Is Your Relationship Moving Too Fast?

Why did he pursue me like that if he didn’t really want to be with me? A man is romancing his woman with lavish gifts and flowers.

While flowers and romance can be wonderful, too much too soon is a red flag.

One of our readers wrote to me last week saying "I have a friend who recently met a man who is going absolutely overboard with professing his love (after 2 dates) and giving her gifts. She's, of course, eating it up while all I see are red flags."

This is one of the questions I’m typically asked after it’s all over (which is usually fairly quickly), but not when it’s still going on. The question is commonly phrased something along the lines of "Why did he come on so strong if he wasn't interested in a committed relationship with me? Why did he pursue me like that if he didn't really want to be with me?" But in this particular case the woman in question has a beautiful friend who is looking out for her, and is concerned about the situation while it's occurring.

I have to say that I agree with her concerns. While I'm sure there are some exceptions to the rule, the whirlwind love-at-first-site romance that turns into a lifelong love affair is, unfortunately, very rare. It's much more common that the intense burning flame quickly turns into a flame-out.

I've lived through it myself many times, and I've heard too many similar stories to count. How is it that he can treat us like such a princess, going almost overboard with flowers and gifts and romantic gestures, and then just disappear from our lives as soon as we’re completely smitten and ready to say I do?

There is a reason.

It’s because this is what he does best! This is what he’s all about. It’s the chase, the conquest, the prize – this is what it’s all about to him until he knows he's got you and suddenly he realizes on some level that this has become all too real and now it’s his turn to deliver on his promises and make a commitment. It’s at that point that everything starts changing. For reasons that have everything to do with him, and nothing to do with you, this is the MO of the guy who we have the hardest time understanding.

Because it doesn't make any sense. At least not to us.

You see, my beautiful friend, this guy knows all the moves, all the right things to say and do because he’s practiced this more than a few times. He may say he wants a relationship and a commitment, he may see he’s just never met the right woman before, he may say he wants exactly what you want, but the reality is, he hasn't figured out what he needs to do to make this happen, and his own insecurities give him no motivation to do anything different. He hasn't looked into what holds him back, what makes him not want to commit, what makes him fail to get past the incredible beginning of a new and exciting conquest. And he doesn't have to because we keep making it so easy for him to continue behaving like this with us!

It may help to know that your friend is not the only one who’s fallen for this type of man. Most of us loving, giving, caring, believing women have experienced him at one time or another. This type of surface relationship catches most of us off guard because it seems – he seems – too good to be true, but at the same time it feels so true. And we so want to believe it, believe in the fairytale.

And that should be our red flag.

Because the reality is, he doesn't even know who you are yet! He doesn't even know (yet) that you’re worth all this time and energy and expense this early in the relationship. And he certainly doesn't know if he's in love with you yet.

And just like you don’t even know him yet, or know if he’s worth giving any part of yourself too, yet, you need some time to spend getting to know him and who he really is, not getting caught up in all the surface things he’s doing or saying, no matter how flattering it is!

My advice.

My advice to your friend would be to make sure, through all of the abdominal butterflies and fireworks, to remember what it is she's really looking for: a real guy who’s looking for a real relationship with a real woman, like her.

She can enjoy the attention from Mr. Speedy while making sure that she keeps her head clear and her eyes and ears open to reality. She can also keep things at a more realistic pace on her own terms – If he's not happy with that and disappears, then she has her answer – he wasn't the real thing after all. And she found out sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, if turns out to be the real thing, and he's proven to her that he's in it for the same reasons she is, and that he values the same things she does, he wants the same kind of commitment that she wants, then things will just keep getting better and better. Until she knows that for sure, none of the words, gifts or romantic gestures matter.

I'll finish with a short story:

I was out with one of my girlfriends on the day I met my husband, and she met a guy the same day. By the time my husband and I had arranged to get together and he picked me up for our first date, they had been together 24/7 for about a week straight, and were already planning to move in together. She told me that she knew it was the real thing, it was just so intense, so passionate, so amazing.

