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Revisiting the Slow Burn

September 28, 2010

I once wrote on the importance of finding a slow burning relationship over a more tumultuous passionate love. At the time, Slow Burn meant finding a man that is dependable, stable, loving and generous and then valuing him for those qualities over the passion and heat that sometimes comes with lesser men. I suppose I meant, forgo chemistry in favor of potential.

And I totally believed what I wrote. Except now? I’m having trouble walking that walk.

It’s been a little over 6 weeks with Mister Me and as my malcontent continues, its clear that something is just not adding up. And the problem is? I just don’t feel the same chemistry he does.

Horrendous. Here is this man who shares my opinions on all matters, has achieved success in business and remains ambitious to achieve further, is kind, funny and generous and is emotionally available. He is awesome on paper. He is the definition of potential. And? He likes me. Really likes me.

Yet I just don’t feel that chemistry that usually accompanies a new relationship. I don’t miss him or get butterflies when my phone buzzes. I don’t daydream about our time together.

I miss all that tingly nervousness; that feeling that I might perish if I don’t kiss him today. I miss wanting, that deep wanting. Mister Me so readily gives his emotions and time that it overwhelms me and forces me to take a step back. It’s too much sometimes; he’s too willing to please me, too available, too eager. I don’t get to want Mister Me, because he’s given me everything of himself already.

So what’s right?

Do I tough out my butterflyless tummy and invaded personal space and continue to value Mister Me for his wonderful qualities and potential as a mate?

Do I cut him loose and seek someone who will occupy my every thought but never live up to my expectations?

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Heidi permalink
    September 28, 2010 10:05 am

    It’s the nature of the chase, chances are if he became less “available” to you, your interest would probably peak. But because he is always there and you know this, you have no need to pursue.

    Unfortuantely I think we (men and women) have no idea what we really want until we don’t have it…

  2. September 28, 2010 10:16 am

    I could not agree more with Heidi. I think that if you let Mister Me go, you’d miss him because he wasn’t there.

    I am the same way about the chase, & I have to admit that I almost let a guy (we’ll call him Bob) go 6 months ago when I met up with an old flame in St. Louis (we’ll call him Roy). But I missed Bob when I was with Roy…A LOT. I missed his kindness, his stability, and the way he treated me. We were only apart for 4 days and hadn’t even been dating that long. So I finally let go of Roy once & for all (we’d been back and forth for years) and embraced Bob, who is now my boyfriend.

    I know you & Mister Me have had time apart before…I’m pretty sure that’s the best way to figure out how you feel, is to take time apart & re-assess.

    • September 28, 2010 10:25 am

      I agree with Heidi and Jenny about the chase but after the time apart what is she missing more… the attention?? or him??

      • September 28, 2010 11:45 am

        For me, I missed talking to Bob. I wanted to tell him about my day & find out about his. I guess I just didn’t realize how much I would miss him…

  3. September 28, 2010 10:17 am

    Ugh… I’ve never been a fan of the slow burn.

    I’m a “jump off the diving board and into the deep-end” kind of person. I think if you have to develop that “feeling” overtime, that you’re really trying to convince yourself that its the right thing instead of just knowing.

    I love hard and fast… passion, passion, passion… unfortunately it means I fall for certain types of people in a heartbeat but when I do fall there’s no shadow of a doubt in my mind. Do I think that it’s wrong to have a slow maturing and growing relationship over time… no! I just know for a fact that it would never work for me, I would never be 100% of the boyfriend I need to be if I wasn’t fully engaged by my relationship. All the little things I do to make a girl feel special… I do because I’m thinking about her, daydreaming about her. If I’m not engaged I’m not doing those things because she’s not at the for front of my mind.

    I don’t think you can develop chemistry overtime… If the chemistry isn’t there, I think you need to listing to the words of Usher Raymond and… “let it burn”

  4. September 28, 2010 10:36 am

    Agree on all accounts. Chemistry is #1 to me and if it’s not there and I’m not thinking about you constantly when we’re apart…then do not pass ‘Go’ and collect $100. You’re not for me; time to move on.

  5. September 28, 2010 10:56 am

    Most of my relationships start out fast and breathless, and usaully crash and burn…but, if you think you can find that combo of desperate passion and matching wits then go for it.

  6. jessicainthenow permalink
    September 28, 2010 11:04 am

    don’t stay! I’ve done it, and it ended HORRIBLY with much heartbreak for the guy. If you don’t have the passion, it can eventually manifest, but it’s probably not ‘right.’

