Life is unexpected.
That’s just the way it is—and it will continue to be unexpected regardless of where you are in your career, health, financial status or love life.
But what if you’ve just started dating a woman and she encounters a crisis, that you eventually find out about through overhearing a phone call, cancelled plans or her honest conveyance of the situation?
It can definitely cause a wrinkle in the romance, or the romance that was about to potentially bloom—since you may see a side of her that shouldn’t be seen until well into a relationship. You don’t want to be an asshole, but you also want to avoid becoming a shoulder to cry on and you don’t want to ruin the romance. So how do you handle it? Here are some tips:
1. Don’t Overplay Your Position
Whether you’ve known her for years or met in a bar last week, if you’re taking the initial steps, or hope to take the initial steps toward dating, you still want to remain in a somewhat neutral position. Act more as a concerned friend than a concerned “lover”.
Unless, she’s called you her “boyfriend” to friends and family you should play a much more limited role. Don’t assert yourself into any situation as someone who is part of her family.
Remain a concerned close friend—let her lead you in how and when she’d like your assistance. Offering help is always a good thing, and often times strong women don’t really want to ask for help, so taking the initiative on something small, such as sending her flowers, or bringing her take-out can be all that’s needed to show her you care and that you’re willing to help, even if she’s uncomfortable asking.
2. Don’t Act Like You Know How She Feels
As human beings with empathic tendencies we often feel the need to connect or relate to another human being by sharing our own experiences with them.
That can be extremely helpful in certain scenarios but not the “crisis” moment. Perhaps her father has suddenly become ill, or her grandparent has passed away, or perhaps she lost her job. Whatever the case, it is her experience that she is going through—not yours.
Telling her that you “know how she feels” will only make her feel as if you’re attempting to downplay her emotion, experience or feelings of helplessness at that moment. Tell her “I don’t know how you feel, so let me know what I can do”.
Of course, you yourself have been through something troubling and perhaps comparable, but attempting to tell her how you survived something is only comparing apples and oranges. Tell her she will get through it, but DON’T tell her how to, or loft yourself above her. Just let her speak when she needs to, and offer your support.
3. Don’t Put Expectations or Pressure on Her
You may want to aggressively show her your presence and that you are willing to go through this bad time to come out on the other side, whatever that side may be—but she may not be ready or able to handle that type of pressure.
Women put a lot of thought and action into the beginning of a relationship, and no it’s not because we are the psycho gender who wishes to overanalyze everything, it’s mainly because we don’t’ have time for games and we want to move on to more interesting things and people if we don’t see the relationship going anywhere.
However, attempting to put any pressure on her will backfire. If you had dinner reservations, or plans for her to meet your family, immediately, IMMEDIATELY, relieve her of those duties.
Nothing says you don’t care more than expecting her to be primped and prepared for something that she cannot feel prepared for at a harrowing time in her life. Women react differently in personal crisis, but one thing they all share is the need to reassess their plans and actions, and if you reiterate or remind her, or even ask if she’s up for that weekend trip you had planned, then she will feel out of control and bad for letting you down.
Tell her it’s okay to need some time to re-gather herself. She’ll appreciate this gesture and find that you can be the comforting part of a stressful time or situation.
4. Do Be There, but Don’t Be Used
You’ve probably heard the tale of the vulnerable woman. When women feel blindsided, hurt, inferior and/or at a loss for answers, they tend to run towards sex and relationships to find comfort.
Much like a rebound, this usually ends in a realization that they don’t really care for the person or situation and were just using it, or him, for a pacifier until they could gather themselves and face the music again, alone.
It’s one thing if you don’t mind allowing a woman to use you as an emotional sex toy, but it’s another if you actually like this woman and want to potentially pursue a relationship. In the kindest tone possible, let her know that while you find her sexy, attractive as hell and utterly irresistible you don’t want to ruin a potential relationship or a more fulfilling rendezvous by jumping into something when she may be in a vulnerable state.
She may not respond well immediately, but when she comes to a calmer state and time she will appreciate the gentlemanly gesture.
An initial crisis in the first week or month of dating may make things complicated, but it can also make things better. Yes, it’s a fast track towards reality.
When most first few dates are butterflies and nervous texts yours may be long talks and teary confessions. We live in a hook-up culture where we are reluctant to humanize each other, a crisis can make that happen fast.
However, moving fast isn’t always a bad thing—maybe the universe is throwing a hurdle at you so that you know you can jump and make it over it with the right person. You may find that a crisis is just what you two need to jumpstart your feelings for better or for worse.