“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
You slept with him too soon… Now what? Ask yourself why you did it.
- Did he pressure you?
- Was there so much chemistry that you couldn’t stop yourself?
- Were you trying to hook him with sex?
- Do you have a problem with alcohol or drugs?
Once you understand your motives and actions, then you can decide what to do.
If he pressured you, and you gave in, you need to examine your ability to set boundaries and set the pace of a relationship.
It is usually the woman who sets the pace for physical intimacy, and if you are simply unable to say no, you can learn to set boundaries. There are a dozen ways to say no without being unpleasant. It takes practice and commitment to respect your own boundaries, and developing this skill will benefit every area of your life.
If the chemistry between you was so strong that you couldn’t stop yourself, watch out.
Chemistry can take on a life of its own, and it can feel like a force bigger than you. You can’t create it or stop it. Strong chemistry is very powerful, but does not make a good relationship all by itself.
In fact, it can create disastrous relationships that are built on a foundation of air. In the initial stages of a relationship, the chemistry can be like a drug addiction.
When you have strong chemistry with someone, you get addicted to your own endochemicals (like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins) and it is a little bit like heroin.
It just feels so good that you want more and more of it. But inevitably, this chemistry will subside as you develop a tolerance to it, and you could be left with someone that you really don’t even like. If you want a successful and lasting relationship, marry values, not chemistry .
If you slept with him too soon because you were trying to hook him, watch out.
You might have accomplished just the opposite. If he is not really interested in a serious relationship, he’s likely to move on once he has experienced the conquest.
There is no way to manipulate or shortcut the work involved in getting to know someone for real and assessing compatibility on various levels: emotional, psychological, intellectual, physical, spiritual, financial, and values around health and habits.
If you slept with him too soon because you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, it is time to get honest.
Admit the truth to yourself, and seek help. While alcohol can be a social lubricant, it can also gradually become a problem for some people and can cause you to do things you would never do sober. Make sure that you have a healthy relationship with any mood altering substances, and do not let them control you.
Learn from your experience, and trust whatever happens.
If this relationship ends up working out, it was meant to be. If not, take the lessons and be more wise, intentional, and self caring in the future. There are many people on this planet, and you will find one that is a good fit for you.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
Sometimes it happens. You meet someone you connect with but you’re not thinking “relationship,”instead you just want to have fun.
Now, there are all kinds of morals and values about “hooking up” that we are not getting into because frankly, your values are really no one’s business but your own.
What we are going to talk about however is that there really is a difference between just having fun vs having a real relationship.
It can also be tricky to switch from the former to the latter.
To begin, there seems to be a generally universal belief that if you really like someone and would like to have a relationship with them you probably should not have sex too quickly.
We have all heard this but have you ever thought why?
After all if you really like the person why wait?
Well, the truth is that the checkboxes that must be met for two people to just have fun together is a lot shorter than the list of checkboxes that must be met for someone we want a real intimate relationship with.
For the fun relationship there could be as few as one check box (physical attraction) or there could be several such as physical attraction, good personality, not a jerk etc.
Reality is that every woman and every man has their own list of checkboxes that need to be met to hang out with someone.
Everyone however has a second list of checkboxes for intimate relationships. This list is more fine tuned and requires much more from the object of their interest.
For example, while physical attraction is still on or near the top of everyone’s list, right alongside it at the top are characteristics like trustworthiness and dependability.
These two items are essential for true intimate relationships but may not even always appear on the list of a couple just having fun together. This is because trustworthy and dependable are cornerstones to any true intimate relationship but not necessarily important for a casual relationship.
Without trust and dependability however none of us can really share our true vulnerable side with another human being.
When we are hanging out and having fun, we have no intention of sharing that side of ourselves so trust and dependability take on a much less significant role.
When it comes to intimate relationships however, trust and dependability can’t be measured and checked off as quickly as physical attraction.
Let’s face it, we know instantly if we are attracted to someone but trust is earned over time and dependability is shown over time.
If it takes time to develop trust and show dependability, why not just start out for fun and see where it goes?
Well, you can and many couples evolve this way but there is a danger in this approach.
When we start off with a relationship that is supposed to be just fun, we (and our partner) are more likely to do something that negatively impacts trust and dependability. This is in no way saying we are all bad people who are simply putting on an act when we really like someone.
