“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect."
~ Brené Brown
Is he expressing his love for you on date #1, planning your honeymoon on date #2 and naming your three future children on date #3?
If you feel that your suitors may be coming on too fast and too strongly, here are some tips:
1. Check in With Yourself Often.
If you are a hopeless romantic, you may feel ecstatic when your potential suitor talks about the future on a first date, or tells you “you’re the woman I’ve been waiting all my life for”. Stop and check in with yourself. Remind yourself that, regardless of how amazing you are (because, obviously, you are!), this is too soon and this person may be trying so hard to mold you into the relationship partner he so badly wants.
If you move slowly and wait to hear these sweet romanticisms, you know that they are most likely genuine. Don’t let yourself be drawn into the “ideal fantasy”. Declaring your love for someone too quickly can signal insecurity or anxiety, or an inability/unwillingness to be alone. Additionally, some men love the chase and may be in love with the idea of relationships and intense passion, not necessarily a relationship with you specifically.
2. Be Aware of Recently Single Men.
This is not to say that they aren’t dateable, but just take caution if they seem to be coming on too quickly. They may be still grieving their previous relationship and thus smothering you by trying to skip over the dating phase and zip straight into exclusivity.
Dating, especially after being in a long-term relationship, can be stressful for some people so it can often be appealing to want to skip this and move way too quickly into relationship-mode.
3. Tune into Their Balance of “We-ness” vs. “Me-ness”.
If all you are hearing is, “we should do this”, “we should do that”, you may want to take pause. Watch out for serial monogamists that jump from relationship to relationship and latch on to the life of the person whom they are dating. Make sure you are still paying attention to the priorities you value outside of your relationship (friends, family, physical health, hobbies, spirituality/religion). You want to make sure your partner has their own life and knows how to make themselves happy, instead of needing you to fulfill his happiness.
4. Recognize How Technology is Impacting this Process.
In the age of digital dating, we find that there is a huge range of ways in which a potential partner may display their interest in you. On the one hand, you can have a divorcee who is just entering the world of dating after 10 years of marriage and has little experience with online/digital dating.
Or, you may have other potential suitors who only know dating from a digital perspective and thus utilize these means of communication immediately. Especially in this new era of dating, our immediate access to communication via various technologies can mean that the ways and amount of communication can quickly get out of hand.
5. Keep the Communication via Text to a Minimum.
In this digital dating era, people often begin to excessively text each other, becoming integral parts of each other’s days, before even meeting in person or knowing each other’s last name. This can create a false sense of closeness and intimacy, which can make the in-person dating feel disingenuous and awkward.
Try to bring your dating behavior back to the era of your parents, where communication was solely done via telephone or in person. Use texting as a last resort, at least for the first few weeks.
6. Be Honest.
Many women hesitate to be assertive and advocate for themselves, but it is essential in dating. If you feel that the prospective suitor may actually have true potential, but is coming on too strongly, a simple reminder that you need to get to know him and ask respectfully that you both take it slowly, allowing a foundation to build before the physical touch, pet names, etc.
Being openly honest may also give you a glimpse of how this man may react to your assertiveness down the line. If he empathically accepts and respects your wishes, it may be worth continuing to explore the potential. He may be wonderful, but just needs to be reminded to reign it in a bit. However, if he gets angry or dismissive, this can foreshadow how he may act in future situations in which you stand up for yourself.
Cori Dixon-Fyle, LCSW – www.thrivingpath.com
It cannot be overstressed how important it is to know, as well as understand yourself. When you know who you are and the type of guy you’d like to get to know well, you don’t put up with anything opposite of “that guy”.
Hang out or go to places where you attract similar interests. For example, you wouldn’t hang out or frequent bars where guys tend to get rowdy and rambunctious, if that’s not the type you are looking for. Because you can just imagine how they might be the same type of guy who would have the tendency to come on too strong too fast. After all, alcohol (spirits, as they are often called) is present. That might not be the guy who’s trying to get to know you slowly, or very well. This may be a generalization, but hopefully you get the point being made.
If you have good, healthy boundaries, guys tend to read them well, and from afar off. If they aren’t the type who’s looking for your type, you won’t be approached; so, don’t take it personally if this happens to you.
If you’ve been dating guys who tend to come on too strong too fast, some things to consider might be:
- What is it about you that keep attracting these types of guys?
- What do these types of guys and you have in common?
- What is it about these types of guys that irritate you?
- What are you looking for in a guy?
- What types of places does he frequently visit?
- What are they usually looking for when you run into each other?
