Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Wonderful Man, Feeling Inadequate

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

What do you do when you're dating someone who wants to spend a great deal more time with you than you yet feel ready to give?

I feel like an inadequate girlfriend to this wonderful man I've been seeing for a few months, and am afraid I will lose him. We have talked about it a lot and we just seem to be on different tracks -- he's on the fast track toward full-time coupledom, I'm on the slow track. He's not happy with this situation and neither am I.

I went through the divorce from hell over the past couple of years, and I feel like that experience has clouded my ability to give him everything he really needs now. Help.

-- Bad Girlfriend


Wait a minute -- why is this all about what he needs? Why his moping and pushing? Why isn't this equally about what you need, which is clearly a slower pace, more patience, more room to breathe?

Everyone deserves this, but you've emerged from the divorce from hell -- there's added urgency for you to save your trust and affection for people who show respect for who you are. You've let this guy know you need to slow things down, and what is he giving you? Zero respect, with a "not happy" cherry on top.

Whenever a couple is dating and comes to a standoff between "I need more" and "I need less," the "I need less" wins -- not because it's fair, but because it's awful to make people spend more time with you against their will. Please take a very hard look at this person who will not take your "no" for an answer.

Re: More/less standoff:


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