A month or two later, just as we were starting to get serious, their relationship was over. Now, about twelve years later, my husband and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.

Some things just can't be rushed.

About Jane

Comments

  1. I agree - these guys are players. Only someone who shows interest in your feelings and who you are as a person has the capacity of sticking around and being a truly loving caring partner. Showering someone with gifts is nothing more than buying their affection as there is no true intimacy building between the two. Someone who comes on too strong has an agenda and that agenda is all about him.

    • Thanks for this, Leslie; you added a couple of great points here, that sound like they came from firsthand experience. I can relate :-)

  2. I used to be one of those living in fantasy land- I was needy and so easy target for one of the predator types. The bottom line -I got taken for a rollercoaster ride which ended in him walking away, dissapearing like magic. Today I find myself a much more wiser person because of the experience but it took me a long time to get to a point to pick up the pieces and attempt to move on.

    If theres just one thing i learnt from this experience it is that trust is never automatically given. It is earned, and if you will take time people reveal themselves and their patterns of behaviour. Unfortunately most of us learn these lessons the hard way.

    • So true, Ann; and I love what you say here "... trust is never automatically given. It is earned, and if you will take time people reveal themselves and their patterns of behaviour".

      You are so right that most of us first learn this the hard, heartbroken way.

  3. OMG, this is exactly what happened to me just now.... Well, i met the guy on-line but we were doing great. Then he started to talk and push more and more before we even met. I felt it was a bit overwhelming but at the same time, I liked how he talk and being open about himself. So I was comfortable talking to him without any hesitation. I flat told him that i'm looking for a long term relationship, and he totally agreed and then after seeing each other almost every day in a week, he agreed to be exclusive. Things were going very well, and he treated me very well. Then text msg started to become more less and not so much communication... (although he said he's a phone person and at the beggining of dating, he called me at least few times...becomes almost none)
    Then I just asked him that if I can introduce him as my boyfriend since we are exclusive.... Then he said that he's gotta too many things going on and he has things he put on hold and want to pursue, etc.... then disappeared!!!!
    I wasn't mad or anything so I tried to get hold of him, but nope, he didn't return my call or text, disappeared like a ghost!!! This is never happened in my dating life (which not so much but still....) and really took me off-guard and I'm just having hard time to wake up from this fairy tale..... and trying to move on to my new journey......

    • Tae, Try and see this from the perspective that you've been saved so much more pain and heartbreak by finding all this out now, rather than down the road when you've invested so much more time and energy - and your beautiful self - in someone who isn't on the same page as you. As difficult as it is to go through this - and I know it is, it doesn't get any easier the more involved you become. We've all had our experience with having to wake up from a fairytale we so wanted to believe in, so know that you are not alone here, and that once you can accept the reality that this is about two people on different pages and not in any way a rejection of you, you'll find it so much easier to move on and say "Next"!

  4. I have learned that the men who are so fast to declare affection are players most of the time. They like the excitement and thrill of the early stages. The one's who are "slowburn" were the best ones long-term. Maybe it's just my experience but the fast involvement that is dizzy making often makes me concerned that they are rushing for a reason, but maybe not a good one.

  5. It is amazing that this happens to so many other people and I wish I wasn't one of them! I couldn't believe it when an attractive and seemingly nice guy was completely infatuated with what seemed like every aspect of me... Although I never reciprocated these strong feelings of adoration, I did believe him when he would tell me he loved me and when he said I was the woman of his dreams. I knew it was strange for someone to be so forward so quickly but I let myself become clouded with the idea that it would be possible for someone to love you when they meet you... I honestly believed everything he said and then ended up being the confused and abandoned one after only a week. Even though I never loved him or even came close, I still liked him and I am bewildered that someone can say so many things he didn't mean! At first I excused him for messing with my emotions by chalking it up to his passionate nature, but now I'm just a little angry because I think he got lost in a game trying to win me over I guess. I'm not heartbroken about him being gone, but I'm disappointed in myself for falling into a trap that I even recognized but ignored because I enjoyed being the object of someone's attention. Pathetic, but never again!!

