I have been out of the dating scene for 10 years after having been in a long-term relationship for that length and it has since ended. I find it difficult being back on the singles’ market.
I currently find myself in a strange situation; I have met a guy through the Internet. On our “first date”, I set the context of our encounter by saying that I thought from having left a long-term relationship that it was important for me to be friends and to be interdependent rather than codependent as was my previous experience.
So now seven weeks have passed, we’ve been on a number of dates, but haven’t kissed. I am waiting for him to make a move. I’m fearful and I don’t want to ruin anything if it is meant to be a friendship, although I would like more. How long is too long to know someone before “stepping things up” and how do you decipher whether it’s a friendship or if there’s potential for a relationship?
'Back On The Scene Again'
Dear 'Back On the Scene Again':
Yes, it can be quite a difficult challenge when transitioning back into the dating scene after having been in a long-term relationship for the length that you were involved in. Feeling rusty and out of practice, it can be overwhelming navigating through those waters again, particularly with the difficulties inherent in finding compatible matches. Not only this, you’re likely still going through a grieving process over the loss of your 10-year relationship even though you initiated the breakup.
So my first bit of advice to you is to relax and breathe! There’s no rush and it’s a process you have to go through. Becoming preoccupied with the dating challenges will only serve to frustrate you and create more angst and desperation that could sabotage your efforts to find healthy dating partners.
Being new to the scene again and wanting “to do it right the first time around” is commendable and it sounds like you’ve done your homework by realizing the importance of pacing and taking things slow. There does need to be a balance with this, however, otherwise many men will perceive a lack of interest if the signals aren’t expressed that you’re interested.
This new guy you’re dating sounds like someone you’re intrigued with and would like to see developing into more than “just friends.” While going slow is important, you want to beware of over-thinking it and communicating it too much to the guy you’re seeing.
My concern is that it’s possible your guy may have interpreted your statement on the first date of being friends and interdependent as a barrier you put up towards getting close. Try to be mindful of ways you may be projecting your past relationship mistakes onto new dating encounters.
It’s important in the early stages of dating that you make the contacts light and gradually build in more self-disclosure as you screen the person to determine their suitability; this way, your disclosures match the level of intimacy that’s developed in your progressive meetings with your new dating partner. It’s possible your statements may have come across as “too heavy” and your guy may have interpreted what you said in such a way that now your relationship with him is defined as purely a friendship because that may be what he thought you were surmising.
After two months with no movement, that may be the case. But don’t fret, my friend! All is not lost! It’s also very possible that he, too, shares your interest, but is waiting for you to make the first move because of what you said and he’s letting you be in control of the pacing since you expressed the need initially.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com