Question #1: How can I best handle “getting to know you” stage with a guy if he’s a great person, but more into me than I am into him? I want to give him a chance, but I still want to walk in my integrity and stay heart-centered.
This can be a tricky thing to navigate simply because it’s not always easy to tell how long to wait for attraction to grow, and of course you want to honor the person you’re getting to know. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to give someone a chance:
1. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself
The first thing I would say is to not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to have everything figured out. You don’t have to know you’re going to marry him. You don’t even have to know if you have feelings for him. The reason you’re getting to know him is to figure these things out. Communicate with him and be honest about where you’re at, but don’t feel like you have to have all the answers yet.
A lot of times we’re afraid to say yes to a date because we feel like we’re communicating, “Yes, I am absolutely interested in you,” when this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead of being afraid of sending the wrong signal, it’s a good idea to simply tell the other person where you’re at. You can say, “Hey, I’m not sure where my feelings are yet, but I would love to get to know you a little better,” or something along those lines. Be honest about where you’re at and then they will better know where to put their expectations.
3. Ask yourself good questions
If it’s your first date, don’t ask yourself, “Is this my husband?” That is a lot of pressure and something a lot of people don’t figure out until they’ve been dating for a long while. Ask yourself questions that are appropriate for the level you’re at. For the first few dates, you can ask yourself, “Am I attracted to this person? Can I be friends with them? Do we have fun together? Do we have similar values? Do they love the Lord?” You might even ask, “Am I more attracted to them than I was before we went on this date?” Further down the road, you can start to ask the deeper questions.
4. Stay aware of your feelings
Part of the reason to ask yourself good questions is it helps you to stay aware of your feelings. If your feelings are not progressing after a few dates, then it’s probably time to let things go. Attraction and chemistry with someone else is not something you can force. Sometimes a person can seem like a really great option on paper, but the feelings just aren’t there and that’s okay. Trust that God has designed you to develop strong feelings for the person you’re ultimately going to end up with. He will not ask you to sign up for a marriage you have no desire to be in. In fact, that would be unfair to the other person because they deserve someone who cares deeply for them and wants to be with them.
Question #2: “My problem is I don’t actually know how to stay friends with someone who has feelings for me without it being awkward OR without feeling like I’m leading him on.”
It can definitely be a tough thing to navigate when a friend starts having feelings beyond friendship. I think it’s great you are wanting to find a way to still be friends instead of automatically cutting relationship with that person.
The truth is, you may have some awkward moments. The other truth is, this doesn’t have to be a big deal. Don’t let awkward moments (or the fear of awkward moments) keep you from being a friend or being kind and considerate towards someone. You’re a person and they’re a person, and avoiding them doesn’t make things any less awkward.
As for feeling like you’re leading him on, you can set certain boundaries that will help keep the lines clear between friendship and something more. Start by having a conversation (we call this a DTR- define the relationship) where you clearly communicate where you’re at if you haven’t already. Then you can ask him what he needs from you as a friend to make things easier on him and for him to not feel like you’re leading him on. Depending on the situation, it might actually be best for you to not be close friends anymore, and that is tough, but it’s also okay if that’s what he needs.
The key is to value your relationships with people enough to communicate with them instead of just avoiding them or cutting them off. Communication calms things down and takes away the fear of leading someone on or giving them the wrong signal. It’s not always easy and there may be some awkward moments, but good communication is a tool that will help you take care of yourself and your relationships now and as you move forward in life.