How to not get TOO excited about a new relationship?
September 5, 2008 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Starting a new relationship from different places - how do I keep myself in check?

About six months ago, my long-term boyfriend (4+ yrs) and I ended our relationship. It had been a long time coming, and was very painful for awhile, but I feel like I'm in a much better place now in terms of our breakup and feel kind of zen about the fact that things just wouldn't have worked. I've met someone else (via a personal ad) and we have started seems like we really, really click. After being in a relationship that just didn't click for YEARS, I am absolutely thrilled to meet someone who shares my sense of humor, is genuinely intelligent, etc. I'm so excited, in fact, that I'm afraid I am going to scare this person off. I can't quit checking my email to see if I've heard from him, fretting about meeting up with him, thinking about what might happen between us, etc. He, of course, isn't in the same emotional situation, and though it seems like the feelings we have for each other are mutual, I can acknowledge that we may not be coming from the same place, and I feel needy and anxious.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I said this before, but:
At the beginning of relationships i always try to remind myself that you never get this time back. This is the magical and crazy discovery period where you both act stupid and googly. Embrace it! Run with it! Because pretty soon you'll both be drooling on the couch together watching bad tv and not talking because you've both asked all your questions and gotten all your answers. Stop worrying about getting'll both be wearing hideous sweatpants and eating soup from a can anyway.

Seriously, if it doesn't work – it may not – at least you enjoyed yourself. Don't be psychotic of course, but don't hold back either. You be you, and date exactly how you want. If somebody doesn't appreciate it, don't date them.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:20 PM on September 5, 2008 [8 favorites]

I'm paraphrasing myself here, but it's the best way I've found to put this:

100% of your energy for 3 weeks -> one person who may or may not be right for you

100% of your energy for 3 hours-> one person who may or may not be right for you

Think about all the people you can meet and spent time with if you don't on this one guy. Think about the time you will have to write, create, study, sit around and do nothing, swim, drink coffee, listen to music, get laid...

I'm not saying you can't have crushes, just don't let them become the foreground of your life. Date other people. Enjoy that excitement when you talk to him and meet with him, but don't let your life revolve around him, or any man.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:27 PM on September 5, 2008 [3 favorites]

Somehow you didn't receive the memo the rest of us got about a decade ago: An e-mail correspondence based on a personal ad is not a real relationship. There's literally nothing to get all excited about. Meet this guy immediately so you can begin to see whether there's anything there.

fretting about meeting up with him, thinking about what might happen between us, etc. He, of course, isn't in the same emotional situation,

Your quasi-question is "how can I keep myself in check?" So why keep yourself in check? Why are you still fretting? Why haven't you met already? You imply that he's refusing to see you. What's that all about? That makes you like him? If he won't see you, move on.

I truly wish you the best of luck. Your faux-question will be answered once you "meet up" and see reality.
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:44 PM on September 5, 2008

Personally I find that sondrialiac's approach doesn't work for me. If I've got several prospects to be excited about, I don't get really excited about any of them because I'm always wondering what might happen with the others. I mean, I get that you're trying not to be too excited, so maybe that approach would be effective, but the problem is that it can keep you (well, me, anyway) from ever really liking anyone enough to start a serious relationship with them.

The only way I've ever found to let myself be excited about someone but not so much that I scare them off, is to also be excited about my own life. I have goals I'm working towards, projects I'm trying to complete, plans with friends that I'm looking forward to. I'm too busy enjoying my awesome life to obsess over somebody else. (At least that's the attitude I try to cultivate.)

When someone loses interest because the other person seems TOO interested, I think "scared off" only captures half the possibility. Sure, an overly-enthusiastic person might just come off as too intense, which might be scary. But the other reason the super-excited-person becomes unattractive is that they tend to drop all the things that make them interesting in favor of hitting send/receive or checking their phone or composing long, never-to-be-sent love letters. When your date asks what you've been up to, you want to have something interesting to tell him/her, something that demonstrates a bit of who you really are, not just "uhhhh, nothing much" because you don't want to admit you've been sitting at home killing time until they call you.

In a nutshell, my advice is to make sure you're going out and living your life. Force it if you have to. If you think about this person all through your epic rock-climbing afternoon or your ballet class or your pirate-themed party with friends, at least you still have something interesting to talk about when you finally get together.
posted by vytae at 12:56 PM on September 5, 2008 [9 favorites]

You need to meet this person, stat.

