Hey dudes. I have lurked here for awhile and enjoyed reading through the discussions but now I need to reach out and get some advice from anyone willing to listen.

This is a woman-problem post, sorry. Met this woman 2 months ago after about 1.5years off, and casually dating but never allowing myself to get emotionally invested with anyone. Dates, sex, dinner, conversation and then typically when things on their end got past that I would let them know it's not what I was looking for.

This girl, is different. She's younger (24 to my 30) and just about to finish her undergrad. We have insane chemistry and immediately fell in love. The last 2 months have been a whirlwind of us spending lots of time together and being completely okay with that.

Last week, things changed. She started acting differently, reserved, pulling back and I could tell something was up. We talked, and she said that all of this was so unlike her and that it's started to catch up with her. Grades slipped a bit in December, never sleeping at her house, her friends made comments to her that we're always together and that's so unlike her. She said she wasn't sure that this serious relationship is what she wants as when we met she was perfectly content being alone. 

We talked, and we said that we would try a reset, slowing things way down and giving each other way more space. I feel gutted. I can't wrap my head around intentionally trying to not talk to her, call her, or text her. I am still on holidays and we had a bunch of stuff planned and now we don't. I realize that I probably sound like a bitch here, however I let myself fall really hard for this girl and now my head is spinning because I feel like I have to avoid her. 

I know that I should refocus on myself again like I had been for the last 1.5yrs since my previous big relationship and things will either sort themselves out or they won't but I don't want to give up on it since it meant so much to me, and her (she told me her feelings were real and she just woke up and was like what the hell is going on here I am in this super serious relationship).

I guess there is no question, just my story and was hoping that there would have been others who have been swept up and had it fall apart so suddenly and could offer up some words of wisdom.

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Hi Neil -- I can't say that this is good advice, but it's all I got for ya:

 

Go balls to the wall, or let the birdie fly.

 

If you think she's your end-all-be-all then tell her. Put the ball in her court. If you don't want to do that then give her space. If she's diggin' you like you're diggin' her then she'll be in contact.

 

There's not enough cliches that I can throw out there for you.

 

Falling so fast is tough, brother.

 

Good luck.

Thanks Dennis.

Not sure if it's my pride that is interfering with my common sense here. I live in a small town with relatively little opportunity for a 30 year old man to really get out and be mingling. I am of the mindset that things should happen naturally and you should meet people with common interests, etc. Things here were magical because they happened naturally and we have a whack of things in common as well as great chemistry. The lack of "stuff" to do made it easy for us to latch on to one another, which was a mistake.

I think we've "talked" it out as much as either one of us wants to. At this point I think if I don't give her space it's doomed, but on the other hand I think that my confidence is so low that I am just assuming it's doomed anyhow.

Playing the waiting game is excruciating considering how much contact we've had. Just goes to show that falling for someone and giving away your heart so early could be a big mistake. :/ 

Nothing ventured nothing gained and it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there for rejection. The strongest of us are not those who stand alone outside the flames but those who enter willingly the flames of emotion.

I was going to say "Dude" but that seems cliche. So here we'll try again:

Neil:
She's 24 and still young, she may not be ready for a serious relationship. It may simply scare her after all you are a quarter again her age, or more simply put she is 4/5 your age. When my younger sister was in High School and getting ready to graduate I told her not to get married or seriously involved with anyone until she was at least 25. The reason I told her that was that I believe you need to experience life alone before you can really get into a marriage (although you don't want to experience too much life before marriage). Think of it as a maturity issue and she is realizing that she is not mature enough to get into a really serious relationship that would most likely end up in a marriage. Or she may be be afraid of loosing her freedom to do as she wishes, with whomever she wishes, whenever she wishes, as long as she wishes (again that maturity thing).

+1

Yeah man the age thing seemed like a plus for her at first. I think she was sick of seeing guys who were immature and offered up only dead ends. I have a solid career and I treated her like a queen. I think she might be spooked about life and the prospect of a serious relationship before she's had experiences, outside of the bubble where we live.

I am sorry to hear about this.

She started acting differently, reserved, pulling back and I could tell something was up. We talked, and she said that all of this was so unlike her and that it's started to catch up with her. Grades slipped a bit in December, never sleeping at her house, her friends made comments to her that we're always together and that's so unlike her. She said she wasn't sure that this serious relationship is what she wants as when we met she was perfectly content being alone.

