Often, my women clients tell me they think a man is "going too fast" with the dating process after he first meets her. In many cases, this means he's trying to be sexual with her before she's ready. In other cases, he's saying he loves her after only being with her a few times.
In both cases, it can be uncomfortable and confusing for the woman and, most of the time, it's counterproductive to the process of building a serious, long-term relationship. Here's why:
1. There's confusion about having sex versus making love.
Once a woman gets physically intimate with a man, she often justifies her behavior (which she often feels guilty about) by telling herself she has feelings for him or is even falling in love with him--which, of course, isn't true if she's only known him a short time. It's either infatuation or lust. That's all.
The woman may even tell the man she loves him, which gives him mixed signals if just hours or days before she was saying no to sex. A woman who hops into bed before she feels a true emotional connection with a man winds up confused about how to proceed with the getting-to-know you process and usually second-guessing herself--neither of which helps the relationship unfold naturally.
2. Emotional/hormonal reactions replace rational responses.
A woman who lets her hormones make her relationship decisions early on is setting herself up for problems down the road. After a man has been sexual with her, there's no turning back. It's going to be difficult to say no and hold him off on every subsequent date while her emotions catch up. The natural courting and wooing process during dating is derailed. They've skipped the stage (usually a month or two) in which she gradually warms up to him as he earns her trust and helps her feel safe with him. They wind up in bed together on every date from now on because it's hard for her to explain to him why she now wants to go backward and "take things slow." Again, she's giving mixed signals. And, worst of all, she's not making clear-headed, smart decisions about the potential for a partnership because she's blinded by lust.
I know that feeling because I had lust blindness right after my first divorce. It was the classic rebound relationship. I was so starved for affection and physical intimacy after a long "dry spell" at the end of my marriage that I got quickly involved with someone who wasn't even close to a good match for me. The sex was a 10, but our compatibility was about a 2.
3. Things get complicated too early.
After things have unfolded as described above, the two people now have to talk about some pretty complicated issues--possibly well before they feel totally at ease opening up with each other. Instead of enjoying the lighthearted, fun dating journey of spending time together laughing and learning about each other's interests, sense of humor, families, upbringing, career, preferences, friends, etc., they need to get serious. They need to talk about sexual history, emotions, values, etc. in order to reach agreement about what comes next. It can be too much too soon--too heavy for a budding new relationship.
When I began dating my current partner 3 years ago, I was attracted to him from the very first meeting. But I'd learned from my past relationships that sex too early distracted me from focusing on learning important things about a guy that helped me decide whether we'd be a good couple over the long term (things such as his stability, personality, values, world view, sense of humor, moods, stresses, the way he treated his children/family of origin/friends, money management skills, and more).
So I vowed to wait 2-3 months before getting physical...and to use that time to let the relationship grow naturally into a sweet emotional and psychological connection. It did. And at the 9-week point, I felt close enough to him and trusting and safe enough with him to be ready for lovemaking (not just having sex). It was a smart move. Our relationship grows stronger every day, and our sex life is wonderful.
How about you? Do you try to let your relationships evolve and strengthen organically? Or do you sometimes go too fast and face problems as a result? I'd love to hear your story and to help if you need it. Drop me a note at