Instead it is analogous to buying or selling a used car (I know leave it to a guy to come up with this metaphor).
Seriously though, when you are buying or selling a used car with a stranger there is the hope that both parties will act honestly, fairly and decently but there is also the understanding that you have to ultimately look out for yourself because the other person will be looking out for themselves.
Now imagine selling or buying a used car from a good friend.
You’re still looking out for your needs but you are simultaneously equally concerned about their needs and vice versa. While the first scenario was transactional (what’s in it for me) the second is relational (what’s in it for us).
So how do you transition from transactional to relational?
Well, first off, you make sure you yourself are acting in a trustful and dependable manner towards your partner.
You also tell him that when you first started dating you were just looking to have some fun but you’ve begun to notice some qualities you really like about him (if you haven’t noticed any special qualities you wouldn’t be looking to transition the relationship).
Tell him what those qualities are and why you like them.
Guys, just like women want to feel they have something special to offer and by sharing his qualities you will be acknowledging that he does.
If he is responding positively to what you are saying you can ask him what you can do to show him he’s special to you.
Hopefully he has noticed the little things you have been doing to build trust and dependability but remember, he’s a guy so if he hasn’t recognized those things yet don’t be too hard on him.
Instead you can tell him what you’ve been doing to show him. Reassure him this doesn’t mean your getting married, but it does mean you like him more than just a fling.
Larry Blackwell, LCSW, AADC – www.westhartfordholisticcounseling.com
So you literally did it. You got caught up in the moment and had intended to wait longer.
And now you are stressing because you are essentially buying into the patriarchal myths of “Why would he buy the cow if he can get the milk for free?” or the Madonna/whore dichotomy, and worry he will lose interest now that you have had sex without being in a committed relationship.
Well here’s the thing: you are both consenting adults, sexual beings, in the (so far, horrific, but hopefully woke) year of 2020 (let’s just assume this is pre- or post- social distancing/quarantining, because this would be a whole other article…).
You are just as powerful and entitled as he is when it comes to your sexuality. You both are sexually liberated and free to choose when and with whom to have sex.
You BOTH chose now.
He is just as accountable and as much on the line as you are. Birth control, condoms, and morning after pills exist.
Override that primitive and socialized part of your brain that says women need to play coy and temper their sex drives as to appear virginal or worthy of the “chase” to a man.
Maybe he is worried too– that you’ll see it only as a hookup and not want more, or think he is just “in it for sex” and be grossed out/embarrassed. Men have souls too you know, and he may have thoughts on crossing this bridge early on.
My common refrain to clients who are worried about others’ judgments is “If they judge you for this, are they really someone you even want to date/be friends with/marry, etc.?”
In essence, take the plunge and have the conversation with this person who you have just been so physically intimate with, to be emotionally intimate, and share with them how you feel.
“I really intended to wait longer before having sex, and I don’t necessarily regret it, but I am having some mixed feelings about not having gotten to know each other more / spent more time together more first. How are you feeling about it?”…
Or something along those lines.
If he is not interested in dialoguing, you have your answer.
Having sex doesn’t mean you sold your soul. You, as a woman, are allowed to enjoy sex. Fight the patriarchy!
On the other hand, if you felt pressured or coerced to have sex, and are still having lingering emotions for the person, it might be good to talk to a professional to get your emotions sorted out and determine whether it’s just the oxytocin talking or anything else.
Also, if this is a repeated pattern for you: of regretting hookups, or if drugs and alcohol are frequently involved in “too soon” hookups– you might also want to talk with a sex positive therapist, who can help you understand your patterns and behaviors.
Sex is just sex, but it also complicates things and effects us all physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
No one should feel shame about sex, but it is completely valid if you do feel ashamed after sex— especially if it clashes with your values and morals.
If that is the case, again it would be useful to talk with someone who can help you process those feelings so they don’t continue to impact how you feel about yourself, how you feel about sex, and the decisions you make going forward.
Rachel Kitson, PhD — www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/rachel-kitson-charlotte-nc
If this topic applies to you ladies, have no fear!
There are absolutely ways to handle a scenario in which you feel you have slept with a man too soon and you are wondering how to bring up the vulnerable conversations around RELATIONSHIPS.
This scenario can actually be handled very simply and easily.
However for some women, this way may seem challenging or scary because it requires courage and trust.
