Dear Betty,I am at the very beginning of a new relationship and need advice. Here are the details:I’m 48 and she is 47. We both have kids – I have a son in college and she has two teenage sons. We used to work together and have known each other for five years. We always flirted, but were in other relationships. We are no longer co-workers and fate has put us on the same path—both available. I called her up and we met for a drink, caught up, had a blast, laughing and chatting. We briefly touched on seeing each other but nothing deep. Our second date was her inviting me to her house for lunch where we relaxed and got to know each other more. I met her two sons. At that time we also scheduled another date! We have kissed to end our first and second dates, slight touching and hugging, and brief hand-holding.Betty, this girl makes me butterfly nervous. I like her a lot but don’t want to ruin it. With our 3rd date this weekend…can you advise me how to proceed? I get the feeling she wants to move slowly but the interest must be there…. I’m feeling confused and probably thinking too much…. Help!!Ethan
Hi Ethan,I’m happy for you! And rest assured that her interest is there. It’s proven by her actions. That second date is a giveaway. She fixed lunch and spent her time to know you better. You even met her sons! The physical affection is also a clue, as is accepting a third date. So no worries there. You may be feeling her slower pace because women typically need to feel an emotional connection before moving forward in a relationship, and to achieve that connection they need to experience someone for a while. She needs to listen to your words, observe your actions, and notice how she feels when she’s with you.
There are ways you can make her feel safe, adored, appreciated, and respected.
First, be the confident man that you are and take the lead—in a non-aggressive way of course. Doing so will make her feel safe. Confidence is sexy. For example, suggest activities for dates, or surprise her with flowers or a plant for her garden. Now that you have seen her home, you have some clues about what interests her, which might help you in this department.
Second, chivalry is always admired and appreciated. Even strong independent women appreciate being helped on with their jacket and having a door opened for them. Also—never walk in front of her. Allow her to walk in front as you go through a door or move across a parking lot. Remember chivalry does not imply that you look down on her or see her as “less than” – it means you value her and cherish her.
Third, to help yourself from moving too fast for her pace, remind yourself to be attached to the connection with her rather than the outcome. This will keep you in the present moment and you can relax and enjoy her completely. Say to yourself (repeatedly): “I am not attached to the outcome.” What that means is that you enjoy getting to know her on her terms, and hard as it may be, try not to have expectations about where this will end up.
Fourth, to help you to understand her love language get the book the 5 Languages of Love. You may have heard of it. It is very helpful to meet someone where they are by being able to meet their needs. And you will learn your love language as well.
Fifth, check in with yourself. By that I mean balance your heart with your head. The chemicals—dopamine and norepinephrine that our brains produce at the beginning of a relationship are not to be underestimated. These speed-like chemicals can also drive up levels of testosterone. Also, serotonin levels fall and resemble the levels found in people with obsessive-compulsive disorders. In a way, everyone at the beginning of a relationship is “on drugs”—admittedly ones produced by their own bodies, but the effects are huge. Those butterflies you feel? They are part of that chemical change in your system brought on by your feelings for this woman. We call falling in love being “swept away” because we often feel so out of control of what is happening. Powerful stuff. So… be long-sighted and keep your eye on the prize: a lasting, fulfilling relationship that’s just right for you.
You got this, Ethan! Relax and have fun!
Ethan, if you would like to further this conversation, please feel free to click on the link below to my online scheduler for a free coaching session.
Wishing you love,
Betty Russell, BCC
Board Certified Dating & Relationship Coach
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