In addition to understanding yourself better, and what you are really interested in, be careful not to accept or tolerate what you do not want. The moment a guy does something that suggests to you that he’s coming on too strong too fast, find a way to slow him down; or he will continue his behavior.
Whatever you allow to persist, will. Nip it in a bud and it won’t fester. The sooner he knows that you’re just not that into him, the sooner he’ll be gone; or his behavior will hopefully change for the better. This is the guys behavior when he’s not much into you. He keeps going or won’t call.
Try not to appear so desperate that you end up keeping what you get, even when you don’t want it. Present yourself in such a way that you will attract the type of guy you would want to be connected to, and not the opposite.
Remember, like tends to attract like. So, you do need to at some point look in the mirror if the same thing keeps showing up for you. Change that reflection and what you see will change. Desire more and better for yourself and the difference that happens will start first within you, and eventually you will attract the same; someone who’s not coming on too strong too fast.
Barbara Ann Williams, LPC, MS – www.barbaraannwilliams.com
Total honesty and self-awareness moment!
What does this really feel and look like? Is he coming on too strong and too fast like in 50 Shades of Grey or 9 ½ Weeks-when it’s totally hot, a little dangerous, or intriguing? Or like in Dumb and Dumber-totally annoying and turn off-ish? Or like in a stalker-ish call-the-police kind of way?
Coming on too strong can have different reasons and can surely cause all sorts of reactions.
And as women, we have to admit that we may have a little bit of double-standard sometimes (not any different than men, actually). The best way to describe this is with an old episode on Saturday Night Live featuring the one and only Tom Brady. Not trying to get into football affiliations, but he is super easy on the eyes. In this clip, there are two guys in the office: one-a little short, a little bald, super nice and shy; the other one (Tom Brady) super-hot, super arrogant, and very direct. They both are interested in asking the receptionist out on a date.
The first one, dressed up in a suit, approaches her in a very passive manner, barely letting his words come out. The moment he is done, the receptionist gives him a look and calls the Human Resource department to report his “inappropriate” behavior. On the other hand, Tom Brady shows up in speedos and a tight shirt, hugs her firmly, starts flirting with her in an aggressive manner, and before he is done, she picks up her purse and she is ready to go on a date.
Moral of the story: whether we like or not, we ALL have biases and double-standards.
Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and the vibes you are putting out there. They do make a difference. Any interaction between two individuals is a two-way street.
In addition to your own self-awareness, this is really a matter of boundaries.
And we all have different threshold of tolerance, so you will have to communicate how you feel assertively. But first, you may need to do a quick assessment:
Is he coming off too strong because he’s oblivious to boundaries and has no social skills or because he doesn’t care as, in his mind, he always gets what he wants?
What makes it feel too much for you?
His words, his looks, his mannerisms, his invasion of your personal space, his over-texting or over-calling? There may be some things he is not able to change and it’s truly too early in the relationship for you to ask him to change without offending him. But he may be able to change a few of his communication behaviors, verbal and non-verbal.
Give him some specific steps on how to ease up to your level of comfort while considering his feelings.
It could be that he is shy and socially awkward. It may have taken him a while to even get his courage to speak up. Sometimes when they are trying too hard, passive people can pendulum all the way to the other side and appear uncomfortable and aggressive. If you like him, give him so validation that you enjoy being around him, but that it takes you a while to get to know someone, and you’d like to take your time.
Now, once you give them some proper guidance and just a little bit of time (while you do some more checking around to validate or invalidate your first impression), and realize he is not passive, or shy, or nervous, he is just aggressive and does not care about invading your physical and emotional space, you just RUN the other way! It is not going to get any better and there is no reason for you to invest any more time in a relationship that’s lopsided from the beginning.
Ruxandra LeMay, PsyD – www.ruxandralemay.com
There's is nothing more frustrating than dating or getting to know someone to have him suddenly pull out all the stops and come on too strong as if he's afraid to lose you any second. This is even more frustrating when it's someone you like and could potentially have a relationship with.
If you find yourself in this situation, the first question to ask is: Do you like him to begin with?
I mean, coming on strong aside, is he someone you would have otherwise liked to date?
If the answer is NO, then simply you aren't a match and you can gently let him know you don't think you two are a good fit.
If the answer is YES, then first ask yourself what is bothering you about his behavior?
Is he crossing your personal boundaries? Or is he some place in the relationship that you just aren't feeling yet but would like to get to know him better? Are you really ready for the type of relationship that he wants as well?