  7. September 28, 2010 11:07 am

    Oh Bea! I don’t even know where to begin! I guess my first bit of advice would be that you need to get out of your own head. Stop plotting where you THINK you should be or how you THINK you should feel. The slow burn takes a LONG time to develop. I think that Mister Me would be very understanding if you sat down & told him that this stuff IS a little overwhelming. That you are having fun and you appreciate all that he is and all that he does but this is new to you. These are things you’ve wanted for soooo long and know that they’re being presented to you? It’s just kinda scary. I don’t think you should cast him aside yet. What’s the rush? But I do think a conversation needs to take place. I doubt this helps but I had to try… XO

  8. September 28, 2010 11:08 am

    I’m going to have to write a longer reply later, because I’m reading in the minutes before I have to leave for work : After years of intense, longing, passionate relationships, I pulled a George Costanza and did EVERYTHING opposite when I met Husband. Don’t get me wrong, we had some pretty steamy make out sessions and such when we were first dating, and I was always glad to see him, but I wasn’t never heart thumping nervous after the first few weeks.

    At one point, I very nearly bailed, thinking something must be wrong with us – I could sleep at night, I wasn’t constantly checking my phone, I wasn’t nervewracked on date night – and then I realized, I wasn’t nervous about Husband because he gave me no reason to be nervous. So much of that intense, passionate feeling in a relationship stems from the precariousness of it all, and in Husband’s case, he gave me no reason to suspect we were ever on the edge of a crash and burn.

    Oddly enough, it was trusting him that caused our relationship to be really very calm in comparison. Ultimately, I decided that being able to trust and rely on a partner you adore is far, far more important than the head rush.

    But that was just me.

    • September 28, 2010 12:28 pm

      In my world white hot passion tends to be crazy bait (and not the good kind of crazy).

      I like how Margaret described her and her husband’s relationship in the middle paragraph of her comment. The craziness I feel is bred from the nervousness she so aptly described.

      My current boyfriend leaves me no reason to be nervous and I’ve never been happier. We have a lot of passion, but we also enjoy sharing life outside the bedroom.

      At the end of the day, it’s about finding a balance that is right for you and your partner. If you feel good about what you have, don’t worry too much about whether or not it’s how you think you should feel.

  9. September 28, 2010 12:16 pm

    I see all kinds of love (and it’s kind of my job to capture it). I see loud love that pronounces it to the world for all to see, I see quiet love that is in the corner that they hope no one sees, I see love that’s somewhere in between. Are all of these not love? I find myself being a quiet love type of person in all honesty, I enjoy the little things in life like flowers because he saw them or cleaning the bathroom. I don’t need him to shout his love from the rooftops or me to do the same, I happy and in love with quiet love and something that does evolve over time.

    I do think you need to do some soul searching on what kind of love you want, do you need the kind that you describe or are you falling into the “well love is supposed to be this and this is how it has to be” talk? Each kind is different and you need to find out what works for YOU, whatever kind of love it is.

    What do you feel when you’re with him? Are you freaking out because it’s different than what you’ve had in the past? There is a difference between lust and love, are you in love with lusting? Lust comes and goes but love will stay no matter what kind.

    So do some soul searching about why you’re feeling this way, what kind of love you want and go from there 🙂 I see lots of wine in your future either way 😉

  10. September 28, 2010 12:27 pm

    I was once with a guy who liked me a whole lot more than I liked him. He was a nice and funny guy, but that connection was never there. He pretty much hated me when I broke up with him. I had tried to stay with him, to see if my feelings would develop, but they didn’t. I have no clue how you truly feel about him, but you need to decide if you can develop the relationship and feel the same, or if it’s really not there. Is it just something new that you aren’t used to? The calm and stability? I agree with saucyredhead and think a talk with him might help. If he’s as nice and understanding as he seems, maybe he will understand that you’re overwhelmed. Maybe give it a little more time, but don’t make it harder on both of you if you realize it’s over by dragging it out.

    Sorry this isn’t as easy as you hoped. I hope you come to the conclusions you’re looking for.

  11. September 28, 2010 12:51 pm

    “Great on paper” is fine, if you are having a relationship with a book. If that kind of passion is something you need, it will be hard to be happy with this person. Managed, cultivated tension beats pleasant civility every time.


