to come this far without everyone's help at AMHD. However, confused25 is still a fitting name because no matter how much I learn there will always be aspects of life that are just confusing :)
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