If it's simply a matter of boundaries and space then it would be beneficial to have a phone conversation with him politely expressing what it is you need. If he is understanding and is respectful of your wishes then all is well. If not, then perhaps you both aren't the best match together.
Another consideration is to honestly ask yourself how ready you are for a relationship with a man so available? (That's if he isn't being overbearing or possessive and it's simply a matter of eagerly expressing his great interest.) With myself and many of my clients it took a lot of inner work and growth in self love to feel ready to receive this kind of open demonstration of love.
It wasn't until I was ready to meet my soulmate that I finally wanted a man to call me every day and talk on the phone for hours.
It wasn't until I was ready to meet my soul mate that it didn't weird me out that he said he loved me after two months of dating. And it wasn't until I was ready to meet my soul mate that I felt happy to get engaged after just 7 months of dating.
Thinking about the above questions and situations honestly will help you create a clearer solution about what to do when a man comes on too strong.
Dina Robison, Love Coach - www.dinarobison.com
If he comes on too strong way too soon…
You have to wonder why?
What is his agenda?
There are various reasons why. Read on below to find out.
#1. He’s only interested in a physical relationship/hook-up
If a man doesn’t let the getting-to-know-each-other process happen slowly and quickly moves on to the physical part of the relationship, then most likely he is only interested in a hook-up. If a man is interested in getting to know your mind, what you believe in, what you stand for, how you think about the world, your interests and passions, then he will be respectful of taking the physical part of your relationship slowly.
How to cope:
Speak up. Tell him you are interested in a serious relationship and want to take things slowly. Let him know you feel uncomfortable moving so quickly and want to slow things down. If he is a good guy, then he will be respectful of your feelings. If he agrees but then continues to come on too strong with the physical part, then gauge you emotions. Decide whether you want to discuss this topic with him again or if you rather let him go.
#2. He really likes you for you
Maybe he has good intentions. Maybe he is really attracted to you emotionally, intellectually and physically. If you don’t feel the same way about him just yet and need more time to develop stronger feelings, then let him know you need to slow down and why. Explain to him if you feel overwhelmed or scared or any other emotions that you experience when he comes on too fast. In this case, he may be coming on too fast in terms of wanting to spend a lot of time with you- more than you’re comfortable with or moving the physical part of your relationship too quickly. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
How to cope:
Communication, communication, communication. If he really likes you for you, then he will be very willing to listen to what you have to say and will be respectful of your feelings. If he has a secure attachment style, this won’t be a problem for him.
#3. He has an anxious attachment style
He is used to moving things quickly on the emotional front. He craves a lot of attention from you and reassurance that you like him. Is he trying to spend lots of time with you – even more than you are already spending together?
How to cope:
If you are feeling secure in the relationship and are giving him plenty of attention but he still isn’t satisfied, then consider letting him know how you are feeling while reassuring him that you do like him but need time for yourself as well. If you possess a secure attachment style, then this will most likely be easy for you to handle. If you have an anxious attachment style, then you wouldn’t even recognize this as a problem and would appreciate him investing so much of his time and energy into your relationship.
But if you have an avoidant attachment style, then this is going to be a big problem for you and here’s why and how to cope with this matter.
The why part may be due to childhood trauma, neglect or abandonment either by an early on caretaker or later on by a significant other. Another reason why you might have avoidant tendencies could be due to betrayal by a romantic partner.
You have a tendency to protect yourself from getting hurt and a fear that you will be left. In order to avoid these disappointments in a relationship, you leave your partner before they can leave you. Or you pull away as soon as you feel a bond is starting to form between the two of you. You don’t want to get too close to him because then if he leaves or betrays you, it won’t hurt as much as it would if you were to fall in love with him. So you do everything you can to avoid your feelings from growing.
How to cope with an avoidant attachment style:
- Educate yourself about attachment theory
- Take notice of what triggers avoidance in you
- Take notice of how you react to these triggers
- Reflect on what the consequences of your reactions have been in the past
- Think about whether you want to continue living out this pattern of avoidant behaviors for the rest of your life, which will result in a continuance of broken relationships
- Discuss your triggers and avoidant tendencies with your partner and ask for his help. You might be pleasantly surprised that he may want to help you, especially if he possesses an anxious or secure attachment
- Consider seeking out therapy to help you move from avoidant attachment style to secure attachment style
Anxious people make great partners. They are devoted, loyal, loving and willing to put their partner’s needs before their own even to their own detriment. But if you are avoidant, single and reading this, then consider avoiding (yes, I said avoiding) anxious partners until you become more secure. The reason for this is that an anxious and avoidant pair will engage in a continuous cycle of misery since you will trigger your anxious partner’s anxiety through your avoidance of him, and in turn, he will trigger your avoidance of him because you will get overwhelmed by his need for constant attention and reassurance.