    • You speak for so many of us, Jordan, who learn these things the hard way and recognize our own role we play only after the fact. Far too many of us have refused to listen to that little voice that knew something wasn't right in the face of that chance that he could be that one in a million!

      Forgive yourself, my beautiful friend; you're human, just like all of us, then be so proud of yourself for at least being open to recognizing what happened. Far too many of us, myself included, learn of our own blindspots to this type of man only after we've repeated the scenario on more than one occasion.

    • Can't believe this has happened to so many others too. I met a guy at a temp job in the summer and after only two dates I started to really like him and see a future with him despite the long distance, he said all the right things and was incredibly romantic. Telling friends about the dates made him sound cheesy but I loved the attention. He went out of his way to visit me at home and even invited me to stay with him at his parents home. He suddenly changed during my visit and became very distant, when we said goodbye he said we would arrange to make plans when he got back from holiday. After he returned I text him asking what was up and never got a reply and he then deleted me on facebook, completely disappearing from my life. So confusing but it's definitely been lesson not to move too quickly because you fall so hard, think I'll just go for a drink on the first date next time!

      • I'm so glad this resonated with you and helped you see that this isn't a situation unique to you, Sarah. It's a lesson most of us end up learning somewhere along the way, and yes, like you, usually only by experiencing this firsthand! :-)

  6. Christian says:

    Hello Jane
    I am in a complicated situation myself. In the beginning everything was beautiful, we were working in the same same hospital and he just got divorced. I was divorced for about two years and didn't have anyone since then. Flowers, gifts, attention and I love you right in the first date. He was already married three times and had children from all the previous marriages. He lives with his sister and there is a pattern of him living with someone else and never on his own before he gets married to someone. I was so lonely that I felt for this trap. He convinced me to put my house for sell and find a place closer to the city where it would be more convenient for work and so. We even went to few places to gather some information. One day, I decided to ask how we would do to pay for the down payment of the new place and expenses and he told me that I would have to take it out of the money when I get the house sold. So many red flags. I had some money coming and I decided to use that money building a savings account for us both. It didn't take long for him to go in our savings and spend every single penny. Recently I lost my job and here I am, no money and he does not help. He is working two jobs but is always broken and never offers any help now that I need so much. I have two beautiful daughters that depend on me and I can see the many mistakes I made. I tried to break up with him so many times but we always get back together. One of those days, he told me that he was not ready to move in or get a place together since he had to organize his life and pay some debts. I know that I need to get out of this situation but I am afraid to be alone again. Please, help me.

    • Ask yourself this, Christian; could being alone possibly be any worse than being with someone who treats you like this? Could it really? What are you really getting out of being with him? What is he worth to you? In staying with him, you are spending all of your beautiful you thinking about him, dealing with him, trying to figure him out and every day reminding yourself that you are not worth more than this because he reminds you of this simply by the way you are allowing yourself to be treated. This is no way to live, my beautiful friend. And you know this, you see the red flags, you recognize that he doesn't help, that he's taken everything you have, emotionally, physically, financially, and still he wants to take more.

      You are strong enough, Christian; you can do this! You have so much to offer someone who is truly deserving of you! I know it's scary to think of being alone again, but being with this man is so much scarier. Choose you this time. Choose that beautiful woman who knows who she is and what she deserves deep down inside, and isn't willing to put up with these types of behaviors anymore. If you can't do it for her, do it for your daughters who are learning about what it's ok to put up with for the sake of not being alone.

      There is so much more to life than this, Christian, and if you just take a chance on you, you will never know all that is awaiting you. You can do this, you are so supported here, and you will look back on this and see it for what it is. The irony is always that it's not until we're out of a situation like this that we can begin to see all that's been there all along, just waiting for you to choose you.

