It was all going so well up to now…
You know that feeling, when you meet a guy you really like? It’s all so much fun; flirting with each other, exchanging numbers, wondering if he’ll text you, planning what to wear on your first date. And then that heart-pounding, toe-tingling first kiss. So good. Before you know it, you’re falling hard, in a way you wondered if you were even capable of feeling anymore.
You think things are going well, but then something shifts. He stops replying to your texts right away, or at all. He’s suddenly very busy with work and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to see you next. Those excited butterflies you’d been feeling turn into a knot of anxiety in the pit of your stomach. And then, he falls off the radar. No explanation. No goodbye.
So what happened? If you’re not sure where things went wrong, it could be that you unknowingly committed one (or more) of these six early relationship sins. Read on and learn what not to do next time you meet someone you really like…
1. Moving too fast
It happens to the best of us. We’re so revved up about finally meeting someone decent – better than decent, someone potentially amazing – that we start moving way too fast. You know you should slow down, but the rules don’t seem to apply to this guy. He’s different; he’s not a fuckboy. You’re ready to plan the wedding and name your future children, and you’re pretty sure he’s feeling the same way.
The problem is, you don’t really even know him yet. In the early days, you’re both still projecting a lot onto each other, seeing only what you want to see. And while moving too fast is notorious for scaring guys off, in the end he might be doing you a service by disappearing. How well did you really know him, anyway?
2. Needing too much
Look, we all need each other. If we didn’t, no one would bother being in a relationship, especially when being single is so much fun. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being needy. But early on, it scares guys off if they feel like you need them too much. If you’re constantly asking for reassurance that they like you, texting them all day long, and generally coming off like a giant sucking black hole of neediness, there’s a good chance your new guy is going to be overwhelmed – and not in a good way.
It’s too much too soon, and it’s a turn-off (think about how you’ve felt around guys you’ve dated who needed constant validation and texted five times without waiting for a response). So when you first start seeing someone, do your best to maintain your independence, no matter how much you like them – at least in the beginning. Put your crazy on hold until you’re more than a few dates in, when he’s made it clear he really likes you.
3. Giving too much
When you’re newly in love – or in lust, or crushing, or whatever fluttery thing you’re feeling – it’s natural to want to be with the object of your affection as much as possible. Rearranging your schedule to see him might be okay once in a while, but when you start canceling other plans, ditching friends, and doing everything to accommodate him on the regular, it’s a bad sign.
Not only do you risk losing your identity to your relationship, you’re not making him do any work at all. He won’t respect you if you don’t respect yourself, and giving too much too soon is a sure sign that you’re not valuing yourself highly enough, and if there’s one thing men are attracted to it’s high value women. So don’t give yourself away; make him earn you.
4. Spelling it all out
There’s something to be said for maintaining a little mystery in a relationship. Your new objet d’amour doesn’t need to know all the details of your past relationships, childhood, and lifelong battle with chronic eczema. Save a few stories for later on down the road (and maybe save some for your bestie).
There’s nothing sexier than a little bit of mystery – so try and maintain some of it for your new guy. This doesn’t mean you should lie, or play games, just that you shouldn’t bare your entire soul on the first few dates. There will be plenty of time for that later on, if you decide he’s a keeper.
5. Making demands
If you’re trying to impinge on a guy’s freedom, really at any point in your relationship, you’re playing right into his worst fears. Men want to feel like they’re in charge; they don’t want demands made on them or their time, no matter how much they like hanging out with you or how expert you are at giving blow jobs.
So if you’ve only been dating a short time and you’re already insisting he spend time with your family, rearrange his work schedule to fit better with yours, and stop hanging out with that douchebag best friend of his, beware: your next demand could be your last.
6. Holding back
With all of the above in mind, there’s still something to be said for knowing what you want and not being afraid to ask for it. A woman who stands up for herself, has standards and isn’t afraid to assert them in a fun, non-aggressive way is a woman who will attract the right kind of guy and scare off the wrong kind.
So while you don’t want to move too fast, be too needy, give yourself away or make demands too early on, do be authentic and up-front about who you are, what you’re looking for, and the way you expect to be treated. Confidence is sexy – and you have every reason to be confident.
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Comment: Have you ever wondered what you did to turn a guy off?
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with two daughters, occasional mice and innumerable to-do lists. She runs a nine-minute mile, bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, and can always be persuaded to sing at a karaoke bar. Follow her on Twitter.