We’ve all been there: you start dating someone, they show any amount of sincere interest in you and you immediately start to panic. Intimacy! Commitment! Absolutely worse than any malevolent child-murdering clown if you ask me.
And it turns out there’s actually a very good reason that you start to lose interest in someone as soon as they get a little bit “too” keen - and yes, it’s all to do with vulnerability and intimacy.
Speaking to Maria Del Russo of Refinery29, Jesse Kahn, director of the Gender and Sexuality Therapy Collective in New York, said that anyone frightened of too-keen dates should ask themselves about their “ability to tolerate intimacy”.
If someone’s interested in you, Kahn says, it means that the relationship has “the ability to progress”. And the more it progresses, the more intimate things are - and the more vulnerable you are.
“When a relationship becomes more intimate, it becomes more vulnerable, and people can become more easily hurt,” she explains. By pulling away, slowing things down or down-right rejecting someone, you’re protecting yourself from this hurt. “Some people can actually find safety in being rejected,” she says.
That’s not the only reason we’re scared of too-keen partners - according to Kelly Johnson, a clinical sexologist, “too much attention can be perceived as desperation or a lack of independence”.
“It could mean that they’re a little more codependent than you’d like them to be,” she says. “It shows maturity if you hold back a bit - and who doesn’t want a mature partner?”.
If you want to work out whether you’re pushing people away unecessarily, though, Kahn suggests “thinking about past relationships”.
“Think about what your examples of intimacy and love were in past partnerships and in your family life,” she says. “And it takes time for a relationship to grow - so what might bother you today might not bother you tomorrow.”
So next time you’re turned off by too many texts, think about why you want to bin them off - you might be surprised by the answer.
(Image: Ryan Franco)