Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor
Below is Dr Matt's Answer
Dear Dr Matt:
My name is Hanna and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am a 38 year old female and divorced. Recently I met a guy from the Internet and we spent 3 days together. Because I'm a very emotional women and show my feelings, we got real close in our short time together.
Now that I've opened my heart to him, this guy feels pressured and has backed off a bit. Do you think I still have a chance with him again?
This guy "feels pressured" because he's not sure that he wants to give back the same feelings you are sending to him. You may still have a chance with this man, but you'll need to give him some space to do and feel as he chooses.
The rule of thumb is this: Give what you get! If he's not openly expressing his feelings for you, then it is often best to get your true feelings to yourself, until he does (or IF he does).
Openly showing how you feel about another person has an Upside and a Downside. The Upside is effectively demonstrated on the ABC show called "The Bachelor" (are you able to get this show where you live?).
On this TV show, The Bachelor is presented with 25 attractive women, and he is asked to eliminate a few ladies each week. Obviously, he will keep the ladies he's most attracted to, and eliminate the ones that he is NOT attracted to.
When a lady shows interest, this is very attractive to a man who is equally interested--but a point of "pressure" for a man who is less interested. Again, this is the Upside and the Downside of showing interest.
The Bachelor started with 25, and now he is down to 4 women. It is well established that he "likes" and is "attracted" to all four women, so now, he is trying to sense who "likes" him in return—at the same level of intensity. At this point, the ladies that are openly showing their feelings for him are being chosen to stay, while the other ladies that do not openly express their feelings are being eliminated.
Again, the best relationships occur when the attraction is mutual, and at the same level of intensity. This is the way I say it in my book, Changing Your Stripes:
Attraction flows, it cannot be forced.
I've written more about Attraction elsewhere on my website.
A downside of showing your feelings occurs when the other person does not feel the same attraction toward you. This is where you have to read the signals right from the start. Remember the rule of thumb: Give what you get (that is . . . if you like what you are getting).
When you give out MORE than your getting, a typical reaction is for the other person to RUN the opposite direction. On the other hand, a highly narcissistic person may selfishly soak in all attention and accolades and "use" you for what you are will to give—and give "not much" in return. Either way, it is best to take it slow and pay attention to the signals that others are sending.
Even if you're getting positive signals to proceed, when you lay your feelings on the line to quickly and too strong, you risk being hurt when the other person doesn't share the same intensity of attraction. An element of "risk" is always involved, because the other person may eventually have a change of heart, you can be "dropped" in a heart beat.
Move forward, knowing this "risk." The saying goes: It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. There is much learning and emotional growth to be gleaned from taking the "risk"--nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Finally, something that you can give "lots" of, without needing to receive the same, is "friendliness." Generously give the kind of friendliness that is calm, comfortable, and space-giving—putting no expectations upon another, thus no pressure. Friendliness is actually closer to the highest expression of Love—I call it the Love that Stands.
Being friendly is an excellent way to proceed. And when the same friendliness returns to you, and the chemistry is also clicking, you have the makings of a great relationship.
All the best,
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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