You Caught Feelings Quick; Let Me Teach You HOW To Lose ‘Em Even Faster
Oh no oh no oh nooooo. The horrific unthinkable has happened.
You met this super dreamy guy, and he was saying/doing/sex-ing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS…
But now he’s quasi-fallen off the face of the earth.
Or at least he’s reeeally slowed down in the “making efforts” department.
Perhaps he’s more delayed than usual in responding to texts…
Or he’s suddenly “super busy” with some elusive “work thing” that doesn’t seem to be infringing on his ability to check Facebook 12 times a day or like photos on Instagram…
(Not that you’re full-on stalking the guy but—okay so you’re kind of full-on stalking him. How can you not?!!)
YOU’RE GOING NUTS INSIDE, RIGHT?!
Why did this happen? Why is he slowing down? Backing off? Disappearing into the night??
In the latest installment of Q&Amy I explain how very often when we’re getting to know someone in a romantic context, there can be a period of “slow down” - especially if you’ve been catching feelings for one another quickly, or you’ve been speeding your way to BF/GF city ASAP.
And that’s because new connections need time to develop and breathe.
Intimacy and commitment don’t (slash shouldn’t) happen overnight.
And while we might feel like we want to be in an insta-relationship as soon as we get excited about a hot new prospect, the much better choice is to slow your effing roll and make sure you don’t latch onto a new special someone like a freakin’ barnacle — especially if/when they’re starting to pull away or under-invest.
Partially because you don’t want to smother someone with attention and excitement, because no one likes being smothered when they’re actively (albeit inadvertently) requesting space.
And partially because increasing your efforts when someone else is decreasing theirs is a sign that you’re probably in the habit of pursuing romantic connection from a not great place. And by “not great” I mean a fearful, anxious, desperate place. (To put it bluntly.)
WHICH IS ALWAYS A BAD IDEA. Because we do not go to the grocery store when we are hungry, remember?!
And we only want to be with people who want to be with us. And ideally, we want to be moving at a relationship-building pace that is comfortable and feels safe and natural for all parties involved.
I can’t say enough that learning to SLOW DOWN and not triple and quadruple-text someone is a special, hard-earned, acquired skill.
This is about learning to pause and assess how things are going, without forcing a new relationship into being if it’s not actually a good fit.
Slowing down is also about taking care of yourself and prioritizing your needs - something most of us suck at, and kinda wish a hot life partner could just come along and magically do for us.
When you learn to slow down and get back to yourself (versus chasing this person down like a frenzied hyena in the night) you are actively reclaiming your sanity and self-respect.
You’re also creating the opportunity for you and Mr. Less-Effort to potentially get back on the same page - not from a place of thirsty desperation, but from a place of natural alignment.
And if you don’t get back on the same page?
Don’t worry, cutie pie.
Because if that’s the case, then that person clearly isn’t your person.
You can be disappointed, but once you learn to slooow dooown you’ll have an easier time bouncing back and not letting this one hiccup ravage your romantic spirit.
Here are some ways you can slow down, stay sane, reclaim your power, and potentially get the relationship back on track.
Honor other relationships AND connections
When someone stops paying active attention to us, it’s easy to get caught in an ugly, downward spiral of “UGH SEE?! ONCE AGAIN I’M ALLLLL ALOOONE!!!”
And that spiral is completely unhelpful, and also a lie.
You might feel like you are all alone, but you are not. You have people in your life. You have friends or family or coworkers or your favorite barista or those folks in your a cappella group or hey - maybe you need more of those people.
Make sure you are tending to other relationships, building on friendships, staying connected and socially plugged in, and not just looking at some exciting, sexy new person to be your sole source of lovin’ goodness.
IN SHORT: Make plans with other people who fill up your cup, stay active in your social life, and appreciate the love and connection that already exists around you. Treasure that shit.
ALSO: Keep dating other people. Keep dating other people. Keep dating other people.
I send this article on Circular Dating from Rori Raye to so many clients, and it’s because a vast majority of us get heinous tunnel vision as soon as we meet someone we kinda-sorta like.
And then if that person starts to pull away…our impossible-to-escape scarcity mindset takes over and tries to tell us, “THEY ARE THE LAST ONE. IF WE DON’T GET THIS ONE, THERE ARE NO OTHERS.”
Lolz. As if! They are so not the last one. There are literally millions of others.
So get back on the apps, honey bunches. Yeah, even if you don’t really want to, and you’d prefer to just pine after this disappearing act of a human. BECAUSE PINING AFTER HOUDINI-HUMANS IS UNWISE.
You have to keep going out with your peeps and checking out other peeps and practice flirting with cuties.
Maybe you need to say yes to the option of being set up, and continue to keep your eyes peeled for other hot somethings in your vicinity that you might want to explore your options with.
Don’t get bogged down in the bullshit lie that this person is the only person you can or will have a connection with.
It doesn’t matter if you really liked them. You can really like someone who might not be the right person for you. Because someone who is consistently reducing efforts or pulling away is not going to be the right person for you.
It’s super important to remember that you can and will also really like other people. Keep seeing what’s out there. Exercise your options. Reduce that stupid tunnel vision.
2. Question your feelings and check your investment
For anyone who CATCHES FEELINGS FAST, this practice is a non-negotiable.
Again: Just because you have strong feelings for someone does not mean that the two of you are meant to be together.
You can fall hard and fast for someone and then discover that they are not the one for you, at which point you have to actively, consistently, like a JACK-HAMMER:
Question your feelings.
