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How do I know if the guy I'm dating is actually interested in something serious?
July 26, 2011 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I've been dating this guy for a few weeks now, and I'm not sure where things are going.

I met this guy through a mutual acquaintance, and we've been dating for a few weeks. There's a lot of physical attraction. We've had sex, and the sex was great.

I have a tendecy to get really physically intimate with people I'm dating (if I feel attracted to them) really quickly because I think I try to substitute physical intimacy for emotional intimacy, which is something I struggle with. For this reason, I sometimes end up in these casual sex relationships. I'm okay with casual sex relationships as long as we both know where we stand and I don't develop feelings for the other person.

My problem right now is that I've been dating this guy for about a month now, and if you look at our relationship, it kind of looks like a casual sex relationship. We really don't see each other that often, and the relationship isn't really moving forward. Granted, I haven't dated for a while, and I guess I just don't remember how fast things normally move.

In an attempt to be emotionally vulnerable with him (I'm trying to work on my problems), I discussed my concerns with him. He assured me that this isn't just about sex and that he's not that kind of guy. But I guess I'm just not sure if I believe him. (I believed him when he was telling me all of this, but the more I thought about it later on, the more I doubted it...)

Sometimes he'd say these things that are really sweet, to the point where it's almost impossible to believe that he's being sincere. And sometimes I also feel like he's not backing up his words with action. It kind of bothers me that things aren't moving forward, that we're not spending more time together. He says that he's busy, but whenever I hear someone say that, it's like, yeah, I've heard that a thousand times before. The way I look at it is that almost no one's so busy that they can't find time if they really wanted to.

I guess I just don't know if things are moving at a normal pace and I'm just being paranoid, insecure, and impatient, or if he's playing me and I'm just not seeing it because I don't want to. We only see each other about once a week.

Maybe I'm just overthinking this? I don't know. On the one hand, I realize that it's too early for either of us to know where this is going, and I'm not necessarily even looking for a committed/long-term relationship with him. What I'm looking for is a real connection, something more substantial than casual sex. And I obviously have feelings for him otherwise I wouldn't care.

Any thoughts? What should things look like after a month of dating?
posted by raynax to Human Relations (15 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
For me, one of the big steps from "dating" to "in a relationship" has to do with the amount of time that you spend together that's not necessarily doing things together. Like, if he can't go out with you because he's busy working, say, "Okay, how about I just come over with my laptop and not bother you?"
posted by roll truck roll at 12:39 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ask him what days he is available to do something.
Make plans on that day to do something with him but make the type of plans where it is pretty obvious you won't be having sex before or after.
See if he agrees.

You've already asked him and he said it's not just about sex though. Maybe he is just really busy. You don't seem to know what you're looking for anyway so why don't you just see how it plays out naturally?
posted by zephyr_words at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2011


Why don't you propose doing something with him that entails doing something together, outside of the house, and not involving sex? Go for a walk, hike, bike ride, have lunch - like, a real date? See how he reacts? I am by no means an expert, but I would think that if he liked you he'd jump at this.
posted by floweredfish at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


A few weeks? Yes, you're being impatient. Relax, enjoy the intimacy you bring to the relationship, and let his intimacy grow at his pace. If you try to force his hand it will backfire on you.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately the sex started too soon, and now you're in a conundrum. If you're not okay with the casual sex relationship this has turned into, end it. If he's really into you'll know it and he'll pursue you. My feeling is he's very much enjoying you as a sex partner but isn't really wanting more.
posted by Falwless at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


The way I look at it is that almost no one's so busy that they can't find time if they really wanted to.

Careful with this. You're putting motivations in his head based on your own values and perceptions of what's normal or good in a relationship. His values might be completely different and thus your reading of his motives might be way off. He could be totally into you but genuinely very busy with firm commitments, or he could be particular about preserving his independence in relationships, or he could be worried about going too fast... any number of things.

If you want to be spending more time with him, take the initiative in calling him and scheduling more frequent dates. Listen carefully to his responses. If you get a series of brush-offs and excuses then you have a clearer signal. Though take care to note the difference between "really want to but can't" and "sorry I'm busy".
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:52 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you see each other once a week, and you've only been dating a few weeks, then it seems you've only hung out a few times. Here's what I hear: you're having good sex, he says such nice things that you doubt his sincerity, and yet he doesn't have too much time available to spend with you. I say trust your gut! You are doing a great job of trying to break old patterns ... trouble is you can't count on him to help you do that. It is SO HARD to recognize a pattern kicking in and then take action based on that awareness. Awareness isn't enough.

I think given that you are looking for a real connection, you became sexual prematurely. As difficult as it will be, your best bet is to take a step back and have a non-sexual relationship, until you feel secure in some level of mutual connection and feelings.

Easier said than done of course, always! Good luck.
posted by dlouise at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2011


Calm down, sit back, let it play out as it will. There's no need to rush things. You need more information and the way to get that information is to continue dating this guy. Getting together once a week is not unreasonable for a very new relationship.

Also, you can leave at any time. If you continue this pattern for another month and then find out (for real, not speculation) that he wants nothing more, you can leave at that time. It's not like you'll be trapped forever.

