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August 25, 2018

How To Tell If You Like Him or the Idea of Him – 4 Relationship Experts Reveal Exactly How To Differentiate Between the Two

How To Tell If You Like Him or the Idea of Him

“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”

~ Mandy Hale

# Let the relationship develop naturally and do not rush into moving in with him without getting to know him better

Starting a new relationship can be exciting.

It feels good and is validating so it is very easy to get carried away by the potential of a new relationship. Maybe he is the one and you will finally be able to have your dream wedding. He looks like the perfect guy to settle down with and have a family. He checks all the boxes and seems like a great catch.

Remember to be mindful not to ignore the red flags because you are blinded by the ideal of what you want.

He may be a great catch, but you want to make sure he is interested in you the same way that you are interested in him. It takes time to get to know each other and if you are compatible. Chemistry is important and cannot be forced just because he checks all the boxes. Don’t settle because you think he looks good on paper.  

Maybe he is a nice guy and you think that you can grow to love him.

If you are not attracted to him, be honest with yourself. It is not fair to mislead him only to leave him later because you were in love with the idea of being in a relationship and not really in love with him. Don’t be in a hurry because you feel your biological clock is ticking or because you are in a race to avoid being the last of your friends to get married. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole so don’t force a relationship when it is not a good fit.

It is okay to be excited by the prospect of a new relationship.

Just be mindful not to set aside your own needs to pursue him. Don’t change your schedule or drop what you are doing to accommodate him. Be mindful of the tone and pace you set with him when you start dating because that is what he will expect in the relationship moving forward.

Maintain healthy boundaries and pay attention to the things that don’t feel right about him or the relationship. Don’t compromise yourself by violating your own boundaries because you are afraid you will lose him.

Don’t be attached to the outcome

When you start dating, don’t be attached to the outcome.  Let the relationship develop naturally and do not rush into moving in with him without getting to know him better. Be careful not to impose your will on him and push him into a relationship when he is not ready.

Be honest about whether you are really ready for a relationship or you think that the relationship will “fix” something that you need to work on yourself.  In other words, don’t go in to the relationship with the idea that he will rescue you from your problems.

If you tend to idealize relationships or situations, try and be honest with yourself about this. Ask the friends you can trust to give you feedback on what they observe. How do you describe him and the relationship? What are some of the things that you might be overlooking because you are attached to the idea of a relationship?

Some people are so in love with the idea of being in a relationship that they forget that it takes effort to make it work. He has needs just like you and it is not fair to set his aside for your agenda.

Is this a pattern?

If being disappointed because the relationship does not meet your expectations is a pattern, seek some support from a therapist or counselor.  What are your attitudes about dating and relationships? What are your beliefs and expectations regarding relationships?

Talk to a couples or marriage therapist to discuss strategies to reframe how you approach relationships. Discuss what healthy expectations might be when starting a relationship.

Don’t be disappointed if a relationship does not work out. Learn from your experience and keep moving forward. Slow down, be patient and keep working on yourself.

Take the time to take care of and nurture yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the more confident and happier you will be. When radiate with joy and confidence, he won’t be able to resist you.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net

# If being in a relationship is super important in your life, you may find yourself “settling” for a guy just because he’s available and interested
Margalis Fjelstad

How important is it to you to be in a relationship? Do you feel lost, unhappy, alone, or like a failure if you’re not in a relationship?

If being in a relationship is super important in your life, you may find yourself “settling” for a guy just because he’s available and interested.

You like the idea of being in a relationship more than you actually like him.

It may be hard to tell the difference at first, because you’re so excited to be with someone.

You may jump into the relationship before you even know the guy all that well. But as things go along, you notice yourself being disappointed or critical of him. Something just doesn’t quite feel right. But if you’re desperate to stay in a relationship, you may see yourself putting up with behaviors you really don’t like from him. Some interactions are good, others seem to be getting worse and worse. So, what do you do?

If having the relationship is more important than the actual guy you’re with, you may find yourself complaining a lot and trying to make him fit the mold of your fantasy guy.

