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Should it take this much effort?

Published on February 8, 2012 by adeleon

Hello! I casually dated someone last summer, after leaving a terrible relationship. He is kind, sincere, funny, and incredibly smart. On paper has all the qualities I wanted for myself. However, I couldn't bring myself to want a serious relationship with him, and it ended awkwardly. After clearing the air and apologizing for how I handled it, we've since become good friends, and this past weekend decided to give the dating each other thing another shot; I feel that I'm in a much better place and ready to get involved with someone. Except this time I find myself hesitating because I can't seem to muster up any lust. There's just no desire to hit the sack with him (we didn't last time either). Am I just having a hard time pulling him out of the friend zone, or should I take this as a sign to move on and continue my happily single life? He also seems so sure about this-- something that I'm very much still feeling out-- and I'm trying my very best to not let his eagerness scare me away. (Why can't I just roll with it when a guy is crazy about me?!)I'm also scared that if I give it a shot and it still doesn't work out, I'm now the jerk who strung him along, twice. Is this a normal thing that I can learn to get past, knowing I could be happy with him, or should it not be taking this much effort?


It sounds like the dilemma you face is summed up in our question, "Am I just having a hard time pulling him out of the friend zone, or should I take this as a sign to move on and continue my happily single life?" I see two possibilities: a) you're ambivalent about acting prematurely, frightened due to the breakup of your prior relationship, or b) there's no chemistry or spark with this particular man. Under scenario a) consider how your last relationship(s) ended. Did you learn and digest the lessons of the past? Your willingness to renew this relationship, and your comfort level with it, sounds like you've grown. Is your ambivalence due to a sixth sense telling you you're not ready yet, or are you being fearful about the future? Being a good friend, and giving the friendship time to assure yourself that you're ready to increase the level of intimacy time certainly can not hurt. Judging whether your lack of desire is based on a cautionary "yellow flag," to take it slower, or might you be responding to subtle clues, "red flags," that you ignore at your peril? At best, if he's sincerely interested in you, he'll give you time to get ready. Under scenario b) where there is no chemistry that is begging you to jump in with both feet, also serves to focus your attention on your intentions with this man. What is your purpose in dating him? Is it to have someone to be with, and be seen with, until you find someone that sparks your passion? Or might there be ghosts of the past putting a damper on your ardor? And speaking of your passion, how passionate a person are you? Are you naturally reserved? Are you feeling pushed for more intimacy than you normally crave, or are you having to struggle to hold back for fear of disappointing him, or yourself? Give yourself enough time to answer these questions so that if you make a decision, you will feel comfortable and willing to accept the responsibility for your decision.

Dr. Barrick has some great questions for anyone in this situation to ponder. I'd like to add that "dating" does not necessarily mean becoming intimate right away (from kissing to having sex...). When you decide to date someone--it is to get to know them on a deeper level. As a friend you may have already found yourself challenged to grow intellectually with him. The other 3 areas you have not had enough time yet to explore are whether or not you challenge him and he challenges you to be a better version of yourselves: (1) emotionally, (2) spiritually, and (3) physically. When you only have 1 or 2 or even 3 of these areas of compatibility it makes it more difficult down the road of staying together for the long-term.

Often people leap straight into the physical realm, without taking the time to really see all sides of a person and how they act and react during periods of high and low stress.

Before deciding to date one person exclusively, it is okay to go on several dates with several different people until you're both ready to become exclusive.

In the beginning of your question, it seemed to me that you were probably transitioning from friends to a couple and you wanted to be careful. That is, until I read the line, "There's just no desire to hit the sack with him (we didn't last time either)". To me, that says it all.

I went on a great first date with this guy, we talked for hours about our lives and even had a simple and sweet peck on the lips when we parted ways at the end. I was excited for the possibilities of future dates with him! I don't know whether it was completely from having been dumped by my boyfriend of almost a year not too long prior to that first date or what, but the next time I saw 'Mr. T' (that first date guy), any spark and interest I had before had utterly disappeared. He came on full force like a lusty teenage boy and was thrilled to continue on dating me. I tried; I took two more dates with him. He was VERY affectionate like we were a couple, introduced me to friends, wanted me to meet his Dad, it was like every womans ideal of a man fearless of comittment and knowing what he wanted, not afraid to show it. But my body was physically fighting against me. I was repulsed, even though he wasn't at all repulsive! A gentleman with an outstanding job, even a volunteer firefighter, but I just couldn't bring myself to feeling how he felt towards me.

I went with my instinct and told him it just wasn't working for me. He was crushed, and I know I bruised his ego. On the dating site we met, you are able to see who checks out your profile and months later, he still checks on mine. I feel somewhat bad, but I know there must be a stronger reason that I'm unaware of that things unfolded how they did. I don't regret having made the choice that I did. Physical attraction is very important, and a guy (or woman depending on the ircumstances) can be everything you want on paper, but if you aren't physically wanting them as well, then it's probably not meant to be. In know some will argue and say sexual compatibility isn't THAT important, but I highly beg to differ. Everyone should want to be pouncing on the object of their affection, how can you go through life with a great match minus the great sex life? I don't understand that logic at all.

Maybe you are just meant to be friends with this guy, and that's okay! In time, you will meet the one who will 'do it all' for you, and it'll click for you like, "oh, so THIS is what it's supposed to be and feel like!" Don't give up, he's out there. Good luck :]

There are three things that I have found necessary for a relationship to survive long term. Chemistry, Love/Respect, and Compatibility.

You can have Love/Respect and Compatibility but no Chemistry and you will be happy doing the things you both love to do but you will end up being platonic roommates.

You can have Chemistry and Compatibility but no love/respect and one of you will end up either cheating or violating one of your highest values.

You can have Chemistry and Love/Respect and No Compatibility and you will have great sex, adore each other but have some deal breaker incompatibility that will eventually destroy your relationship.

My rule of thumb for new relationships is no sex for 90 days because you never can go back to learning who this person is before you had sex. Take your time and see what is present for each of you. If he is not it, tell him you care about him but he is not the right person that you would choose to marry.

Thanks so much for all your insightful answers-- Sabrina, I especially identify with your comment, "I was repulsed, even though he wasn't at all repulsive!" I'm usually a very passionate, affectionate person, but I find myself struggling reciprocate with him. Also, I completely agree with Susan on getting to know someone well for a few months before getting intimately involved-- the months we've spent being friends and/or flirting have been several. I guess I had already answered my own question in a weird way-- thanks so much to all of you for helping better articulate my situation!