Is it possible that you got caught up in your attraction, and made an incorrect assessment of this person?
Did you perhaps fill in some aspects of their personality, and imagine them to be more amazing than they potentially are as a partner? (We all do it sometimes!)
Is three days, two weeks, one month, or even a few months enough time to completely see who someone is, and accurately determine how well-matched you are in terms of a long-term relationship???
When you’re the fall-hard-and-fast type, you have to get into the habit of reality-checking yourself.
This is about recognizing that you might be VERY excited about someone new, and feel VERY close to someone new, and VERY much want them to be your soulmate, but guess what?
You are STILL getting to know this person, and should not put all your eggs in their basket (especially if/when they are lessening efforts).
Your feelings and attraction cannot do all of the deciding, especially if they are inclined to keep you chasing after a person who is no longer as interested or involved as you would like or need them to be.
Learn to question your feelings. Watch them carefully. If someone pulling away makes you want to fight harder for their attention or approval, something is a little off.
You need to practice getting turned off when people stop treating you exceptionally well, versus turned on.
And “checking your investment” is about eating a giant slice of humble pie and admitting that you may have jumped the gun on this budding romance.
You may have gotten ahead of yourself and given someone a little too much jurisdiction in your life, considering how new the connection was.
And that’s okay - this stuff happens all the time. But we don’t want to continue over-investing when a relationship is no longer mutually beneficial.
You can check your investment by being honest with yourself about what’s happening (he’s backing off), acknowledging how that makes you feel (confused and sad), and not fighting with that experience too much.
Don’t make excuses for his bad behavior. Don’t invent a story that he’s just scared or his phone is broken or you need to crack him like a nut to get him to pay attention to you. Fuuuck that.
In the beginning stages of a relationship most people are putting their best foot forward. If this is his best foot that’s pretty bad.
Sometimes sharing what’s happening and how you feel about it with others can be helpful too - admitting that you got ahead of yourself, or in retrospect maybe need to slow down about that new guy you were so excited about…
Whatever you do, get used to reminding yourself that YOU STILL DON’T REALLY KNOW THIS PERSON. Your feelings and attachment might be a little drunk, and if that’s the case your logic and self-protecting sanity needs to get behind the wheel.
Yes, you can be excited about someone and yes, you can also be honest that your rampant excitement is based mostly in fantasy in the beginning stages, and not necessarily in reality.
Bring yourself back down to earth. Resuscitate your rationale. Slow down. Then…
3. Up Your Self-Care, Get Back to Your Goals
In my coaching program, Single & Slaying It, Self-Care and Goal-Setting are two of the primary ways we combat habits of chasing, insecurity, unworthiness, and desperation.
There’s something magical and affirming about actively honoring yourself everyday, and taking the direction of your life into your own hands. This is the stuff that self-esteem and courage and empowerment and confidence are born out of.
So please start figuring out how to take really good care of yourself.
What activities and tasks do you need to prioritize on a daily or weekly basis to feel like your most sane, fulfilled, thrilled self? Meditating everyday? Spin class three times a week? Watercolor painting in the AM? Bubble baths on Wednesday nights? Rock climbing on weekends?
What connects you with you, and leaves you feeling nourished? Replenished? Energized?
And what are some big, crazy, fabulous goals you’d love to accomplish this year that will require your vigilant attention and focus?
Are you working on that novel you keep saying you want to write? Establishing that non-profit? Planning a European backpacking adventure? Building your dream home? Starting your business?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THESE MOMENTS THAT WILL TURN INTO YEARS THAT ARE YOUR LIFE BESIDES CHECKING YOUR PHONE TO SEE IF HE TEXTED YOU BACK YET??
These are the questions we often avoid because they feel big and kinda scary and we don’t always have answers right away!
And one of the easiest ways to avoid big, hard-to-answer- Q’s is to focus all of our attention and energy on THIS SPECIAL PERSON that we believe (usually unconsciously) can just answer lots of the big un-answerables for us! After all - life felt SO good when we were with them! And we felt appreciated. Valued. Loved. It was wonderful.
That is wonderful. I love feeling those things too. But if we don’t know how to create those feelings for ourselves in our lives day-to-day, week-to-week, we have no business expecting someone else to do it for us.
We have to get really good at tending to our audacious dreams, and validating our desires. We must water the garden of our own well-being. That’s where the magic happens.
It’s time to embark on the discovery of your own pursuits and interests and personal growth and self-fulfillment. Everyday. Like it’s your full-time damn job.
Doing this shit makes you feel so much better about yourself! So much prouder in your own sexy skin! It diffuses the thirst and the desperation and the anxious thrill of the chase after a person who is showcasing themselves to be potentially unworthy.
And hey, BONUS POINTS:
Feeling good about yourself, taking great care of yourself, doing things that excite you (and maybe even scare you a bit!)…this stuff makes you irresistible to the right guy.
So if this pull-away-er IS the right guy, he’ll notice you slowing down…he’ll see you and sense you in all of your fulfilled badass-ery. And he’ll want you. He’ll come a-knockin’.
And if he’s not the right guy? And he just continues to drift off and scurry away?
Then BIG FAT YAY. Because you didn’t waste your time trying to nail down a dude who wasn’t ready for you anyway.
So this is your continuous work:
Appreciate the love you already have.
Build on new connections and honor those you care about.
Keep yourself grounded in reality and honestly assess your feelings.
Un-invest even when it’s comfortable.
Take care of yourself.
Get back to your life, and make it more beautiful than ever.
Trust this process. It works. And it will work for you.