Necessary conditions for entering into a relationship?

I’m a Senior in college. There is this girl who I met a couple of months ago, and I liked her since I met her. She is Catholic and a very good match for her major. :slight_smile: I have spent time with her in groups (mostly with other Christians) and one-on-one. I think my body language and actions make it clear that I like her, at first against my will, and now intentionally. Her body language and actions seem to make it clear that she likes me also. (That is a bit of a guessing game, of course.)

We’ve been spending more one-on-one time recently, so that I think some clarification is needed in our relationship. In other words, it seems to me that I’ve already told her that I like her through my actions, and that not following up would string her along. The obvious step to take is to tell her that I like her (and hopefully she’ll like me back :D) and move slowly in an explicitly romantic relationship, a la youtube.com/watch?v=vvbzsi2fen0.

But I’m not sure. For one, I don’t care about her deeply, and I think this is because I don’t know her very well. I know this because I seem to care about her most through my attraction to her, and less through who she really is. I have other friends who I care about in the latter way, both male and female. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this—I will grow to care about her deeply in due time. But should I start a relationship with someone I don’t care about deeply for who she is yet? I do care about her for who she is, just not deeply.

I also don’t admire her deeply. I’m not sure how to explain this, but there are a couple of female friends who I admire deeply in this sense, and I thought that I should date someone who I admired in that way. But I don’t. Maybe I don’t know her well enough?

Finally, I think that at the beginning of our friendship I put a lot of focus on trying to figure out if she was a good match for me. This put a lot of pressure on me to ask the right questions and present myself well. After some weeks, I noticed this and decided to build a friendship instead of screen her as a potential match. I think I succeeded for the most part. :thumbsup: The thing is, I still don’t know if she’d be a good match for me. I don’t have enough data!

Maybe I am being too careful. My parents are divorced and remarried and I think I may be scared of making their mistake of moving too fast in a relationship with someone they weren’t compatible with. The only reason they stayed together for so long was their children!

Or maybe I’m being the right amount of careful. What do you think? :confused:

Follow-up question:

If I make the decision not to enter into a romantic relationship with her, how do you think I should handle it, given that I have practically already told her I like her through my actions (e.g. spend a lot of time with her, show her I care about her in a special way, look at her eyes for a bit longer than normal, touch her non-sexually, e.g. sparse tickling)? Ideally, it would be something that wouldn’t string her along while not completely closing off the possibility of dating in the future. Should I talk with her? Not say anything? Change my behavior?

Sorry for the essay. Hopefully I made up for it by splitting it into paragraphs. :thumbsup:

Actually, you didn’t need to break it into paragraphs.

It’s pretty obvious just from scanning through it.

You are waaaaaaay way over-thinking this. If you like her, ask her out on a date. If you don’t like her, don’t ask her out on a date.

If you insist on only developing a relationship that is worthy of developing, how will you know if a relationship should be developed if you don’t have a relationship to discern if it should be developed? In other words, at this point, you only know her as a friend. You can’t know her as more UNLESS YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HER. Get it?

And I’ll give you some advice I learned from my wife: if you like a girl, ask her out. If you have any interest at all in her, ask her out. Because while you’re waiting for data, she’s probably lost interest. Why would she waste time waiting for a guy who “shows” her he likes her in all the ways except the one that counts? Ask her out!

Frankly, from my own tough love perspective, you’re going to crash and burn if you keep treating this like a computer programming assignment.

rWhat on_the_hill said.

Don’t worry if she isn’t the very best in every category (academic, athletic, spiritual, physical attractiveness, personality, etc.). You can’t get the virtues of Marie Curie, Anna Kournikova, Mother Teresa and Oprah all rolled up into the same woman. A good average that you are attracted to and think would be a good wife and mother is good enough.

Ask her out! Date! You’re not entering into a “relationship,” you’re taking her out to a movie or rollerskating or for ice cream or whatever. Ask her out for particular events at particular times rather than “just hanging out” and if you find yourself liking what you see and hear, continue doing so.

Precisely said:

“Ideally, it would be something that wouldn’t string her along while not completely closing off the possibility of dating in the future. Should I talk with her? Not say anything? Change my behavior?”

Cut out one-on-one events at the very least.

At the moment, what you’re doing with her is so nebulous that I don’t think you need to “break up” with her, but if you start dating more formally, you’ll need to be more explicit if you decide to stop seeing her.

I would suggest dating more formally for a month (with weekly dates) and then evaluating the situation at that point.

You have had more than enough time to size up the situation.

As the others suggested, asking her out on a date sounds good.

However, the mistake most of us make after that would be to physical without being married. That’s the main thing I’d just encourage you to focus on, to just go out as friends, not as boyfriend and girlfriend, for a good long while.

A lot of people move really fast, going from stranger to boyfriend-girlfriend with nothing in between. You’re right. You need more time for things to develop…or not, depending.

So…stay friends for a time. If anything, try to prolong the friendship period. If you do that, your relationship will actually end up MORE special rather than less so.

