Updated: Sep 7, 2022
You’ve been out with him three times now, and things are going really well! You’re ready to take it to the next level, and you’re thinking about all the fun things the two of you will do together in the future. On your fourth date, you have sex, and it’s amazing! You’re high with endorphins and happier than you’ve been in a long time….
Fast forward two weeks. He’s not texting you as much and you don’t understand why. You’ve asked him if everything is ok, and he says yes, things have just been busier lately. You try to wait for him to text you and ask you out again. But he doesn’t, so you text him, and sooner or later he stops responding altogether. You’re left with no closure, no idea what happened, and you're spending all of your mental energy on trying to figure it out.
Even though you only went out three times, you felt very attached to him. Losing him feels like a big loss. You had intimate experiences, you trusted him, and you were imagining all the amazing things you were going to do together in the future. You’re feeling the loss of his presence, his attention, the excitement, and the loss of the future you were so hopeful about.
First of all, this is a truly painful experience. You may be tempted to blame yourself for not being good enough for him. Or, you may beat yourself up for not saying the right thing. The truth is, that person behaved that way because of who he is, not because of who you are or anything you did. Take your anger, and put it on him because he hurt you and he deserves to take responsibility for his actions.
Second of all, with the right knowledge and skills, you can stop going through this for good. There are reasons you’re getting too attached too soon, and he isn’t. Learning the following relational skills can empower you on your dating journey. These tips will teach you how to stop getting attached too soon, so you can stop wasting time on the wrong men and find the right one sooner:
1. Don’t confuse attraction with connection or compatibility.
Things felt fun, exciting, and sexy. You flirted... he flirted... you felt desired... attracted... conversation flowed and it felt easy. So, naturally, you assumed you must have potential together as a couple. And that’s where you made the mistake of confusing attraction with connection and compatibility. That initial attraction and excitement has nothing to do with who you both really are because you don’t know each other yet. Until you know each other, there’s no reason to think you’re compatible no matter how sexy he is, how good he looks on paper, or how good he makes you feel.
It takes time to see who he is and what he’s about. Don’t get attached to his attention and the excitement. Don’t confuse how his attention makes you feel and who he is. Take the time to get to know him, and see if he’s worth getting attached to.
2. Know the red flags.
If he starts out hot and heavy with attention and flirtation before he gets to know you, it’s a red flag. If you want a serious, committed, healthy relationship, look for someone who understands that relationships take time to develop. Look for someone who is interested in getting to know you before they act like they’re super into you. That behavior is the behavior you’re working to stop engaging with (see tip #1).
When you see it in someone else, move on. Typically that behavior leads to sex, followed by a sudden drop in texting and effort, as you may have already experienced. If the guy falls off the planet after you have sex, he’s not emotionally available or compatible. Or considerate and respectful. If you take the time to get to know him, you’ll find that out before you have sex, and you can move on to someone else sooner.
3. If you get attached when you have sex, don’t have sex until you’re both attached.
If you’d like to be someone who has sex and doesn’t feel anything for your partner afterward, but you’re not that person, it’s time to own it. And to be honest, that’s a lot of people. Having sex without any feelings for the person is not necessarily something to strive for, though many women received the message that strong women should do that. Many strong women have sex and have feelings, and that’s a great thing. Having feelings takes strength.
If you get attached to someone after you have sex with them, stop having sex before you’re both attached to each other. If you want to be cared for after you have sex with someone, don’t have sex until you know he cares about you. Otherwise, you’re expecting care from someone who doesn’t care yet. If you want to be exclusive before you have sex, don’t have sex until you’re exclusive. Expect him to honor your wishes, and don’t compromise. The right guy will be happy to respect what you need and want, and you can weed out the wrong guys who push back on your boundaries.
Getting attached to someone too soon can happen when you don’t have the dating and relationship skills you need. Attempting to navigate the dating world without these skills and without the right support is like trying to survive in a jungle with no way to get food, cook food, get water, stay safe, etc. When it comes to dating, there’s a lot you don’t know that you don’t know. If you’re struggling to find the right person and move forward with your life, you probably need more education and skills. Seek support, and never give up on your dreams.
You’re worthy of the love you long for. Put in the inner healing work, and when you find the healthy, loving relationship you dream of, you’ll be overjoyed that you did the hard work to get there.