I just got out of a two-month relationship that started out pretty hot and heavy but fizzled right after we started saying “I love you.” It doesn’t make any sense to me.
We had great chemistry and nothing seemed wrong. Saw each other every weekend, and had plenty of contact during the week. I felt like he was into me as much as I was into him.
Then, before this last weekend, he said it wasn’t working out for him and basically wished me luck. I’m so confused. We got along fine and nothing seemed wrong.
Why do guys get cold feet like that?
What can I say, the chemicals our bodies produce that initially bring us together can be pretty strong, and what we thought was reality just ended up being our human, biological body’s attempt to create another little human being.
Of course, it’s not like we’re going around thinking about these things, so when our drives and instincts loop us into a rush of uh-may-zing chemicals that make us feel warm and fuzzy and a little bit obsessed, we tend to misinterpret their meaning. Trust me, the Oxycontin coursing through your body like a freight train is made to feel a lot like love. Hell, it’s not called the love drug for nothing!
Next thing we know we just can’t hold back those three little words… “I love you.” He might have been the first to say it, or you might have been. Really, it doesn’t matter.
The fact is all that Oxycontin (released upon touch, making you feel warm and fuzzy and forgetful) and Dopamine (that chemical your brain releases when you snort cocaine is also released when you smile at each other) you’re exchanging when you’re together physically feels really fantastic. But like all opioid-like chemicals produced inside our bodies, eventually we begin to create a resistance and the effects wear off.
This is a normal part of every relationship and at this point couples transition from the honeymoon phase to getting down to the nuts and bolts of creating a life together, like negotiating who’s responsible for what. This is usually the point where you begin to know each other enough to realize what strengths each of you brings to the relationship, as well as face the realities of your individual weaknesses.
And that’s why the post-honeymoon period is when it can all fall apart if what really brought you together was more chemical than compatibility.
Listen, that rush of chemistry has an overpowering effect on our brain function and for a while we really do live in La-La Land, bringing front and center the most idealistic aspects of our personalities. We’re not trying to deceive each other by the way, it’s just that we’re going through a phase I call “Best Behaviour Syndrome.”
We’re meant to look bright and shiny to each other so we’ll procreate, and most of us fall for that without doing our due diligence… then make the best of the situation we find ourselves in.
Which doesn’t work for a few reasons. First, because we haven’t given enough time for reality to set in and give us a clearer sense of who this other person is.
Theoretically, back in Caveman days if we women made a baby with someone using just chemistry as a compass we wouldn’t know if the mate we chose was a good provider and father. So we were a lot more selective when it came to mates because having a baby with the wrong one meant bad news back then. Unfortunately our culture today puts too strong an emphasis on figuring out chemistry before compatibility, which is why we now have too many women scratching their heads wondering why it all fell apart.
Which brings me to the second reason falling for that chemical cocktail is ass-backward… we, the females of our species, are designed to have a wait and see attitude to picking partners.
Think fertility cycles. Women? Off, and then on – designed to have some time to observe males putting on a display, then choosing the best one. Men? On, 24/7. Designed to be ready when we choose them and seal it with a kiss. And do you know what happens when we have our first kiss? Mother Nature turns off our selection process, puts us into procreation mode, and shuts down our Red Flag Alert. That’s why once you kiss, even if it’s on the 2nd or 3rd date, you’ll say “Sorry, I’m seeing someone” if another man asks you out. Even if the one you kissed is pretty much a stranger. And who taught you that committing to a stranger was a good idea? I bet nobody.
We should be letting men show their willingness to stick around and practice those important 3 P’s – Protect, Profess, and Provide – before we kiss and choose, the way it normally happens in the animal world (yes, we’re mammals. There’s no way around that).
But our cultural story has taken us in a different direction. Boy meets girls, boy kisses girl on the first, second, or third date, boy and girl live happily ever after.
But real life ain’t Hollywood, and subscribing to the meet and kiss methodology is getting you into trouble because it tosses you into a relationship with someone you don’t quite know yet. Is he really ready for a relationship? What’s his character consistently like? Can he sustain his attention towards me for at least 3 months? Because if it’s a “no” to that last question, he certainly isn’t relationship material, is he?
These are important questions to know even before a first kiss takes place because that kiss actually releases a chemical called Phenylethalamine, designed to tell us “we did our homework and picked a winner.”
But did we? The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and unless you’ve been giving him enough time to show his true personality you really just don’t know.
So how do you avoid all these flash in the pan relationships? Well, if you’ve been following me you already know what I’m going to say….
You’ve got to wait 3 months before exchanging that first kiss. I know, you’re afraid you’ll lose a good relationship before it can even get off the ground. Surely if you even whisper something like that to a guy you’re dating he’s going to stop texting and making plans.
And if you do it wrong, he certainly will. It’s a delicate dance to let someone know you want to wait without making him feel rejected. That’s why I’m a Dating Coach… I teach you how to dance not just with a partner, but with the right partner.
The fact is, guys who don’t make it to that 3-month mark are the ones who’ll be a flash in the pan regardless of whether or not you’ve kissed and had sex. When it comes to males, getting physical isn’t the deciding factor for long term commitment.
Having a deep sense of compatibility and a desire to settle down is though, and for men, those feelings can develop whether or not you’re locking lips because both of those come about only when he gets to know you.
For a guy, being up for a relationship depends on a whole lot of factors. Is he done sowing his wild seeds? Does he feel happy with himself? Is he satisfied with where he is in life? Is he completely over his ex? All those and more contribute to his sense of readiness and manliness, and if he doesn’t feel like he’s ready for something serious he’ll back out when things start to go that way.
Sometimes it’s not you, it’s just timing. Don’t take it personally when things don’t work out. Instead, take a look at your dating tactics and ask yourself “what can I do next time to make sure I don’t end up here again.”
Create your perfect man list and populate it like crazy. Be clear about who you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to ask for a lot. You’ll end up compromising on some things that aren’t key, and have more clarity on what your deal breakers are.
Remember – Clarity is key to finding the right relationship. If you’re going about it thinking “I’ll know when I find it”, the laws of attraction – like attracts like – means you’ll end up with someone equally unclear.
Meditate so you don’t feel anxious about the whole dating process. Being able to give space without panicking will help let them come to you, instead of you chasing them down. Plus reducing your anxiety means when the wrong ones start to fade off you won’t try to pull them back in. You need to be available for the right one, which means not getting tied up with Mr. Wrong.
Relax. Take your time. Know your standards and maintain a no kissing for 3 months rule to weed out short term thinkers. Set a specific date so you take the question of “is it the right time now?” off both your minds and can focus on getting to know each other.
(And of course, read my book No More Assholes to learn how to properly practice my No Kissing For 3 Months rule.)
If you follow my advice and for whatever reason, you don’t make it to the 3 month anniversary, count yourself lucky you didn’t end up in another dead-end relationship that sucked up months, if not years, of your life. You’ve got better things to do than being tied to someone who doesn’t have the same end goal as you.