Ask A Dude: I Think I’m Falling For Him

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of trying to come up with a not-totally-crazy-girl way to bring it up to your guy friends and get their take on things? Totally over over-analyzing the cryptic messages he leave on your Facebook Wall?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question (Why’s my BF being so cheap?) over to The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time.  So bring it on, ladies.]

Dearest Dude,

I am not a girlfriend type of girl. Or at least, I wasn’t until now… I think. In college, the closest I came to a relationship was an 8-month hook up, who I’m pretty sure considered me his girlfriend, but I certainly did not consider him my boyfriend. I preferred hook ups and always made fun of the girls who obsessed over one guy and were clingy and freaked out over interpreting a simple text. Commitment and admitting my feelings terrified me.

But for the past 2., maybe 3, months I’ve been hanging out with one guy. We don’t have a title, but we’ve gone out to nice dinners and all that stuff, and the PDA doesn’t even bother me like it has in the past. He calls me when he says he will and he calls randomly just to talk. His friends even invite me to hang out when he’s not around, and we’ve already become “we” people (as in “No, we can’t make it,” “We’re going to the bar, wanna come with us?”). We’ve had a couple problems, but no actual arguments.

I’ll admit it — he’s turned me into a total chick. He’s all I think about and I constantly want to be around him and talk about him to my friends. But there are 2 red flags for me: 1. we’ve spent the night together a couple times and fooled around, but he didn’t even try to have sex. The first time I didn’t mind, because I didn’t wanna rush into that yet, but it’s happened several times now. And 2. he will sometimes disappear on me for days. He won’t call me for almost a week and right as I start to think we might be done, he comes through again. Am I just finally entering the world of paranoid girlfriend or should I be concerned? I know he likes his space, but I feel like I should say something. I guess what I’m really trying to ask is, is he just not that into me, or am I just being insecure?
— Confused and Concerned

Dear Confused and Concerned,

Don’t pout or shout my stout hearted friend. There’s a very simple solution: Trust your feelings.

You want to know the number one cause for our unhappiness? Us. We get in our own way. Especially if you’re a type A, try-to-take-over-the-world, whether through the Peace Corps or hijacking space weaponry, kind of person. Overanalyzing and panicking make people want to get control of a situation that they can’t have complete control over. Because there’s another person involved.

I’m a big fan of honesty and communication when it comes to relationships or even quasi-undefined-don’t-want-to-label-it-half ass-open-casual relationships. The longer you let something bubble up the more likely you’ll implode or explode and that often serves to make matters worse. It’s simple in theory but torture in practice sometimes. If he’s being distant and your gut tells you talk to him then talk to him. He might not realize he’s doing it or he could be doing it on purpose for any number of reasons (he doesn’t want to get too close with this undefined relationship, he’s trying to keep it casual, he doesn’t have a clue that going a week without talking to someone hurts their feelings [meaning he’s emotionally/socially inept in some ways], etc).

Two things usually happen when you address what’s bothering you: 1, you gain information on motivation thereby relieving you of the whole driving you bonkers because you don’t know aspect; 2, you feel better because you’re not holding onto all the anxiety from not knowing. Other results may include compromise, cuddling, make up sex, marriage proposals, dry mouth, headaches, and pains in your ass. Results vary from person to person.

The sex thing is an intimacy issue. Could be he’s nervous about satisfying you or he might be worried that if he takes it that far he’s going to fall hard (for practical solutions with performance problems see last week‘s column). My guess is that you two might want to get on the same page after three months and clarify where you’re at. Does it take the romance and casualness out of the relationship? Maybe, maybe not. If you both want to take a shot then the romance factor is increased exponentially. If you both want to keep it low maintenance then the stress factor is decreased exponentially. Again, knowing what the boundaries or expectations are makes everything a lot easier to deal with because then you both know where you stand with each other.

When we break our streaks and actually fall it’s tempting to pump the brakes. Problem is, you can’t fall up. If you’re going to take the plunge then you have to let yourself take the plunge. I’m not saying jump into the deep end with reckless abandon. I’m suggesting you give whatever you have the opportunity to evolve without forcing expectations on it. Let it happen. Take it day by day and make sure that the lines of comunicado are open. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself lost on the way down and that’s scarier than almost anything.

Happy landing,

The Dude

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