Am I afraid or just not that into him?
July 17, 2012 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Is this a sign that it's not a good match or am I just afraid of intimacy after my last relationship?

So, I started dating someone I know through friends. Initially we seemed to have chemistry, but since we've started actually dating it's become awkward - not all the time, but definitely more than I would like or expect. We've now been seeing each other mostly once a week for about 2 months.

We have moments where we are really connecting and do have fun together, but this weirdness pops up here and there. I have never had a relationship progress this way. I am feeling more and more anxious and confused since the weirdness seems to be at a constant level, not tapering off.

Last week I randomly ran into him at my work and even though I had just been thinking about him, I didn't show my excitement to see him, in fact just the opposite. I think I came across as cold or perhaps indifferent. Afterwards I was kicking myself for not asking him what he was doing this weekend and showing my interest.

I am not used to taking things slow, but am trying to do something different here, maybe that's why I'm so turned around. In the past, I would just dive in and get all intense-- which generally has not worked so well, my last relationship was a real wake up call.

I'm really like him and want to get to know him more, but find myself shutting down, feeling kind of foggy around him, particularly when others are there. Something feels off, I'm not at ease and am more reserved than normal. I can't tell if it's because I feel vulnerable or we just don't click! This uncertainty is becoming more frustrating than fun.

It's bizarre, I feel so out of sorts, I mean, he's laid back, easy to talk to, I respect him as a person, we share interests and values, I'm very attracted to him-- why am I acting like a wacko?
posted by abirdinthehand to Human Relations (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Above all else, trust your gut. Your gut doesn't sound interested. Believe it.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:38 PM on July 17, 2012 [11 favorites]

Maybe you actually care how this relationship turns out. Perhaps you felt that the other ones would just turn out well. Now you are a little older and a little more experience in what could happen in a relationship so you are hesitant. In addition, since you know him previous to this relationship, you already know something about him and he knows a little about you. You don't want the impression he has of you to change. There is also the factor that you have transitioned a friend into a romantic partner so there are walls you are going to start tearing down. That could be uncomfortable too.

Don't think too much and just enjoy his company. Things will work out just fine.
posted by Yellow at 6:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't have to date people just because there's not something obviously wrong with them.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2012 [19 favorites]

I *did* read your post, and do care about personalized responses! However, this previous question and its responses really helped me learn to just listen to my gut. Hope you'll find something in the responses that speaks to you and helps you listen to yours.
posted by simulacra at 7:33 PM on July 17, 2012

I know what you're going through. I feel it's cause you're afraid to express your feelings. You're still really getting to know each other and if you feel things aren't being reciprocated in some fashion, you can shut down or play aloof when you don't want to. Sometimes it's easier to give up than to open up. This also happens when we're indecisive even about our own emotions that have nothing to do with that person. Give it some time. It's hella frustrating but learn to open your heart and express, even to him the times even when you feel awkward. Love isn't perfect.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 7:40 PM on July 17, 2012

I wouldn't discount that if you're attempting a different pace than usual, it will create some awkwardness/internal discomfort/dissonance. But..Maybe you just don't like him as much as you think you should. There's a big difference between "taking it slow" and "shutting down" and if you're not feeling at ease around this person after a couple months of dating, I wonder if you ever will.
posted by sm1tten at 7:41 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe it would be helpful to document your dates -- what the two of you did, at what point you felt foggy or unsettled -- keep a written journal with entries after each date. Maybe you could then look back and pinpoint anything off-putting, or any sources of anxiety for you.

It's a thought. But likewise, you don't have to have a reason to stop dating this person -- not enjoying yourself as much as you should is reason enough.
posted by daisystomper at 7:45 PM on July 17, 2012

Sounds to me like you like to be in control, and he's jamming your radar. That's not a bad thing.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:30 PM on July 17, 2012

I say don't count the work incident against him or against yourself. It can be flustering to run into a "social" face while you're in "work" mode.
posted by itesser at 9:50 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

On one hand, maybe it's just going too slow for you. If it were me, by now I'd have preferred to be seeing more of each other if we felt there was potential between us - I'd want to permit myself to start becoming attached and vulnerable. Feeling like things are being forcibly slowed down between us would start to make me feel awkward around that person - like I'm not able to be myself because I'm not allowed to feel anything for him yet. The feelings aren't being slowed down they're being squished away. Slow is good, but there can be too slow.

On the other, it could be that he seems great on paper and you want to like him, but for some reason you just aren't clicking.

Two months of knowing each other should make it perfectly acceptable to have a "how is this going?" conversation. If he's ambivalent at best, drop him. If he's enthusiastic about continuing, make plans to step up the game, and see how you feel towards him in a few weeks.
posted by lizbunny at 10:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

It seems like you're just not that into him.

Agree to stay friends maybe?
posted by commitment at 6:53 AM on July 18, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to know in the beginning. Just speaking from experience, one girl I dated things started out weirdly (I'd be into her, she wouldn't reciprocate, then she'd reciprocate, but I'd be distant, some awkward interactions) but it ended up being a very close and significant relationship.

The beginning can be hard and a little awkward. So, I'd say give it a little more time if you think/feel there's potential and you really like the guy. And I think it's good to learn from past relationships, but (and this is hard to do) you can't constantly live in the shadow of a past relationship. I know in one relationship I was very open and vulnerable and it didn't work and so in another I was more cautious and distant and it didn't work out. Basically, there's only so much you can do. I mean, it takes two to tango sort of thing. It's cliche, but just be yourself, be honest with yourself about your feelings, and honest with the other person, and be respectful to both of you.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 8:55 AM on July 18, 2012

Feel free to give it more time, but you don't sound that into him, to be honest.

I'm a relationship worrier. Until recently, any time a relationship or pre-relationship was going well, I would PANIC. Does this mean I'm not into him? What if we aren't right for each other? What if, what if, what if, and then my subconscious would say this isn't right, end it! over and over again.

My brain does this every time things start going well, so I've gotten used to it, and only recently learned how to tell when my feelings are Stupid Brain Fear Reactions or legitimate concerns about the relationship. It's a two-step process:

(1) Are there any red flags I'm missing? This can take a lot of introspection and is very, very good to assess early in a relationship (and just because there's one red flag, or a couple yellow ones, doesn't necessarily mean it's not a good relationship—if you can talk about them with your partner and they aren't BLINKING red flags like abuse, emotionally or physical).

(2) How do I feel when I'm with my partner and I'm not panicking internally. Do I love him, or at least care about him strongly (if we're not to the "love" stage yet)? Am I happy?

So, in my current relationship, when my brain dipped into PANIC mode, I was on the verge of breaking up with him for unknown gut feelings when I stepped back and thought about it, and realized it was a fear-based reaction: fear of the future, fear of breaking up (which is why I almost did it, because I was so scared of it happening that I just wanted it over with, like ripping off a bandage), etcetera. For other people, the exact things they're scared of can be totally different, or it could be triggered by a completely different emotion. But I knew I cared about him deeply, was immensely happy with him, and there were no red flags. And once I realized that, everything got so much better. I still get scared — I still worry a lot about if the relationship is right, if it's okay, etcetera — but acknowledging that I was scared was like taking a giant step up the Mount Everest of relationship intimacy.

Anyway, I just wrote a novel that isn't even 100% relevant. But I would encourage you to take a step back and think about those two things, and see where they take you. And remember: it's okay to feel these things!

(But what I think you'll find, from my armchair psychiatrist's seat, is that you just aren't that into him. And that's all right.)
posted by good day merlock at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

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