Congratulations. You met someone different — really different. He kisses like Lord Byron, and handles you with grace and quirkiness. You may have heard of him say, “It’s been a long time.” This somber list is for women in new relationships. Let it be your Lonely Planet to his lonely soul.
1. Alone time has become a jail
Attempts to weave confident, wise tales of contentment for himself about singlehood have failed. He’s tired. Alone time sucks. Friends are great, but they’re an oblong peg for a rectangle hole.
2. It’s easy to stop your life when you meet someone special
You’ll wonder why he’s willing to drop everything to be with you. Remember alone time and how much he loathes it? He may have a thanks-but-no-thanks approach to the solitary life now. This means that now you’re here, the mundane of his life can be suspended in air for a bit while he weaves his words and daily routines around your presence on his phone, computer screen, and couch. It just means you’re special and he wants to savor it.
3. The search has eroded sense of self
Maybe it just won’t happen, he’s said too many times. It didn’t happen before; hope seems out of reach. Every rejection and ruined relationship and failed fling has left a mark on his confidence and vigor.
4. He fears the “turn”
I heard this used by a friend. It’s that moment when something beautiful and crazy ends abruptly, your affections cool because he comes on too strong or is “too real, too soon”. He fears it coming because it’s always looming for him. Your man has had a dozen strong encounters and maybe twice as many “turns”. There is no “too soon” in his lexicon. So, extend grace.
5. Rushing into emotional, affectionate talk and outward forms of romance
You may only warm to holding hands after date six. He’s been thinking about it since minute 25 on date 1. Understand that the cry of his heart is for the first drop of affection, that first grip of flesh. You’re being wise and he’s being honest. You two will figure it out.
6. Rejection is both numbing and stinging
It’s happened so many times that it would be neurotic to deny it. But, it’s normal to let it wash over you. Most guys gave up after the first heartbreak, but this guy, like many others, kept on going until he got to you. Like the “turn”, the taste never leaves the back of his tongue, so bear with him if he brings up the fear of rejection.
7. Being in the moment is hard
You’ll pick up on this a lot. It’s not fake, but it’s a little odd. He’s there with his look and affection, but his mind is stuck in a some distant workshop, figuring out how to remain cool and desirable at all times, with the well-timed story, anecdote, and quip. All the previous points flow into this one; a lifetime spent in his head makes more sense to him than being present with you. He has stalkers — regret, his own faults and weaknesses, past mistakes, the past in general — trailing behind you two on every date, so don’t mind him if he steals away in his mind for a minute to look over his mind shoulders.
8. Looking into the (near) future is second nature
It would be out of character for him to talk about marriage or your children’s political beliefs, but he will talk about many, many future dates. He will mine your words for ideas, things to do together, and your random thoughtfarts for sweet ways to spend even more time with you. It’s tired-heart speak for, I want you.
9. Pornography and bro culture has marred his understanding of women
You don’t know about his relationship with pornography yet, whether it’s complicated or committed and steady. You will find out in time that he may be the sweetest man alive, but he may have some deeply held ideas about women that he’s never had challenged. These ideas will spill into everything he does with you; but, he’s here with you, which means that he’s also sick of that world. If he is edging, with a surgeon’s caution, towards a relationship with you, then there is space for you to call him out on his shit and encourage him to change himself.