  7. Hello, I think my story has the potential to be a tragedy or a fairytale. I started dating this guy about a month ago and we have been together everyday since. He is needy and co-dependent, but because he really is amazing and an extremely nice guy I want to care for him constantly anyway. He admits that he has a tendency to disappear, and so do I, so we are extra cautious with each other. We are talking about moving in together within a month, started looking at apartments. We are both scared we are going to screw it up but still we can't help but say "so what", "why not". He knows all about me and I know about him. He has trouble accepting that I was a player like he was and gets into jealous fantasies and is very easily scared I have left him.

    • At least you both know where each other stands, Zeynep. If you can keep talking honestly like this - just like you're doing - you'll be able to have that open type of communication that will alert you to whether it's becoming more of a tragedy or a fairytale. Keep us posted :-)

  8. Hi Jane. Just like your initial story I too have a close friend that seems to be moving quickly. I would be less concerned if she had a more healthy outlook on being in our late 30s single and childless. She has a pattern of meeting men and placing an expectation of a long term relationship on them after 1-2 dates. Only to then have the relationships fail. She has been on a very well known dating site and was contacted by a nice looking divorced man. They exchanged numbers and he called. They had a great initial conversation that lasted several hours. Good sign. By day 4 of only phone conversations she proclaimed that she could fall in love with this man. She went as far as inviting him to join her on a trip she has that isn't for another 6 months. He has said she can tell him anything without judgement. He has also said things like no other woman has made him feel the way she does. She has already shared very personal information with him. They have had 3 dates in 3 weeks. Recently she has even stated that he is her future husband and that they are now in an exclusive relationship. She hasn't been to his home. She has not met his family or friends. As a friend i am extremely worried that if this doesn't workout she will be devastated beyond repair. I love her and want her to be in a HEALTHY and TRUE relationship. Any additional advice? Thanks.

    • Your friend is so fortunate to have a friend who cares about her as much as you do, Michele! But she has to be willing to see this for herself, and unfortunately, if this pattern is working for her on some level, then she's not going to be very motivated to make any changes. It sounds like she has some work to do on her own self-esteem and confidence so that she won't fall so easily for these men before she gets to know them better to know if they're truly worthy of her. Sometimes, as hard as it is to see our friends go through devastation and heartbreak, you can't know her journey or what will help her see what's going on here. Know that it's not up to you to fix things for her, if she won't listen to you telling her what you foresee in the future for her. By being that beautiful friend you already are, you're doing a lot, because if and when she decides to do something different, she'll be better off because she has you in her life.

  9. Hi i came to your website to get an understanding, my partner of 8yrs has left me for a girl 14yrs younger than him and they are rushing into everything its only 6weeks and they have already found a flat and are moving in together in the next month when flat available. To make matters worse im pregnant with our 4th child and this young girl is pushing him as much as he is manipulating her......they say they love one another but surely this cant be real? If this was my daughter i would be angry and upset but her parents are allowing him to sleep in her bed most nights and i think are helping them move in together she is 26 he is 40. Has anyone ever been in either my or her situation? Do they go back to partners or do they stay with the person they leave for?

    • I hear your pain, Colette. Know that this is about him, and whatever he's doing and why, it has nothing to do with you. If he's moving this fast with someone, there's something going on for him that he may not even understand himself. Why people do what they do, and allow and enable what they do, isn't anything we can answer if we're not them. We all have our own triggers, our own issues, and our own reasons for why we do what we do, even if they make sense so no one else but ourselves.

      Whatever he's going to do, he's going to do. Sometimes these men go back to the ones they left when they've got what they needed and are ready to go back to the way things were. Other times, they stay with who or what they've found and or move on from there. Everyone's different, and you never know for sure what motivates an individual.

      Focus on you, Colette; get the support and help you need to get you through this difficult time in your life. He's going to do what he's going to do, but the one person who deserves your love and energy and time more than anything else is you. Make sure you're getting this for you!

I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think!

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