He is different from you. His motivations are not your motivations. His schedule is not your schedule. Don't make up stories in your head to explain his behavior.

Disclaimer: I'm on the other side of this right now. The person I'm dating wants moremoremore and while I am into seeing where this goes, the neediness is a turn-off.
posted by valeries at 1:19 PM on July 26, 2011


If you're not okay with the casual sex relationship this has turned into, end it. If he's really into you'll know it and he'll pursue you.

Or he won't, for any number of reasons. Ending a relationship when your goal is something other than ending it is the kind of behavior people refer to as "playing games." I would not be inclined to pursue someone who used that strategy on me.
posted by shponglespore at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


We really don't see each other that often, and the relationship isn't really moving forward.

We only see each other about once a week.

Here's a data point from someone else's POV - once a week isn't the same as "not that often." But I see you have qualified once a week with the word "only."

your perceptions are coloring this 100% and you're in an insecure place, so I'm not sure I would trust your perceptions of this situation yet.

Sometimes he'd say these things that are really sweet, to the point where it's almost impossible to believe that he's being sincere. And sometimes I also feel like he's not backing up his words with action. It kind of bothers me that things aren't moving forward, that we're not spending more time together. He says that he's busy, but whenever I hear someone say that, it's like, yeah, I've heard that a thousand times before. The way I look at it is that almost no one's so busy that they can't find time if they really wanted to.

Again, this is all about you. He's said sweet things (you don't believe them). He's told you it's not just sex (you don't believe him). You have interpreted "I'm busy" to mean "I don't care about you."

It's absolutely impossible for me to know if he is sincere or not. What I can see from this question is that you are having some distorted thinking about this situation and you seem very guilty about the sex. You could very well be reacting to some actions that were not explained fully here - so there's no way to tell exactly what is happening.

Consider Cognitive Behavorial Therapy (CBT) with a book or therapist - I think it could help you develop more balanced thought patterns about relationships in general, and this one specifically. I don't think your thinking is unusual or that you are necessarily wrong to be worried about the relationship - just that a more balanced approach would feel better and help you view this situation rationally.

If you're not okay with the casual sex relationship this has turned into

I'm not necessarily clear this has turned into a casual sex relationship. I'm clear your perception is that it has - but he actually point blank told you it wasn't.
posted by rainydayfilms at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


He may have commitments that are older than your relationship. For some of us, it takes time to make time.
posted by fake at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2011


Sometimes he'd say these things that are really sweet, to the point where it's almost impossible to believe that he's being sincere.

Maybe you're really just not that into him. Sure, there's nothing really WRONG with him, but he doesn't inspire you as relationship material. If you did see that potential there, you'd probably feel differently about hearing such sweet things.
posted by hermitosis at 1:42 PM on July 26, 2011


Yes, your perceptions are coloring this, but that's an important "data point" too. It tells me that you don't feel comfortable with the way things are. Do you trust your intuition? You've already discussed your concerns with him and you don't feel better?

To me, that's a signal to either accept the situation for what it is or look for a relationship where you don't have to ask yourself these questions.

I've been in a couple of those once a week/is this a relationship situations and they never ended well for me.
posted by pourtant at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


You've already told him how you rush into things sexually, and he's told you he's not that kind of guy. Give him a chance to prove it: tell him you're taking a break from sex for a bit, because you don't want to pursue a relationship if it's just about sex.

Don't tell him what you expect from him, don't give him guidelines, don't give him an exact date. See how he treats you. See how you feel. See if he pressures you. See if you change your mind. Explore the relationship beyond sex. If you and he manage to see each other more and grow closer in the meantime, great -- and you can spring "I want to have sex again -- NOW" on him at an opportune time. If he really is the kind of guy he says he's not, you'll likely not hear from him much, and you can move on.
posted by davejay at 6:12 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you might be getting way too into interpreting and analyzing what this relationship Means, and as a result you're getting into a weird headspace where everything he does comes to you loaded with implications that he probably didn't intend.

You basically need to relax. Spend less time thinking about the larger progression of this relationship and worrying that you got physical too soon and overanalyzing everything he says. Instead, focus on smaller increments. Do you want to see him sometime in the next few days? Ask him if he's free in the next few days. If he says he's busy, listen to what he actually tells you- does he seem sorry/offer another day instead/say something nice about you? Great! Make other plans for the days he's busy and maybe see if he's free for lunch in a day or two.

I think it's easy in the early stages of relationships to try to create patterns and draw conclusions when you just don't have enough data to make a call. You've only been seeing each other for a month; what's normal now doesn't necessarily reflect how things are going to be in a few months, and you ideally want to be playing the long game here. Statistical tests lose power the fewer observations you have- you basically don't have enough observations about him to draw any conclusions or start suspecting him of ulterior motives or whatever.

Pay attention to your feelings- if what he's giving you isn't making you happy, the trouble isn't worth the time you do get with him, and/or you want to start focusing on someone else, you should first, tell him what's up so he knows this is becoming a serious problem for you, and if that doesn't work, move on. But I think you need to relax and work on gathering some more data before you start trying to draw conclusions.
posted by MadamM at 6:28 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


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