March 29, 2016
I recently started dating a guy that I like. I mean, I like him. But he REALLY likes me. He wants to move in with me. How do I date him knowing I will never be that serious, at least for now? I am still trying to figure ME out.
I’ve been on both sides of this coin. Like you, I’ve dated men whose feelings were stronger than mine and I’ve fallen hard for men whose feelings for me were tepid. Based on my experience, I’ve come to one conclusion.
If you have lukewarm feelings for someone and that person has piping hot feelings for you, don’t date them. Anything and everything you do will be misinterpreted as a grand loving gesture and a move toward the future. If you say, “I want to take things slow,” he’ll nod his head but he won’t hear you.
You say you recently started dating this guy and he wants to move in with you. This means he’s a) really eager or b) you minced words and have been dating him longer than you indicate. Either way, his feelings are certain. Yours are not. Let him go.
I realize it sounds extreme and that people often justify dating someone they feel halfhearted about by saying “What if my feelings grow?” To that I say: Chemistry is chemistry and it tends to show up within the first few dates. Chemistry is not love, I realize, and love is what needs to grow. Alas chemistry plants the seed.
Ending this relationship is the perfect figure-ME-out exercise. Many people would hold onto this guy out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of “what if this is the last guy who’s ever coming along?!” Or fear of not having the ego boost that people you’re dating (no matter who they are) often provide. By doing this you are learning to trust your instincts and taking an important risk. The risk is not knowing what (or who) is on the other side of this act but trusting that everything will work out as it’s meant to and that you will take care of you.
Of course it will hurt him if you end things, but it will hurt less now than it will a few months from now when you’ve spent even more time together and made more memories for him to cherish. That being said, I’m not suggesting that you act like you’re doing him any sort of favor by ending things. He will feel hurt and rejected that’s the only lens he’ll be able to view this through for a while. All you can do is end things with compassion and know within yourself that it is the right thing to do.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Advice Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.