Afraid I'm gonna chicken out...

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Afraid I'm gonna chicken out...
Mon, 08-30-2010 - 10:45am

Hi all,

I have been dating an amazing guy, we re-connected at a h.s. reunion and have been dating ever since... We never dated in h.s. but I told him at the reunion that I had a huge crush on him back then...

When we are together it is awesome, he does everything right, very respectful, and doting(different from any of the guys I've ever met, even my ex)...I think I may be falling for him, but I am so scared.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Mon, 08-30-2010 - 12:48pm

Unfortunately, it's pretty early to tell for sure. I can't give you a concrete answer on this guy's game. You are right that abusers tend to reel women in early - So your job here is to hold onto your sense of perspective, protect yourself from falling for him too early, and getting to know him well enough before proceeding further.

I agree that him falling for you so soon is a warning sign (unless you two were STILL in high school...!!).

Maybe you could say something like this:
"Hey, I really like being with you and I think you're a great person I could have a future with. But I have to tell you that I've been a little uncomfortable with the talk about long-term relationships. I've had experiences in my life that made me realize I need to get to know a person for a significant amount of time in order to make statements about us as a couple. I hope we can be patient because I really like getting to know you and I want to continue."

I don't know if you told him about your abusive marriage but it might be appropriate to mention it if you're comfortable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-23-2009
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 10:14am

In the first 3 or 4 months of a relationship, both people are usually in a bubble of paradise, and it's a fun time, but it ends after that and drifts more into reality. If you make it past those months, that's when you will see the real person emerging. During the first year and into the second, you will see how the person handles stress, how he argues with you, how he handles his finances and what his work ethic is. If there are any skeletons in his closet, they may come out during that time. You will be able to see if he is faithful to you, and if he puts effort into the relationship.

Try to think of it as a job interview. Does this person meet your qualifications as a loving boyfriend? If not, cut him loose and keep on looking.

There are signs that a man will end up abusive. He will try to isolate you from friends and family. He will get upset if you spend time with anyone else but him. He will demand to know where you are at all times. He will comment on what he does or doesn't want you to wear. He will belittle you in arguments. Knowledge is power. If he doesn't show signs of this, then don't assume he will become abusive. It still doesn't mean he will be the right person for you. You need to come up with your must have's and dealbreakers, and choose your man wisely--one who will meet all of your main needs. Many men reel you in at the beginning and then you care about them. Then their behavior changes for the worse, and since you care about him, are hoping things go back to the way it was. That is the time to care about yourself more. Leave when he treats you poorly.

Hopefully, he will end up being a great guy. Only time will tell. You are right to be cautious, but sometimes it's better to have a "wait and see" attitude, rather than living in fear. Good luck to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Tue, 08-31-2010 - 9:14pm

Hi, and thank you both for your replies.

I guess I'm just hyper-sensative to guys and thier motives....with good reason, but still.

I do have a list of my wants in a guy(and he matches just about all of them), and I do have deal breakers, and I keep my copy of "Why Does He Do That" close in hand.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 1:25pm

I too left an emotionally abusive man.

How much work have you done on yourself after this marriage? How much research about understanding the signs of abusers and the warning flags, and all that? How much reading about healthy marriages and relationships and couple skills have you done? Therapy? Arm yourself with knowledge and it won't be as scary. The fact that you said you can still sabotage good relationships out of fear shows me that you still have some work to do.

I was hell bound to NEVER EVER repeat my first mistake (my first marriage) again. I was going to weed out the losers with confidence, and find me a great guy. I did! Yes, there's like that 0.00001% that wonders "What if he'll change?" But if he's been consistently nice, caring, generous, loving, fun, affectionate, safe for 2 years - I can be pretty sure that this is the real him. What I'm seeing is what I'm getting. Plus we're not doing anything (moving in/marriage) for another year so I'll have ~3 years' data on him.

So bottom line: educate yourself and get lots of data on him.

Edited 9/1/2010 1:26 pm ET by sienna76
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Wed, 09-01-2010 - 5:05pm

Hi, yes, I feel the same way as you, I'm hell-bent not to let history repeat itself as well...which is why I guess all the anxiety.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 1:19pm

"I did discontinue seeing one guy after he told me he had a collection of swords, and that his father was abusive. I recall him coming on Very Strong too."

See? There's a very good example of how you trusted your gut and you read the signs. Good job!

Your gut is probably right on this guy. Just take it slowly. How about journaling? Write down all the details. I did this while dating my current boyfriend. Kept track of these things:

Do I feel safe with him?
Do I respect him (his actions) and does he respect me (and my actions)?
Do I feel close to him?
Do we have fun together (sans parties and theme parks)?
Do we have an attraction?

Then I rated them 1-10. I always had a 9-10 on everything. You need a top score in all of them to have real chemistry (coming from Mira Kirshenbaum book).

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Thu, 09-02-2010 - 7:50pm

Thanks Sienna!