If you are avoidant and in a current relationship with an anxious partner, then use the coping skills above to assess your triggers, reactions to those triggers and emotions associated with those triggers. This will help you to get to know yourself better, get to know what kind of partner you feel most comfortable with and, as a result, you will find happiness in your romantic life.
Jacklyn B, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.wordpress.com
When we’re dating someone and feel as if we’re being rushed into a relationship or a more serious attachment than we’re ready for, we may feel uncertain about what to do.
On the one hand, we may wish to keep a slow but steady pace or even back things up a bit and, on the other, we may fear that doing so will cause our partner to give up on us or lay down an ultimatum that we either move things along or he’ll look elsewhere for romance.
Here are some things you can do in this situation:
#1. Let your feelings be known
Without getting all heavy and serious on the subject, let your partner know you’re feeling a bit pressured. Say it with gentleness and assurance that you are enjoying getting to know him. Make sure not to give the impression that he’s messing up or that you have no interest in continuing the relationship. Be honest but tactful and think about how you would want to hear that you were coming on too strong in a relationship.
#2. Explain why you feel as you do
You may have several reasons that you aren’t enjoying feeling pressured. First, make sure that you know what your precise emotions are in this situation. Perhaps one or both of your parents often pushed you into doing things you didn’t want to do, and you have build up resentment when anyone does this. Maybe you even vowed as a child not to let anyone push you around when you grew up.
Alternately, maybe you’re frightened because you don’t know how you feel and don’t want to make a mistake in pairing up with someone who’s not going to make you happy. Or, perhaps you have gotten involved too quickly in the past to your detriment and know that you do better when you can take your time.
#3. Give examples of what feels like pressure to you
Just telling someone that he’s “coming on too strong” may not be enough to let him know exactly what he does that bothers you. If it’s his texting you all day long, needing to talk with you everyone night before bedtime, wanting you to give up dating others, or seeming to want to spend time with you 24/7, he deserves to know the specific behaviors that make you want to pull back.
#4. Ask your partner what drives his behavior
He may believe that men should come on strong because that’s what strong men do. Or, he may have lost someone (or more than one someone) he cared about greatly because he was afraid to show his feelings and his fear was interpreted by his partner as indifference. It may even be possible that you’re giving him unconscious messages that you want to feel needed, loved and reassured and these are what he’s responding to. Give him time to reflect on your question and listen carefully to his answers, both in words and tone.
#5. Use this discussion to learn more about how he takes criticism
One of the worst things that can happen in a relationship is that one person is fine making mistakes and is okay with hearing how her behavior affects her partner and the other person gets all bent out of shape when told that she’s unhappy with what he’s doing. Make no mistake, you do not want to get involved with a man who gets defensive when you share your needs and feelings and ask him to act differently.
If you’ve reasonably and kindly explained why you’d like him to come on less strongly, and he expresses his hurt feelings by anything other than trying to understand what you’re saying, this isn’t a good sign that he’s healthy relationship material. On the other hand, if this discussion goes well and you can strike a comfortable balance and pace in the relationship that meets both of your needs, this is an excellent sign that he has the capacity to listen and learn.
#6. Observe his follow through
If he agrees to make changes in the relationship to suit you, notice if he does. Some men talk a good game, but have poor follow through. You shouldn’t need to remind him constantly that you need more space or that you don’t like being pressured to spend time with him. What he does with the information you give him is key to knowing whether he’ll make you happy in the long-run.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
There's one thing that we simply can't manufacture, and that's a man's attraction for a woman.
So...when it happens, it's a good thing, and we girls get to be in charge of how fast things move along.
The key is to give two clear messages.
One, that you are interested in him, attracted to him and that you are enjoying the process of getting to know him (if this is true, of course.) And the other message is that you want and need to move into romance and intimacy in your way, on your time schedule, and only when you're ready.
I suggest keeping your pants on until the two of you have determined that you only want to date each other, and until you've talked about what sex means to both of you. Meanwhile, don't give him the impression that you don't enjoy intimacy and sexual expression. There's a fine line between being a "cold fish" and a tart.
A good man will wait for it; in fact, a good man will be very likely to toss aside a woman who gives it up too easily.
Here's the trick -- be warm and affectionate, generous with your time, your resources and your attention, but also have the courage to set your boundaries.