I think that you're right that something is wrong. I don't know what that is, but I do know that women have a much stronger sense of autonomy than is generally realized. It is in fact stronger than most men's sense of autonomy. Extended families only exist in highly patriarchal societies. In the "matriarchy belt" of Africa, women live with younger children but otherwise by themselves, and they like it that way. Not all women are the same, but generally speaking women are far more commitment-phobic than they admit. Women fear loss of personal freedom.

Women are also more prone to "all or nothing". They tend to be more decisive about committing to a relationship, or not, than men. Their brains go through a biochemical change that is actually measurable, and once they are 'fallen out of love', that's usually it. Men tend to "leave doors open". There are a lot of sexual asymmetries like this that are biologically-based and caused by differences in male versus female sexual strategies. 

You'll have to decide for yourself where this relationship is going. If it doesn't work out, you might want to restrain yourself from allowing the next one to go too far too fast before finding out what the woman's feelings are as regards commitment, marriage, and family.

In the mean time, spend more time with friends, and doing things that you enjoy; do not brood about this as it could lead to depression. Neither repress your emotions. Acknowledge them and work through them.

Hugs.

Interesting points about autonomy and females. She has said to me on more than one occasion that our relationship was not what she had ever planned for herself at this time. We met, connected, had an intense passion and told each other we loved one another and a couple of weeks later things start to fall apart. 

The point you make about women "falling out of love" and that seemingly being it for them, is what I am afraid of. I also am worried that I am starting to feel the same way. I think I am feeling down about how things have dissolved so quickly and it has really strained all the amazing feelings I was feeling. Now all I can think about is what's my next move, and how can I turn this around, or how can I back off and really back off internally.

Interestingly enough before I got home to read this, I decided I would just take a leap and know one way or another, so I asked her if she was interested in getting together this week. We're going to get together on Saturday, and I have a feeling that one way or another questions will be answered.

As far as I can guestimate, she'll either tell me that this idea of slowing down and giving each other space is just really not what she needs, and in which case I'll wish her well and deal with the hurt afterwards  --  or the night will be great and we won't talk about what we're working together or any of that.

As you said, restraining myself (what I was typically good at) is definitely going to have to be the approach going forward. This love at first sight, and falling so hard so fast for a girl is so unlike me, and is why I am sooooo mindfucked by this whole situation. 

Concentrating on me regardless of whether this works out or not is going to be my mantra going forward.

I tried to break up with my now-husband after about 2 months of dating, and right before Christmas. I'm not exactly sure what was in my head. I know that was part of the problem - We were spending all my free time together, and he was also asking me to plan dates, so I didn't have a lot of what I can "head space" - relaxed time to plan and prioritize. "Head space" is also mixed up with having tidy surroundings, and dates had taken up my homemaking time. Basically, I felt busy and stressed in ways I hadn't before the relationship, so I blamed the relationship, and decided to end it.

But in talking about it, we realized that the problems weren't the relationship, just shared time management and decision-making. If we could plan dates well in advance, and I didn't need to come up with date ideas, I could make room for the relationship.

Thanks for the reply Rebekah.

That part you wrote about how the problem isn't the relationship just the time management is exactly what I think is the issue here. Unfortunately I think the ship might have sailed as far as fixing it, but the small glimmer of hope that I still have I will keep this post you've made in mind.

I can add some more facts: My husband is a very patient person, who was willing to put up with my confusion over what I wanted. It also took a lot of self-awareness on my part to see what the real problem was. I didn't have that self-awareness at 24.

It's hard to explain everything this self-awareness involves. Consider the cliche of the person busy and stressed with work who snaps at a family member. Lots of people go their whole lives not realizing such snapping is not because their family goofs, but because of work. Even more people never understand that others' snapping at them isn't about them, but factors they don't see. This was similar, but all in my personal life.

Funny, that seems to be a tradition. My wife and I had been seeing each other for about 2 or 3 months when she told me that she wanted to 'cool things down a bit' and we shouldn't see each other. God, that hurt. I had, prior to her, blocked any emotions and didn't see myself in any relationship until I met her; then I go and put myself out there and she tells me this. However, I asked her to talk about what was going on and she did. Basically she had been on her own for 6 years with two kids and she was developing deep feelings for me. She was afraid that I would end up hurting her so she pre-empted that by telling me she wanted to stop seeing each other. Needless to say I soothed those fears and we've been married for going on 9 years; although I will say not all that smoothly.

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