How long before I say its over?

My Dad asked me how long it takes for me to know someone isn’t right for me, how long to assess relationship compatibility? A pretty good question, frankly.

I talked about how I know within minutes how good the intellectual chemistry is with someone. On the positive extreme there was Tony and now Jack. We have that elusive quick-witted and humorous banter. On the other extreme are men with whom the conversation is forced or dull. I can make a conversation happen with anyone, but I don’t want to have to do all the work.

It’s similar with physical chemistry. The very good and very bad are sussed out during the first kiss. I also know whether any first-time sex awkwardness is due to needing to learn each other, versus terrible physical chemistry.

All that to say, I can know on a first date it’s not going to work. But what if the chemistry is there? How long does it take to suss out the rest?

Two to three months of steady dating.

Tony aside, all the men I’ve dated I’ve broken up within that timeframe. Ariel, the Giant, Fox, HWSNBN, and Alan (if you haven’t read about Ariel, the Giant, and Fox, you might enjoy their stories). Leo was around for slightly longer – it was six months from meeting to the first breakup – but two months of not seeing each other and three months of my recovering from a serious injury affected that timeline.

Which brings me back to my Dad’s question. Outside of obvious red flags, I simply can’t assess someone’s behaviors and emotional maturity so quickly. I maintain you need to see someone stressed or angry, see them with their family or friends (or indirectly observe, based on what they tell you), and see them day-to-day, to truly get to the heart of who they are and know if someone is a good partner for you.

And until that happens I (now) refuse to get ahead of myself. It’s a fatal relationship mistake to make.

Which brings me to Jack.

I really like being with him. The yellow flags on my radar are being monitored, but I haven’t drawn any conclusions for fear of falling under the spell of a confirmation bias.

I told him I had issues with his occasional lack of responsiveness by text. One night he didn’t reply because he was out, got home late, and knew I’d be asleep. So he made a logical decision to not text. However, I was disappointed when there was no text waiting for me when I woke up. I told him it’s a trigger for me. I explained how I think about texting and that it’s a mechanism for flirting and for busy parents, an easy and unintrusive way to let someone know they’re on your mind. I also said it takes 10 seconds to say “hey thanks for the text, have a busy day so will be back to you tonight” so I think there’s no excuse for non-communication.

He heard me. He’s starting to make an effort. He (like many men I know) uses text predominantly as a transactional form of communication. I’m working to not take it personally or assume that silence is some big statement. But it really does drive me bananas.

I’m pretty sure I will have a better sense of whether we are compatible soon. He’s still dealing with a critically ill parent and trying to get a house set up for him and his children. It’s a lot for anyone. He’s said I’m a priority, he’s showing up and making plans. I’m enjoying this very fun phase of getting to know someone, and I hope I continue to like what I learn.

Time will definitely tell.

14 thoughts on “How long before I say its over?

  1. Ann, you’re not the only one who gets a little bonkers when someone doesn’t text back.
    I hope he’ll eventually learn what you need in that respect and honor it too.
    He does have a lot on his plate now, but remember he’s showing up for you when he says he will, and doesn’t do bails like Kyle did.
    When those nagging thoughts try to bring you down, just remember that fact.

    • Yes, exactly as you say – he’s making time for me in an otherwise difficult time, he doesn’t bail, he continues to show up. I am remembering these things when I get a little petulant that I haven’t received a text in what I consider to be a timely fashion. We had a good conversation where I raised how much it bothers me, and I feel much better.

  2. I think from an ill parent to moving (both very stressful) it’s amazing he has any time for anything else and he makes time for you so that says a lot imho.

    • Yes, you’re quite right Pam. I’ve been telling myself this to help re-set my assumptions, and its been working. He says I am also a priority and I’ve felt that way. Which is really lovely πŸ™‚

  3. The fact that he’s carving out time with you, including communication, in the midst of such turmoil, is a testament to his feelings about you.

    • I think so too, Tara. He’s been really good about making time and plans and not bailing. I know he’s come by when he’s otherwise really tired. It’s funny, I think Tony helped me realize that effort comes in various shapes and forms. I knew with him that just his showing up when he would otherwise have just gone home meant something, and Jack is the same. He sat on my couch a few nights ago and I was pretty sure the only reason he was there was because he really likes me.

  4. My man is terrible at texting. He was like that before we lived together. It is just not a medium he feels comfortable with. I used to worry at first but talked to him about it and saw his point of view. He is really of the opinion that it’s the society of today that has made us need such frequent contact – and that really its not necessarily particularly emotionally healthy to rely on it, We should be able to feel secure within a good relationship without the texting.
    Jack is so far proving himself in person and I think seems very “in to you”. Personally, if I was you, I would put my phone down and let the “dates” do the talking…

    • I know it’s different for me when I’m secure in how someone feels about me. But in the early stages when you are still sussing each other out, there can be a misalignment in all kinds of things. That’s all this is – me getting used to his communication style, and if there’s too much of a gap, him meeting me part way. I’m not overly concerned at this point.

  5. It’s early yet, but I’ve noticed something… haven’t mentioned the “O” word since you told us about your follow up conversation where Jack was concerned that you hadn’t had an orgasm the night before. I looked back, and in describing your intimate encounters, you almost always write about the quality or number. Is this still a problem with Jack? Feel free to tell me to “PISS OFF” if I’ve overstepped with my question. The title just got me thinking….

What do you think?