  12. September 28, 2010 2:57 pm

    I can’t tell you what to do or say. But I hope that no matter what you decide, you are as considerate and careful with his heart as he has been with yours.

  13. Janet permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:39 pm

    I’m thinking that you can’t lose by simply telling him that he needs to step back a bit so that suddenly you can MISS what he supplies so readily. Why run now when you haven’t tried this simple step? Been there and sometimes it really works. The problem is that if he can’t do it, or if you notice that in stepping back, he becomes more anxious and there are signs he is trying to hide that he is stalking you, it means he can’t do it and yeah, then it’s just not going to work. Talk first. What the heck.

  14. Alicia permalink
    September 28, 2010 5:02 pm

    My friend recently posted this quote on her blog:

    “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

    My personal opinion is that you are trying not to just panic and look for things that are wrong, but rather that there are just feelings that you are unclear about. It’s OK to go with your gut instincts sometimes, but might it be possible that you just need more time to explore the situation?

    I just reread your slow burn vs. passionate love post, and the chart seemed to indicate that passion = lust and not much else. Maybe it’s not one or the other, but a healthy mix of both that seems so elusive.

    Best wishes to you 🙂 You deserve exactly what you want, and if you figure out it’s not Mister Me, that’s OK!


  15. stineybean permalink
    September 28, 2010 5:16 pm

    hey doll, firstly, I think you deserve a pat on the back for articulating these feelings. It’s not easy to wonder about something, especially if it’s about something that you feel should be there and isn’t and the reason why isn’t readily available.

    Also, have you considered that the thigh reduction might be eclipsing your point-of-view on this? It seemed a major undergoing and you still wear the bruises and pain. I know you met Mister Me before it happened, but you didn’t meet him very long before. Perhaps this procedure that will alter your body greatly and in turn force you to alter your own view of yourself, as well as the pain, meds, etc has affected you somewhat. I don’t think it should be blamed, if you don’t feel it for someone, you just don’t, but perhaps you need some recovery time before you make a big decision about someone as awesome as Mister Me.

    Whatever you decide, however it goes, just remember, no one knows what’s best for you, other than you. And we will all love you no matter what you decide. Cheers, lady, and good luck.

    I let go of a very good man who I almost married because I just didn’t feel it. It took me a long time to resolve that and appreciate that part of the reason I let him go is because I had to find myself before I could give myself to someone else. Your mind frets because it wants you to be happy, and ultimately, I have had a happier life for letting him go.

  16. September 28, 2010 6:53 pm

    You know… It is a tough question. I used to think that you couldn’t develope chemistry overtime, so all of my relationships were super hot and steamy and let’s face it… short… Steamy is not sustainable unless you have something else to back it up with. After dating for at least 13 years, I finally figured out that in order to find a nice dependable guy, I needed to stop going out with guys that were exciting but completely unreliable… I am now married to the most wonderful man and life only gets better from day to day because our relationship is based on trust, love and respect, instead of lust. Just a thought though… Do what feels right for you!

  17. Tarryn permalink
    September 29, 2010 2:28 am

    I think I understand some of what you’re going through. There was a guy who was really into me and I thought I liked him back; we communicated for a while through email and IM (I was living in a different part of the country), then when I got home we went on a couple of dates, and I realised I was really not into him, so I said ‘let’s just be friends’. I have not regretted my decision for one moment. (Of course, he reminded me of my uncle, which was just…weird, and he turned out to be a crazy creepy weirdo, but that’s besides the point.)
    Then I met this other guy, who I know likes me way more than I like him, to the point where while I enjoy his company a lot, I don’t want to be TOO friendly because I don’t want to encourage his feelings.
    Also, like the sister said in 500 Days of Summer, “Just because some [guy] likes the same bizarro crap you do does not mean that [he] is your soulmate.”
    Now I’m going to give you my best attempt at advice (as a rule, I suck at giving advice, but I’m going to try anyway) – which is completely contrary to what I’ve said above.
    I loved what Margaret said about how not being nervous was a good thing because her guy was not giving her reasons to be nervous – I’d never thought about it that way before! Also, I think 6 weeks is not long at all, and you had surgery in the middle of it. Maybe you’re over-thinking this a little, and being too hard on yourself? I think you need to give this time (but not too much, because you don’t want to lead him on) and ask him for space, a chance to miss him. But you must ultimately do what is right for you – you know yourself best. Easier said than done, I know! I hope things work out soon xxx

  18. September 29, 2010 7:18 am

    Are butterflies and contentness mutually exclusive?

