DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve managed to get myself into a difficult situation and could use some advice on how to deal with it. I recently found your site and have been impressed with the no-nonsense advice you give and your mission to make men better at dating. After all, what I’m after advice on is how to do the-right-thing.
So anyway, I split with my long term ex almost a year ago. It was a toxic relationship and had a large negative impact on my life, and frankly the breakup was a disaster with threats of suicide and all kinds of attacks on me and my personality. You can probably guess it left me with a few small hangups.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I’m in a new city without many friends in the area and decide I would like someone to share all the great new things going on around me with. I join Ok Cupid and set up my profile and seem to gain some interest pretty quickly. Day 1 I see a match I like so I message her and say I’d like to get to know her. She replies, we chat and all is well.
Fairly quickly I ask if she wants to meet and she says yes, we can meet in a week (just before New Year). We keep chatting and then just before we meet suddenly the flirting gets ramped all the way up to 11. A couple of nights before and we’re having weird text sex and she’s sending me semi-naked photos. Having been without any action, my hormones are on fire and I’m into it. In hindsight I should have backed off but got totally sucked in instead, and so our prospective date turned into spending New Year together.
I go to meet her at her place and she jumps me immediately. From that point it’s sex almost hourly for the next two days and by the end of it I’m totally worn out. Now on paper, this girl is amazing. She’s into all the same things as me and when we were first chatting it was obvious we were on the same wavelength with almost everything we talked about. It seemed that chemistry was inevitable, but halfway through day 2 and I was just totally over it. I couldn’t connect with her. It seemed that we could make it 30 minutes before she was rubbing on me and it just escalated from there.
A few days later and we’re still texting and chatting but she is really full on and I’m just not feeling it like that. I’ve told her I find it too much, that I would like to chat about something other than sex, but it always seems to come back to that. She says she’s very inexperienced (we’re in our 30s and I didn’t get that impression but you never know) and she thought I was the one who’s libido was too much, but her texts are still very intense. Now I’m really having a problem with this. We’re not close by so I won’t get to see her again for over a week. I don’t know how to respond to these messages that isn’t either faking the same thing back, or initiating a breakup. They don’t seem to be something I can just deflect. Ideally I would want to hit the reset and slowly get to know her better (I’m not sure my sudden turn-off isn’t down to a hangup from the past relationship and if it is I’d rather deal with it than let it make decisions for me), but these messages are just forcing my hand toward a breakup and I don’t want to just drop that into our text messages. I’d much rather wait until I next see her and talk to her and if it needs us to split then it can be face to face.
Sorry for the obligatory rambling, but any advice would be hugely appreciated
All the best
Out of His Depth
DEAR OUT OF HIS DEPTH: You know, there’s almost certainly going to be someone who’s accusing you of lying or humblebragging, OoHD.
I mean, on your first day on OKCupid, you find this wonderful girl who syncs up with you in all these incredible ways and she wants to do almost nothing but f
k every hour on the hour?
You can already hear the people declaring that this is clearly a fake letter.
But hey, I believe you man. There’re going to be people who’ll insist that they’d cheerfully murder a hobo for what you’re complaining about but I get what you’re talking about. You basically want one kind of relationship with this woman and she very clearly wants another and you’re not sure what to do about it.
Well, it’s like I tell people over and over again: you’ve got to establish and maintain your boundaries. Boundaries aren’t just for weeding out toxic people who play head games, they’re for making sure your partner doesn’t run roughshod all over you. And at the moment, that’s exactly what your paramour, for lack of a better term, is doing: she’s making you uncomfortable by constantly talking about sex, sending sexy texts, trying to f
k you as soon as you walk in the door, etc even when you’ve told her you’d rather not. That’s not cool, OoHD, even if it’s something that people will insist “isn’t really a problem” or is a problem they’d love to have. And hey: the fact that she’s inexperienced isn’t an excuse. It’s more than you want or can handle and it’s making you uncomfortable. You’ve told her so and it doesn’t seem to have made a difference. So now what?
Well, you have a choice. You can split up with her now, you can just roll with it and hope things get better… or you can enforce your boundaries. You’re not the only person who’s been made uncomfortable by a partner with a higher libido, and you’re certainly not the only man who’s had a hard time telling his partner to slow her roll. If this woman is as awesome on paper as you say and you want to give your relationship another shot, then you need to draw that line in the sand and make it stick. This means that if you tell her to stop and she doesn’t, you need to be willing to walk away. Letting her roll over you when you’ve told her to stop doing something just indicates that she doesn’t need to take your protests seriously because hey, she’s going to get what she wants in the end anyway, right?
I don’t recommend waiting until you see her face to face; after all, her texts are making you as uncomfortable as her just rubbing up on you and poking your junk going “ready? ready?” Waiting until you see her again just means putting up with behavior that makes you tense and uneasy and gives the impression that you’re ok with it.
So the next time she sends you those sexts, straight-up tell her. Say “Hey, I really like you things are more intense, sexually, than I’m comfortable with and I really want to dial things back. I want to take things slowly and get to know you better and the sex and sexy talk is getting in the way of that for me. So I’d really prefer to talk with you and do things that don’t involve sex. Let’s slow down and let me get my bearings and we can find a pace that works for both of us, ok?”
And then you wait and see how she responds. As with many things in life, your motto should be “deeds, not words”. It doesn’t matter if she talks a good game if she goes right back to sexting you and trying to haul you into bed before you’re ready; that’s just a case of someone paying lip-service to your boundaries while running over them again. Hopefully she’s as awesome as you think she is and she’ll realize that this is overwhelming you and dial it back and the two of you can have a dialogue about what you want, what you’re comfortable with and how you can get there. Then this will become one of those shared memories that you’ll both laugh about in years to come when you look back on your relationship.
And if not… well, you know what you need to do. If worst comes to worse and you do need to break up, well, then you’ll be in a better position to establish and maintain your boundaries in your future relationships.
You’ve got this.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org