1. If you wait too long, you will get all squirreled up over his emails, and then when you do meet, you've increased your chances of coming off as psycho, rather than just interested.

2. Emails can be edited, rewritten, ghost-written, copy-and-pasted, etc before the version that you see ends up in your inbox.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:06 PM on September 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

How to not get TOO excited about a new relationship?

first of all, you're not in a relationship because you haven't even met him yet.

so essentially you are building up this whole "relationship" including all false ideas of who he is and what he is to you and blah blah blah and yet, you haven't even met him.

how about meeting him first before deciding that he's perfect for you? ppl can click via email and the internet and still have zero chemistry in real life. don't put the cart before the pony.
posted by violetk at 1:12 PM on September 5, 2008

I've met many fascinating guys online, going the personal ad route. In person, very often it's a different story. Definitely meet this guy in person, but be open to meeting others too. Don't put this guy too much on a pedestal, because you'll almost always be disappointed.

And yeah, to echo others, I wouldn't be thinking in terms of "relationship" at all now. Heck, you just got out of one! Enjoy your own company for awhile.
posted by medeine at 1:24 PM on September 5, 2008

Everyone's chiding you over "but you're not IN a relationship," so I'm coming in with some empathy -- because even though they're right, and I KNOW they're right, I do this exact same thing -- spin fantasies and hopes around a possibility. And I don't know why I do, because if they fall down and go boom, it does hurt.

But I've learned to accept that I do this and I try to keep it in perspective -- rather than getting all carried away about "ohmigod he could be IT" and then swinging back to self-flagellation over "jeez why do I DO this to myself", whenever I catch myself getting all excited, I just try to take a deep breath and be grateful that, no matter what shit's been flung at me, that "wow, I still have a really, really high capacity for hope. No matter what happens, I've still retained the abilty to be hopeful, and that right there is a good thing." A lot of times, recognizing that that high-flying hope is something that is coming from WITHIN ME, and is moreover a GOOD quality in me, is enough to short-circuit the eagerness for a little while.

I mean, I agree with the "wait and meet the guy before you get carried away" advice as well, but I have been in your shoes and I know how the waiting TO meet him gives you a lot of free time to let your mind go galloping off somewhere. But the ability to have that much hope is a really, really good thing -- as long as you recognize that that hope is all coming from INSIDE YOU.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:11 PM on September 5, 2008 [10 favorites]

I've met someone else

No you haven´t. Met him that is. You must meet the person in question in person before he can become the someone else you have met.
posted by yohko at 2:21 PM on September 5, 2008

Anon, there's a 50/50 chance that the two of you may meet and there may be zero chemistry, in which case this will all go nowhere. Keeping that in mind may help you be cautious but optimistic.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:29 PM on September 5, 2008

Yeah, you really don't know who this person is or how much you get along until you've met him in person. I've fallen for guys over email who turned out to be terribly boring in person, or who insisted that I weigh less than 70% of their weight, or who turned out to have a Muppet fetish, or who picked their nose at the table, or who did not call the next day but wrote lengthy public blog entries about how the date went and all the ways in which I negatively reminded him of his ex. (I swear I am making none of this up.)

On the other hand, that giddy infatuation can and will happen to people you meet in person, too, and may very well happen with this guy. And it's so easy to get carried away with that feeling, and if it doesn't work out in those early stages the crash feels that much harder.

After a few such crashes, keeping your expectations in check is a little easier, but of course those crashes are no fun. In the meantime, right now, see if you can step away from the email and channel some of this hyper energy into something that's unrelated to him. The excitement of a potential new relationship can easily spill over into other exciting things in your life.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:59 PM on September 5, 2008

EXACTLY what vytae said.

But the other reason the super-excited-person becomes unattractive is that they tend to drop all the things that make them interesting in favor of hitting send/receive or checking their phone or composing long, never-to-be-sent love letters.

keep yourself interesting, not just interested.
posted by beccyjoe at 8:41 AM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

I met my fiancé online. I told him I required a date within 2 weeks of our first e-mail. I was not going to put myself through getting all emotionally attached if there was no in-person chemistry. I'd been through that too many times. Ask him on a freaking date already.

Also, get an absorbing hobby that doesn't involve being near a computer.
posted by desjardins at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

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