Typically, this will lead to fights, misunderstandings, and a whole lot of dissatisfaction. But you hang in there trying and trying to change him because you don’t want to lose the relationship.

Perhaps you tell yourself you’ve already invested so much in this relationship, or you don’t want to be a quitter—or worse still, a failure, or you just know he’ll be happier if he’d just change in the ways you want him to. But these are all excuses that mask your fear that the relationship just isn’t working.

Trying to make the relationship work by changing the other person never works.

You wouldn’t want someone trying to make you into a different person, would you? If, after a suggestion or two, the guy continues on just being the same as he was, then it’s time to ask yourself: How important is this to me? If he’s really important to you, then changing your attitude or learning to be more accepting of him will smooth things over. But, beware, that you’re not giving up on qualities or behaviors that are really important to you, just to stay in the relationship.

If the guy you’re with remained exactly the same as he is from now on, would you stay or would you go?

Pressuring him to change isn’t an option, because that always backfires. If he doesn’t want to change, then he won’t. If your goal is to make him a better person, or get him to love you more, or heal his wounds from past relationships, then it’s pretty clear—being in a relationship is more important to you than he is.

Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com

# Consider the below tips

Are you the type to stay in a relationship, just to have a relationship?  Are you glad that someone likes you, even though the feelings may not be mutual?  Do you force yourself to settle for the guy because you don’t want to be alone?

These questions, if answered yes, all indicate that you are not really sure about your partner and that you are willing to sacrifice your emotional well-being.

Here are some things to watch out for, if you can relate to the above statements:

  • When you are dating, you find yourself constantly looking for someone or something better, you know there is a problem.
  • Not every happy and lasting relationship started with love at first sight. Studies have proven that many people marry someone who they were not that interested in, at first. Many times it is after dating someone for a couple of months, you start to realize what you really have. People get better looking, more interesting and more charming the more you know them. So, you don't want to pass up one of the "great ones" because you discounted them too quickly.
  • Is he meeting your needs?  You, obviously, want a partner with good character, but don't dismiss those individuals who fall a little short. Sometimes, you have to be flexible and accept those flaws that are not "that bad," because everything else is terrific. You decide what you will accept, because the end result will be a match that you want, feel good about and know is right for you!                

So if you find yourself wondering if who you are with is the Right One, and you’ve given it some time, you may want to reevaluate what you truly want in a relationship and how you want him to make you feel. Then you’ll know if you really like him or just like the idea of him.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

# Take your time and get to know this man and let him get to know you

When I was in college I worked at a pizza joint.  There was a guy who came in regularly and always ordered the same thing (should have been a clue!)  He was gorgeous.  I mean drop-dead, movie star gorgeous.  Eventually he asked me out and I dated him for a few months.  He was a really nice guy and it took me a long time to accept that I found him boring. 

All of my friends thought I was nuts when I broke it off.  Because he was so nice, so good-looking and such a catch, I had a hard time convincing myself that I really wasn’t into him at all.  This is one example of what it’s like to fool yourself instead of paying attention to your actual thoughts and feelings.

My insecurity about being pretty enough made me vulnerable to a handsome man who wanted me.

What are other factors that could lead to confusion about your real feelings for a man? Insecurities about money, status, acceptance or being desired, could propel you towards someone who seems to soothe those needs.  

Anyone could seem attractive if they allow you to avoid fears that you have about yourself. There are two problems with choices based on fear: one is that you will avoid ever facing and conquering your fears and two, you may end up with someone who makes you feel safe but doesn’t offer anything else.

You are more than your fears, and the right partner, the man you will truly love, may understand your fears, but will connect with your strengths.

This is why it’s so important to be able to take care of yourself and to really know yourself.   I have found that the more needy you are, the more vulnerable you are to making the wrong choice.

We may not know at first how much we like a man or how much we may eventually like that man, but we know right away if there is intellectual, emotional and physical chemistry.  

You don’t have to feel all three immediately but you need to feel some kind of a connection to build on.  Take your time and get to know this man and let him get to know you.  See if he is a man with whom you can grow.  See if he appreciates your strengths and you his.  That is a strong basis for real love.

Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

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