The easiest and most effective way to handle this situation is by taking the lead and asking the man,
“What is it that you want from this?”
The key to asking this question with grace is staying grounded and collected.
Coming from a place of curiosity rather than judgement or neediness. Communicate to him that you simply want to know where he stands so that you can meet your own expectations and desires accordingly. Allow him to feel safe enough to share how he really feels, no pressure.
The key to continuing to create connection is communication.
He will either appreciate your vulnerability and find it a turn on, or if the man is more dismissive or avoidant it may make him want to run.
However if he wants to run, let him.
If he cannot even talk about what he wants or perhaps what he may want if he is still in discovery, then he most likely will not be able to handle vulnerability and intimacy in a relationship.
No matter what, continue to be yourself.
If the man continues to pursue sex with you its because he either loves your body and the sweet sex. Or he enjoys sex, AND enjoys YOU.
Be mindful if you feel that you are trying to force or control anything.
Do not worry. Let yourself be present with him, presence can provide all of your answers for you.
Ananda Nelson, MSW – www.anandanelson.com
- You slept with him too soon for what? For a relationship? For him to respect you? For you to respect yourself?
- Did you have sex with him just because he wanted to? Or because you wanted to? Or both?
- Were you afraid of what would happen if you didn’t have sex with him? That he would have sex with someone else?
- Were you sober when you had sex with him? If not, do you think that you still would have said “yes” if you had not been under the influence?
You had sex with him, that can’t and won’t change.
The issue here is, what do you want to do now.
- Do you want to tell him what you want or don’t want moving forward?
- Are you willing to let go if he wants less, or more than you do?
As long as you both are on “the same page” about “how soon” you had sex and what it means or doesn’t mean is fine.
The problem with “too soon” is when one partner is “making love” or wanting to make love, while the other is just “having sex”.
Perhaps you did not have sex too soon, you just did it before making sure that you both were on the same page?
At the risk of sounding like your mother, are you on birth control? Did you use protection? If you thought that you had sex too soon, are you ready to have a baby with this guy or put yourself at risk for an STD?
If you are asking the question, you already know something is off for you in this situation. Ask yourself “What Is?” and then listen for the answer.
It may not help or “fix” the situation with this guy, but it certainly will help you know what is true for you and what you do or do not want the next time that you are in the same situation.
The difference will be in how you see it, handle it and/or feel about it!
Laura Streyffeler, PhD, LMHC, BCETS, CCDVC, CCFC – www.drlauracounseling.com
I call this “Drunken Evening Regret”.
We live in very permissive times and hooking up is not at all uncommon.
The problem arises when you realize that you’ve established a very casual relationship based on sex, and now you would like to explore a relationship that is more serious.
You can’t undo the past; you can only go forward.
I suggest that you have a conversation with the man to see if he would also like something more.
- If he is interested, the conversation needs to include how both are thinking about a next step.
- If he says no, there’s really nothing else to do. Just chalk it up to an unfortunate experience and move on.
I have no issues regarding the morality of casual sex. I was a young adult in the early 70’s. We invented casual sex.
My issue with casual sex in hindsight is that it makes everything so much more confusing.
For women, and I think for some men, a relationship becomes weightier when sex is involved.
The relationship just seems to take on more meaning and you feel more vulnerable. You risk more feelings of hurt and rejection.
In addition, there are bonding chemicals that are released during sex, so it really never is “just sex”.
Those chemicals make you feel that at some level you have begun a relationship no matter how short-lived. Rejection always hurts, but after sex that rejection feels deeper and more personal.
I always recommend that people wait to have sex until you have some idea of the reality of this person as opposed to a hormonally driven fantasy.
Although it’s difficult, I recommend abstaining from sex until you have enough time to evaluate the relationship on its merits. I’m including abstaining even if you’ve already been sexual.
Wait to see if you are compatible, if you share interests and goals.
You don’t have to marry the man, but if you want the relationship to be more than sex you have to see if there actually is more than sex.
Even if you’ve already had sex, I think it’s reasonable to take a break so you can evaluate the relationship without the chemical and emotional miasma that sex creates.
Unless you intend to spend your entire relationship in bed, it’s better to know how the other 23 hours of the day will be.
Although sex is very important, and you’d probably not want to be in a relationship with somebody to whom you aren’t attracted, it’s not enough.
Waiting can avoid a lot of future complications and pain.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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