Dear Dr. Love,I have recently met an exciting man. He is charming, interresting, educated, intellegent, genuine, mature, attractive, exciting, and we have just the right mix of things in common with things different, etc. Good news! He thinks the same of me. My head is spinning! I’m so excited to meet someone like this! In the search for my soul mate, could he be the one?I do tend to ‘fall in love’ easily. The problem comes that after the relationship progresses I see the flaws that prevent it from becoming the marriage relationship I’m seeking, but by then it’s doubly difficult to end it because of the premature intimacy we have achieved. So, I have been receiving advise to ‘go slow’ and ‘hold something back ( emotionally)’ by my councellor and my friends. I would like to know. . . HOW TO I DO THAT? If I go slow (and I’m not speaking sexually, I’m refering to emotional intimacy) don’t I sacrifice true intimacy by keeping up barriers?
How wonderful that you are capable of developing intimacy. Many people can’t. Your problem is that you invest yourself so quickly and dive into relationships before all the facts are in. And by the time you find out about your lover’s true colors, it’s too late, you’re in too deep and your heart gets broken. I understand your friends and counsellor advising you to go slow. These recommendations are sensible, but, I don’t believe they will be effective unless you get to the bottom of this issue by finding out why you are in such a hurry to dive into relationships with both feet. So, I would examine why you feel the need to jump so quickly to intimacy.What feelings are concealed by this sense of urgency? Are you afraid that if you don’t act quickly that the train will pass without you, in other words, the man you like won’t wait around for you– and you will be left alone? Are you so hungry for a connection that your mind plays tricks and makes you believe that you have found Mr. Right at every turn? ( Sometimes when we have been emotionally neglected as children, we are so hungry for love that we dive into relationships without looking both ways, desperate to find someone that will truly love us and fill the holes inside our selves. ) Do any of these possibilities fit?Once you understand what the urgency means, you are on the road to solving your problem. And, while you’re soul searching, I would ask yourself what does the term soul mate mean to you. For many of us, this term has unconscious reverberations which run deeper than the obvious meaning. Often, for people who have been emotionally neglected, a soul mate is seen as a mother substitute, someone that will take us in and love us completely the way mother never did.Since you jump in so fast and with such urgency, I suspect that the little girl inside you is desperately searching for someone who will love you completely and fill those empty places. The sense of urgency is the clue that the unconscious is looking to fill an emotional gap. If the gap weren’t there, you would feel content within yourself, relaxed and naturally go slower in your relationships.So, I would find out what the hole inside yourself is, and I would see to it that that hole is filled in therapy. (Expecting a partner to fill our emotional holes–no pun intended–is risky business and can lead to more loss instead of healing. Once you understand what your urgency is about, you should be able to take the courtship process more slowly (rather than feel as though you are ramming slow-down techniques down your throat).Also, while you’re courting, one way of protecting yourself from disappointment is to interview your prospective soul mate. Find out as much as you can about his: religious, sexual and financial values, life goals, intimacy needs (how much time does he need to spend alone), previous relationships, how he handles angry feelings in himself and you. You need to be very busy interviewing; and when your criteria have been satisfied, then it’s safe to put your emotional toes in the water. Good luck.