  19. September 29, 2010 9:29 am

    you have incredibly smart commentors — don’t think there’s much i can add, but i agree with many that you should stop worrying about how you think you should feel & figure out if what you feel is good. and good enough.

    breathe, girlbaby. he’s clearly patient and kind — he will let you figure this out, even to his detriment, and i’d bet you he’ll do it with grace.

  20. September 29, 2010 10:08 am

    Someone can be totally great on paper, but it’s the chemistry that keeps you longing to be near. I’m not talking about mad infatuation that can crash and burn, I’m talking about that tangible electric thread between you and the one you love that binds you. You want to be near. You miss him when he’s gone. You can’t help but touch him, and he brings that smile, sparkle and joy to your life. That’s a great thing to search for and hold tight to.

  21. September 30, 2010 12:46 am

    This is a tough call. These are the times that call for alcohol and snacks.

  22. Ash permalink
    September 30, 2010 10:27 am

    Okay so I don’t have the interweb anymore and haven’t kept up, but last I knew you wanted space but as soon as you got it you didn’t want it anymore? He gives lots to you time, space, flowers… Etc. What are you giving to him? (sorry if you’ve already addressed this.. I haven’t read anyone elses comments)

    he must feel sparks if he really likes you, are you shutting those sparks out? Are you looking for an excuse not to date him? Why is there such an emphasis on chemistry? Sorry for all the questions, I’m typing as they come to me.

    I’ve been with my husband for 9 years… And we haven’t had chemistry all those years. Or sparks for that matter. But we work at our relationship everyday, it’s a work in progress. Does this relationship need a little more work?

  23. September 30, 2010 12:02 pm

    OK so I’m finally going to weigh in here. Well, again, I guess. If you count the post as my first weigh in.

    The Mister Me situation is complicated, yes? For right now I’m taking the advice many of you gave to stop over thinking and enjoy our time together. Which I do enjoy. I just start to mentally hyperventilate when I think on it too much.

    Mister Me has been kind and understanding and patient. And he continues to be. So we’re making real effort to slow it down and I believe that letting this develop on a more realistic schedule (our second date was 36 hours, our fourth was 48) will help greatly.

    I love and appreciate each of you for having such empathy for both me and Mister Me. He does deserve your support. I adore you.


  24. Jana permalink
    September 30, 2010 3:29 pm

    I took the slow burn route and it has paid off in its entirety. I love him, adore him and worship the ground he walks on. Just had our 15th anniversary and we have two kids. Furthermore, we will be married until we die. I love the security and comfort we have in each other . I learned that butterflies are the pitts. However, I have always missed him when he wasn’t around…and I still do.

  25. dru permalink
    October 4, 2010 12:24 pm

    I think you’re doing good 🙂

    I chose the slow burn with Coll ( my current ) over Zero ( my ex kind-of ) and it has paid off immensely.

    There are times when I wish I hadn’t cut things off with Zero and that I could still feel that rush as I sampled a little piece of the emotionally unattainable, but usually I’m just happier than I’ve ever been in a relationship.

    Things work better with us than they have for me in the past because we contemplate the future in a super vague way that usually includes “Mm, we should go to Italy after we graduate [uni].” kind of talk and avoids anything that suggests we might get engaged, married, whatever.

    We also talk to each other about how we’re feeling relationship wise. I think you’re doing a good job of communicating with Mister Me and I wish you both the best.

    You can do this, Bea! You can 🙂 ♥

  26. October 6, 2010 1:04 pm

    Uhg, this is SUCH a tough one.

    I used to be in a relationship with a slow burner. At the risk of sounding extremely cheesy, we were so in love. So very much in love.

    But then he moved to do his PhD and it was in that year of trying to maintain a difficult long distance relationship that things started to deteriorate. After the first year he realized that things weren’t going well and started going overboard trying to make things better.

    I couldn’t deal with it and called the whole things off.

    I wound up falling into something with a guy I had gone to school with; someone who got those butterflies buzzing and all that. But those butterflies have since calmed down and I’m starting to realize that without all that buzzing to distract us, we aren’t really that great together after all.

    It’s hard to say what would have happened down the road with Mr. Slow Burn but I can say this – if given the chance to choose between these two types of romance again, I wouldn’t think twice about going with the slow-burn.

  27. December 1, 2010 5:34 am

    makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages


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