Anon asks: Hey Isaac, can you help? For the past two months I’ve been seeing this guy a lot. We go to dinner, he stays at my place, and just this past weekend I stayed at his place where I met his brother and sister-in-law. He seems like a rare breed though, because he doesn’t ever mind talking about what is going on between us. Most guys run away fast the minute it is brought up!
So here’s his typical boy answer when I wanted to know his thoughts. “I’m not actively looking for a relationship, but I could see this going somewhere in the future”. He also told me that he isn’t talking to anyone else.
I am so crazy about this guy and have never been so comfortable with someone right off the bat. I loved meeting his family and can see myself being a part of theirs. In a crazy way I want this guy to be my future husband and I wish he would see me as his future wife. I guess if you have ANY advice as to how I should approach this in a smart way, please let me know. I don’t want to make a mistake and end up getting hurt because I would be devastated.
Hey, gidday mate! To quote Emily from The Devil Wears Prada, “I rarely say this to anyone who isn’t me, but you have got to calm down.”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand falling quickly, and falling hard. I also understand wanting to figure out the best way to approach a relationship so that I don’t mess it up. And now, with a little bit of hindsight, I know that when all those elements combine, I’m in big trouble.
For all intents and purposes, if you’re hanging with this dude multiple times per week, going for dinner, sleeping over at each other’s houses, meeting his family, and behaving like a couple, then you’re already in a relationship. You might not have labeled it as such, but let’s call a spade a spade.
So if we take a step back, this guy who is actively NOT looking for a relationship is already in a relationship. Right? And he is saying TO THE PERSON HE IS ALREADY IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH that he is not actively looking for a relationship.
What that means to me, is, “This is fun for now, but not forever, and when I meet someone who is a better fit, I’ll quickly and quietly extricate myself from this situation with no guilt or remorse, because I was upfront from the beginning about what the deal was.”
The, ‘Potentially being able to see this going somewhere in the future,’ sounds like the proverbial carrot dangling slightly out of reach.
So here’s where I feel concerned for you. You obviously like this guy. A lot. He’s cute, he’s charming, he’s funny, he’s sexy, and he’s not like other guys who run away the moment you try to have an adult conversation with them about the direction a relationship is heading.
For the record, most guys don’t run away the moment you try to have that conversation. Immature idiots and guys who want no-strings-attached sex will run away, but any dude who is after any sort of meaningful connection won’t baulk the moment you ask for relationship clarification. Hell, he’ll probably initiate the conversation.
So because you like this guy so much, and because you’re future tripping on marriage and all that comes with it, you’re willing to overlook the fact that he has told you point blank that he’s not looking for a relationship right now.
And because you’re overlooking that fact, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘What version of myself can I present to him to make sure I don’t mess this up?’ And that right there is the basis for just about every bad rom-com ever made, where in one relationship the girl is a BBQ-loving carnivore, the next she’s a vegan, the next she’s a born-again Christian, and the next she’s a card carrying member of the Atheist Club. Guess what she’s not being? TRUE TO HERSELF.
Every time we attempt to adjust our personalities to suit someone else’s agenda, we’re in trouble. Especially when that person is actively telling us that they don’t want to be in a relationship with us, which is what this guy is saying to you.
When I was younger and had low self esteem I went through a period of getting into relationships with girls I didn’t want to be with but who gave me the companionship I needed in that moment. I also got absolutely obsessed with girls who were never going to like me for who I was, so I’d try to manipulate my personality to suit their mood. Guess where all that got me?
So with that in mind, my advice about how to approach this relationship in a smart way is to have a very honest and very direct conversation with this guy.
Tell him exactly how you feel. Let him know that you’re falling hard for him and that you see a future for the two of you. Tell him that you love hanging out with him and love his family and can see yourself as part of it in the future.
Ask him point blank if those feelings are reciprocated.
Listen to his answer.
If he tells you that he’s looking for the same thing as you, fantastic! Proceed without caution. Be yourself, warts and all. Allow him to get to know you exactly as you are. Weird and flawed and emotional and sensitive and messed up, like me and everybody else on this planet.
If he still tells you that he’s not looking for a relationship right now, then extricate yourself quickly and quietly before you get even more emotionally invested. Next time, take caution before you jump in, and don’t get hung up on someone who tells you they don’t want to be in a relationship.
Like my Dad always says, “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”
But even more importantly, “When someone tells you something, LISTEN.”
Life is too short to be attempting to fit our square peg personalities into the wrong person’s round hole.
I hope that helps.
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