How do I stop getting invested so quickly?


trashmule asks:

I feel like every time I have something going on with a guy that I like, I get comfortable really quickly (within the first couple weeks) because everything’s going so great, then they break it off seemingly out of nowhere and I feel completely devastated. This has happened almost every single time I’ve tried to date somebody for the past 5-6 years. I’ve never had anybody in my life to show me the ropes in how to date or attract men, or even really how people act when they’re in a relationship. I just know that it’s really, really difficult for me to act nonchalant about somebody I like for any extended period of time, and I don’t really feel like I should have to. It’s never a long period of time that we date, but it takes me usually at least a week to stop crying and be able to look at it realistically and put it all in perspective, and I know that can’t possibly be normal.

In other words, when I’m seeing someone, I feel like I’m really getting to know who they are and to trust them, and when they pull away and dump me for seemingly no reason, it makes me feel hugely betrayed. But it never gets better, either. How do people deal?

Demetrius says:

I’ve said it plenty of times before and I’ll say it again before I get into the advice I’ve got for you: Please don’t take this advice as the advice of a qualified mental health professional. I’m not that guy, and I’d encourage you to seek one out. I’m also not going to armchair therapist you or anything, so take my suggestions of seeking mental health services as a polite suggestions that is not indicative of you having a serious mental health issue. With that said, it’s clear to me that something is wrong here, and part of what’s wrong might be related to how you approach dating and why you do it. If you said that you had a recent run of bad luck where the last two guys you dated and connected with ended things and you felt hurt, I wouldn’t really think there was a problem. Something like 5 to 6 years of the same pattern? I think there might be some bigger issues at play here. It seems to me that you’re facing a two major issues:

  • You build connections quickly, but they are not strong MUTUAL connections
  • You seek out people who will repeat the pattern of fast connection than hurtful breakup. You know how everyone has a type? Maybe your type is “Men who wont commit”.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with meeting and connecting with someone in a short amount of time, but you have to ask yourself if these connections are mutual. If you’ve been building quick connections that are one-sided, it might explain why guys keep breaking things off. If you’re talking marriage, kids, buying a house together, etc. early on, it will turn people off if all they want is to grab drinks on your second date. Yes, in a perfect world we could act the way we want and get the results we want, but the world isn’t perfect. You said “I just know that it’s really, really difficult for me to act nonchalant about somebody I like for any extended period of time, and I don’t really feel like I should have to” and I agree, you shouldn’t have to act nonchalant about someone you’re attracted to, but being very open and honest about your attractions early on might be a turn off. It’ll probably be an even bigger turn-off if those feelings are not reciprocated. You can choose to be the person who is always transparent about how you feel, just know that coming on too-strong too-soon is a great way to lose the attraction of someone. You don’t have to change this about yourself if you don’t want to, just know that being the girl who is effusive about her attraction and connection early on is going to make dating harder for you. Especially if that connection isn’t shared at the same level.

As for why the pattern keeps repeating, you should consider what the commonality between these men is, especially when it comes to their experiences in dating and love. It sounds to me that you keep dating the same men. I mean, not literally the same guy like some weird Twilight Zone clone themed episode or anything, I mean that you seek out men that have the same characteristics. Maybe it’s because of the age of the men you’re dating, their life experiences, or maybe you’re just really unlucky. Whatever the reason, it’s not just that you date a certain way, you’re also dating people who date a certain way. You should try to focus on figuring out what all these men have in common. It should be easy to figure out, considering you’ve got 5+ years of experience dating guys with the same outcome. Knowing what common trait you’re attracted to isn’t going to solve the problem, but it at least gives you a better understanding of what’s causing the problem.

In an ideal situation, you should try to get to the root of why you grow attached so quickly to people and why the loss of these people is so difficult for you. For me, especially when I was much younger, I faced the same issue. When I found someone I really liked, I grew attracted and attached to them very quickly. Years of therapy later, I realized that this had to do with some underlying issues related to the death of several loved ones at some formative ages, and a fear of abandonment stemming from those unexpected deaths. Again, not trying to armchair therapist, just sharing my experience. Part of why I can be so indifferent about the smaller things is because someone helped me to get to the root of why I cared so much when the girl I dated for 2 weeks left, and I would encourage you to do the same. Maybe you don’t have a problem at all and it’s all just a case of bad luck. Or maybe not. I think it’s worth it to find out either way.

Ultimately, there isn’t anything wrong with being the type of person who grows attached quickly, you just need to be aware of it, and figure out whether or not it’s worth it to be effusive with your feelings. I know that you feel like there’s nothing wrong with what you do and how you feel, and I agree, but in dating everything has a proper time and place. You can be madly, passionately in love with someone and know they are the one, but if you tell them on the first date you’re going to freak them out. At least, that’s a risk anyway. There are some people who are fully onboard with the mad, passionate love thing as early and as quick as possible, but it all depends on the person. It’s all about time and place, and while connecting quickly isn’t inherently bad, being open about it can give you mixed results.  As for the feelings of betrayal and hurt, I’d encourage you to seek out professional help to get to the bottom of why connecting with a relative stranger and having them leave you is so hurtful. Not that what you feel is wrong, but you should understand why you feel the way you feel. Attachment, love, and loss are perfectly normal feelings, but understanding what drives these feelings will make you a much better dater and person.

Good Luck Out There.

3 thoughts on “How do I stop getting invested so quickly?

  1. I’m incredibly guilty of getting attached too easily. More often than not, I invest too much early on and find that my feelings aren’t on the same level as the other. This is some great, practical advice that I’m definitely going to implement in my own life. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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