Be playful and receptive, letting him know that he has your attention and that when the clothes start flying, it'll be worth the wait. As my mom says, "Keep your legs crossed and your panties on...!"
Julie Ferman, Matchmaker and Dating Coach – www.julieferman.com
When it comes to dating we all have different styles and different preferences.
So what do we do when a guy we like is coming on a little too strong for our liking? Should we just check out and move on, should we say something, should we just ignore it?
In today’s world there seems to be almost a game that people play when dating. The not responding too quickly to a text message just so he doesn’t think you were waiting around for him to text. The online dating world of nudes being sent within minutes of talking to someone. The list is endless. But one thing is for sure, dating today is way different than it was 10 years ago!
One thing I believe is still the same though.
In order to find your perfect match you just need to be you. No need to change who you are to fit some imaginary protocol. The same goes for who you are dating. So if you are with a new man and you are thinking that he is coming on too strong I suggest first looking at yourself.
What is it about his behavior that actually bothers you? Is he pushing for more of a commitment than you are willing to make right now? Sometimes the timing in our lives is just not right and it just doesn’t mesh with where the other person is at, and that’s okay!
If you really do like this person and want to try to form a relationship the best thing you can do for both of you is to speak your truth.
Find a way to gently let him know that things are moving too fast for you right now. And remember, this is about you. What he is doing is neither right nor wrong, it’s just different from what you would prefer at this time. Be open and honest about where you’re at.
Finally, remember that no one should have to change who they are to be in a happy relationship.
If you don’t like who he authentically is, that’s ok. There are many men on the planet and you are sure to find your right match. Just don’t waste your time trying to mold Mr. Ok into Mr. Perfect!
Kimberly Speer, CLC, ELIMP - www.destinybydesignlifecoaching.com
We are familiar with the stereotypical emotionally unavailable man and strategies to get them to connect in a relationship.
But what about when the opposite is true and your date is coming on too strong? With all of the games people play when dating, it can feel flattering when someone is complimentary, upfront and clear in their interest for you.
But what if they take it too far and become overbearing….even threatening? Where do you draw the line? How do you navigate this difficult situation?
1. Explore your feelings.
What do you want out of this relationship? Do you wish to pursue it farther or are you starting to feel disconnected? Sometimes the hard push from a date can be tied to their perception of your disinterest and becomes a concentrated effort to keep you engaged. So try to be aware of your feelings and how you project them.
2. Be authentic.
Be true to yourself. Sometimes we tend to follow the path of least resistance. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘people pleasing’ and stay in a relationship or situation because of a misguided sense of obligation.
3. Be consistent and set firm boundaries.
Remember boundaries exist to protect you and give others instructions on how to interact with you. Be very clear about your involvement, interest and intent in the relationship. Too often we worry about ‘hurting’ the other party to the detriment of our own wellbeing. These inconsistencies create mixed signals leading to more misunderstandings and uncomfortable situations. It is kindest to be firm and clear about your intensions.
4. When you feel your boundaries are not respected or if you feel in harm’s way, take appropriate measures to protect your wellbeing.
Stacey Shumway Johnson, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, BCC- www.2xlcoach.com
People often pursue relationships at different paces.
Sometimes, for one reason or another people are more anxious to be in a relationship; other people may have more anxiety about being in a relationship. This anxiety could be related to prior negative experiences or possibly just feeling less motivated about being part of a couple. It can be a timing issue.
What’s important to remember is that you are not responsible for someone else’s needs.
While it might feel nice to be pursued, what’s really important is knowing what you need for yourself and feeling entitled to define it.
Once we become adults, we all have the great big job of taking care of ourselves. We have a lot to manage- school, work, career, friendships, money and, of course, relationships. Pursuing and defining a relationship is extremely important to most people.
A serious relationship probably has the most long-lasting consequences to a person’s quality of life. It’s a lot easier and far less emotional to leave a job than a partner. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to take your time and choose wisely.
How do you deal with someone who is coming on too strong?
You tell him. As soon as you do that you will know if this is a person who is willing and able to respect your feelings and needs. A selfish man will pursue you regardless of what you tell him. A secure and considerate man will listen to you and adjust his pace accordingly. It’s possible that he might want to be with someone “readier” than you are and that’s his prerogative.
You, however, don’t owe him the right to dictate the relationship according to his needs. Relationship’s need to be negotiated by both members of the couple. That can’t happen effectively without each partner talking honestly about this or her needs.
Just as an aside, it’s sometimes a sign of neediness when someone is pushing for commitment quickly. That’s an important red flag and shouldn’t be ignored.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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