Keep all your other friends, activities, hobbies. Just add this one friendship, if she’d like to do that. Then, take it SLOW. That’s my advice, in a nutshell.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

Before you read anything else I have to say, whatever you do, do NOT tell her that you like her unless your are absolutely sure she feels the same, and I can tell from your post that you are NOT sure.

The key here is that you two are friends, but unless you are romantically communicating with her, she is in all likelihood (ie 99%) NOT attracted to you YET, and if you drop your feelings on it could like an emotional bomb going off and she’ll back away worrying about leading you on, hurting your feelings ect and any semblance of friendship would be really awkward.

*Note: If this ever happens to you, really step back or just move on altogether. Some people, even good Catholics, seem to love the kind of drama and attention from someone liking them. Don’t waste your time playing games. *

In the mind of women, being close friends and seeing you as a potential partner are two very different things. Men often make the huge mistake of assuming that a girl “likes” him when in reality, he’s just another great girlfriend.

So what you need to do depends on the situation.

(1) If you have been flirting/teasing her, challenging her and aren’t afraid of her, then it’s time to ask her out, but don’t make a big deal about it or you’ll scare her away.

(2) If you have NOT been romantically communicating like I said in (1), then you ought to do that before asking her out, or the risk is that she’ll give you the** “let’s be friends” routine,** maybe even if she likes you. *That’s when things can go really south because the natural response of the guy is to object, which will make the girl think she’s leading you on and will really back off and there won’t be much of a friendship. *

Other notes:

  1. It’s a good thing that you don’t "care deeply for her yet. That is actually really okay. You don’t know her, and there are few things women find less attractive than a guy who will be a doormat just because he’s attracted to her. It’s also kinda scary for a girl if a guy she doesn’t know well professes his undying love for her.

  2. Don’t touch a woman unless she gives you permission. So if she touches your arm first or something, then it’s okay recipicate. If you do go out, it’s probably okay to try holding her hand or walking arm and arm.

  3. I think you’ve got the basics down more than a lot of other guys do. :thumbsup:

You can’t care for or admire a newfound the same as an old friend. Just because you fancy a girl doesn’t put her on the same footing with your female childhood friends in a number of regards.

Follow your heart.

You are getting way ahead of yourself. The first problem is that you are assuming it is your decision whether there will or will not be a relationship. You both have to want it. Take some pressure off yourself and understand that even if you want to pursue this, it might not happen.

Ask her out on a date (and make it clear that it is a date, not just “hanging out”). She will know then that you are interested in her. If she accepts, date for awhile and see how you feel about each other. You may decide she’s not someone you want to be exclusive with, or she might decide the same. And that is okay.

you are overthinking this in the worst way. Just ask her out.

And keep this in mind: The permission is not always verbally explicit. She probably won’t say, “You may hold my had now.” It may be implied by body language, a bat of the eyelashes, for example.

On the other hand, a lot of women are more physically ‘touchy’ than men. I’ve had, over the past couple months, a number of women reach out and touch my arm during a conversation. It’s nothing more than a friendly gesture sometimes.

Yep. As much as you’re over thinking this, you’ve lost sight of this most important part of it.

And to back-up with others have said, something I heard from a comedian: When a woman says to a man, “I like your sweater,” what he hears is, ‘I want to go out with you,’ When a woman says to a man, “I like your sweater,” what she *really *means is, ‘I like your sweater.’

I didn’t read that the OP had any thought of “getting physical” with the lady! As for not going out as boyfriend/girlfriend for a “good long while”, I think that may cause some confusion to the OP reading it, and to the young lady. What I think is a valuable experience, and perhaps to the same intended end, is to have a period where a wider group of friends go out. But this need not cause too much of a delay to a warming up in the relationship between the 2 people, if that is where it leads.

Take her out for a movie and burgers, and LISTEN AND TALK.

Dating can be great fun. But analysing it can make you go insane. Stop analysing.

It sounds like you have more than enough of a platform to explore a romantic interest here. Leave it too long, and you may find it hard to progress from the “friends zone”. So just give it a go.

So far everyone except ClearWater suggested I ask her out on an explicitly romantic date. I think y’all confirm my suspicion that I’m worrying too much, and that the conditions I stipulated in the original post are not necessary to start dating someone. There will be plenty of time to figure all that out later (especially if we take it slow!)

It’s good to hear your advice not only on the original question, but also on dating in general (for the most part ;)). I think the most valuable thing is that everyone talked about asking her out instead of simply telling her I liked her. In my mind, this makes sense because asking her out to a specifically planned date takes effort from my part. This effort will lend credibility to the “I like you” and to my intentions. What do you think?

I still wonder two things:

[LIST=1]
*]Would it be not better to build a deeper friendship first, to avoid adding the pressures of dating to our friendship too early? I suspect it is too late to not say anything, since we have been romantically communicating, as SuperLuigi puts it. But I still wonder if you think it would have been better.

