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Waiting for the Right Time

Monday, October 22, 2012
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Dear Miriam,

I’m a guy in my early 30s, and I’ve been seeing this great girl, also my age, for a few weeks. We’re having fun together, I really like her, she seems to like me and I’m excited about where this might go. We haven’t had sex yet, and I’m wondering when will be the right time. I don’t want to scare her away by moving too fast, but I also don’t want to move too slow and have her think I’m not interested.

Waiting for the Right Time

Dear Waiting,

It’s a great sign of maturity that both you and this girl (ahem, woman) are giving yourselves time to explore where this relationship might lead on an emotional level before jumping into bed. Though I can cite many examples that contradict what I’m about to say, as a general rule, it seems the sooner two people sleep together, the less likely they are to be serious about each other in the long run. One night stands exist for a reason, but it’s not the reason that you and this woman are enjoying each other’s company.

I encourage you to think about your long term goals for this relationship. If you see yourself spending eternity with her, then there’s no rush – your eventual physical intimacy has the potential to be greatly heightened by building emotional intimacy first. If you don’t see this lasting very long and want to maximize your fun in the meantime, then do whatever you want because it won’t matter in a few weeks or months.

Hopefully, you’re having other kinds of physical contact, which will send the message that you’re interested. Even more important, hopefully you’re developing a kind of trust where you can talk about what’s on your mind without feeling like you have to play games or over-analyze every word of the conversation. You’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks, so you’re presumably beyond the three-date milestone. I would suggest having an open and honest conversation about sex. You could say something like, “I don’t want to scare you away by moving too fast, and I also don’t want to move too slow and have you think I’m not interested.” (Good wording, right?) Follow up by asking, “How do you feel about how things have been going?” Then listen. Her response might be about sex, or it might be about something else. Either way, you’ll have made it clear that you’re amenable to sharing your feelings and listening to hers.

If you’re reading this and cringing, thinking, “I could never say that to her,” then that’s a good indication that maybe you’re not as compatible as you originally thought. If you’re thinking, “That’s a great idea, maybe in another month or two,” then that’s a sign you’re not ready to have sex either. If you can’t talk about sex with her then you’re not ready to have sex with her. Once your feelings are out in the open, you can be sure you’re on the same page, and when you’re both ready, you’ll both know.

If you hate all of my advice so far, I’ll give you an alternative: After your next date, take her home, go inside and see where things go. If you have sex and the relationship continues moving in a positive direction, you’ll know it was the right time.

Be well,

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