“I Love You” Too Soon

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Dear Hoopers,
I just started dating this guy that I’ve known for a while now. Let’s call him Mo. He’s really sweet, but he’s already saying that he loves me and it’s really freaking me out. I told him we should take it slow, but he’s already trusting me with all of his problems. He’s had a really bad past with relationships. I think it’s him but I also think it’s me. I’m not ready for this whole thing. Every time he sends a text, I get this feeling, but I don’t think it’s the good kind. I want to break up with him tomorrow, but I don’t want to hurt him. I still care for him but just not in the way he wants me to. So should I stay with him to spare him of the sadness or should I break up with him? Please help and reply back as soon as possible.
-I Love You Too Soon

Dear Too Soon,
You won’t be sparing him anything by staying in this relationship if your heart has already checked out. A long overdue breakup is like ripping off an old bandage. It can hurt but it’s good for you. Not wanting to cause someone emotional pain is a legitimate concern and one that probably keeps us hanging on to relationships for too long after the ship has sailed. However if you want to be honest and genuine to someone that you truly care about, letting this linger will only delay the pending break up that seems to be brewing.

You don’t share the same feels and that’s okay! If your head and your heart is telling you that something is off, then trust the feeling. He may be good to you but not the best fit for you. You have to figure out your likes and dislikes. What is it about this guy that doesn’t sit with you? What about him do you enjoy? Keep in mind these qualities for the future when you’re ready for the next relationship.

Dear Too Soon,
It’s not you, it’s him. I’m not sure how long “just started dating” is but unless it’s 3 months or more, the “I Love You” and the deep relationship secrets sound like too much. Maybe your previous friendship escalated the swiftness of his feelings for you but he should be pacing himself better. I’m not sure about the details of his past bad relationships, but his tendency to go all in may be a part of the problem. You have tried to talk with him about taking things slow and he seems to be having a hard time getting the message.

You are right to be concerned that breaking up with him may hurt him and could create some difficult feelings for him. And I certainly understand the desire to want to save him from those feelings. However, delaying the end of your relationship to try to save his feelings will be harmful for him and for you in the long run. I think it is best to be open and honest with him about your feelings and to let him know as soon as possible.

The difficulty of dating friends is that the relationship may never be the same if the romantic relationship doesn’t last. Once you have crossed certain intimacy boundaries with someone it can be tough to return to the friend zone, even if that’s what one person desires. The dreaded “let’s just be friends” break up almost certain never means what the words imply. Depending on how things work out in your friendship with him, this will certainly be a time of learning for the both of you.
-Dr. Ryan