*]Could the fact that I worry too much be a reason to delay trying to getting romantically involved? (This sounds a lot like a person who suffers from scruples asking if having scruples is a sin. The answer to that question is no. Still, I wonder if some of you have any additional thoughts on this.) [/LIST]

precisely said:

“It’s good to hear your advice not only on the original question, but also on dating in general (for the most part ). I think the most valuable thing is that everyone talked about asking her out instead of simply telling her I liked her. In my mind, this makes sense because asking her out to a specifically planned date takes effort from my part. This effort will lend credibility to the “I like you” and to my intentions. What do you think?”

Yes! That’s right–show that you are willing to invest time and effort in her.

The problem with just flat out saying that you like her without having gone on a single date is that it moves the relationship forward faster than you ought to, and I think it would mean saying more than you really mean. Right now, there’s attraction, but you don’t know how much there is to her.

“Would it be not better to build a deeper friendship first, to avoid adding the pressures of dating to our friendship too early? I suspect it is too late to not say anything, since we have been romantically communicating, as SuperLuigi puts it. But I still wonder if you think it would have been better.”

From your description, it sounds like you’ve been hanging out a lot, and that it’s time to move forward and cut her from the herd (pardon the analogy).

youtube.com/watch?v=bLSpqPnZ15Y

Maybe some people do best by building a deeper friendship first, but you run the risk that some guy is going to steal her from under your nose if you dilly dally. In your particular case, I think you should simultaneously deepen your friendship and be more explicitly romantic, as the relationship develops, but this can be done slowly. You may at some point realize that she is flawed in some major and irreparable way and you may decide to pull your parachute cord at that point (or she may do the same), but you’re not going to be able to decide without getting more information and spending more time.

I don’t think a girl should have to waste time waiting for a guy who shows her he likes her in all ways except the one that counts (namely, progressing romantically). That’s why I think that either I have to stop showing her that I like her in all those other ways, or I should think it reasonably likely that I will ask her out soon.

I think its highly unlikely that anything that could be described as crash and burn could happen. At worst, she rejects me or I never make a move!

I have no idea what you mean by this. Could you explain yourself a bit more?

Do you mean that we I should ask her out on “friend” dates but not on romantic dates, or do you mean that I should ask her out on romantic dates, but not get physically involved in inappropriate ways? If you mean the second option, you seem to think that people that don’t get physically involved in inappropriate ways are not called boyfriend/girlfriend. Could you explain yourself a bit more? :confused:

We have been “romantically communicating,” as you put it. I mention that I’m not sure she feels like I do, because it’s possible that I have misread her responses to me, as well as her own initiatives. But I don’t think there is much more I can/should do to be more sure that she likes me at this point. :smiley:

If she doesn’t want a relationship, or later decides she doesn’t want a relationship, then it doesn’t matter what I decide. :thumbsup: In other words, I am not trying to decide whether or not to be in a relationship with her. Instead, I’m trying to decide whether or not to pursue a relationship with her.

But your comments do remind me that she has her own thoughts about dating and that it will be good to listen to them as appropriate.

It might be hard to listen and talk over the movie. :smiley: I’ll most likely take your suggestion, but replace “move and burgers” with something more fun and more tasty. :cool:

precisely said:

“I have no idea what you mean by this. Could you explain yourself a bit more?”

I just meant that from your description, you have already spent a lot of friend time together, both in a group and one-on-one. If your intentions aren’t just “friend” intentions, it’s time to sail under your true colors at this point. It’s not nice to keep her in an ambiguous situation where you’re kind of a friend, and kind of more than a friend. If you ask her on real dates, she won’t have to wonder.

It’s good that you know this- your original post made it sound like you thought it was your decision (“should I start a relationship with”, “If I decide not to have a relationship with”) but I probably misinterpreted that.

I agree with Xantippe that if you’ve been leading her to think you have romantic intentions, it is best to just ask her out. If she is interested in you, you don’t want to get her annoyed that you won’t make a move.

On the other hand, keep in mind that your intentions might not be as obvious as you think. My husband thought he was being over-the-top obvious that he wanted to date me at first, and I thought he just wanted to be friends. That’s why, if you ask her out, make it clear that you are asking her out on a date, so she doesn’t think you’re just hanging out.

Lorelei12 said:

“That’s why, if you ask her out, make it clear that you are asking her out on a date, so she doesn’t think you’re just hanging out.”

The difference between “date” and “hanging out” is 1) you make an appointment in advance 2) you pay at least the first couple times (if she wants to pay, say “this is a date!”) 3) the etiquette is more gentlemanly (i.e. the coat, the clean car, etc.).

If you go to this effort and she’s flaky or inconsiderate, you need to move on.

While it may seem unfair that you will have to pay expenses for the first few dates, bear in mind that 1) if you invite somebody out (rather than just hanging out), you are their host, so you should pay 2) it is generally considered that if you go dutch, a first date has not occurred. At some point, as the relationship develops, it’s right and proper for dating expenses to be shared and for there to be fairly explicit conversations about finances, but early on, you demonstrate the seriousness of your intentions by investing financially in the relationship (without ungentlemanly expectations, of course).

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