After lockdown, I decided to expand my horizons and I’ve been dating four very different guys, discovering what I like and don’t like, and what my non-negotiables are.
Then I started developing feelings for one of them – the one most my type, of course.
Eventually we had sex and I asked him if he wanted to be exclusive. He said he liked me but wanted to keep things open for now.
My confidence has been a little dented and I’ve been musing on how I’ve ended up getting attached to the same sort of guy anyway.
He has since asked me to go away for a weekend, which has confused me.
Should I have another conversation with him about how he feels about us or shall I just see how it all pans out?
You like him and he clearly likes you. So what’s the issue with embarking on this romantic rite of passage together?
‘Perhaps the problem is that you are feeling out of control,’ says Dr Angharad Rudkin. ‘You bravely tried to take the lead by asking him to be exclusive and he left you feeling weak and passive.’
We admire your adventurous dating approach but it is currently stunted by your focus on speculation. Yes, you might get hurt, but spending more time together is the only way for this new union to blossom.
‘Rather than wasting more time on theory, start focusing on how you feel when you’re with him, how he treats you and whether you feel listened to and cared for,’ says Rudkin.
It’s always easier to muse on what we don’t want, like non-negotiables, but try to start feeling into whether he can give you what you do want.
‘When you stop attempting to guess what he means, what he wants, intends and feels, you can start committing to your needs,’ says James McConnachie.
We also suggest you start considering why he is your type.
‘Usually, if we have a type, it means we’re repeating relationship patterns that were formed in early childhood,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘If you’re always going for emotionally distant guys, or highly ambitious guys, or very demonstrative guys, or passive guys, it means you’re trying on some level to repeat and replicate the relationships of your early life.’
Replicating healthy reciprocal relationships is obviously ideal but if you’re chasing something unhealthy because it’s familiar, consider counselling to understand and update your templates.
So do your best to stay present during this weekend away and assess how you both feel when you return. If your commitment needs remain incompatible, you might have to agree to differ and go your separate ways.
‘Otherwise your insecure position in an imbalanced relationship will end up hurting you,’ says McConnachie.
We suspect he just needs a little more time to get to where you are – and there’s only one way to find out.
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Rupert Smith is the author of Interlude (Turnaround)
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