Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I’m scared. I have dated a bunch of guys and had a positive experience overall, but they were not right for me. Now I am dating someone that I really like and everything is going really smoothly. But yesterday he brought up the future and I listened and smiled but inside I was completely freaking out!! How am I supposed to know if this is someone I can live with forever?! The very thought makes me sweat. My family is telling me to calm down, but I do not feel calm. I don’t want to mess this up… but ahhh! I need help.


Melting Down


Dear Melting,

My friend is a runner. She runs fast and she runs a lot. Her treadmill is covered in marathon medals and she never has to stop and catch her breath. It’s amazing. She just started a running group. Everyone was super excited until they realized that there was actual running involved. Suddenly the group had excuses… “My baby has yoga that day,” “I need to get started on Pesach cleaning (even though I am going out of town),” “My other running (er, napping) group needs me,” etc.

So, she adapted and changed running to “speed walking” and suddenly we had a group again! Sometimes slowing down allows you to speed things along.


That Awkward Moment When You Are Wearing Nike…

Thank you for reaching out. You are feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. You were dating comfortably and felt blindsided by talk of the future. Logically, you may even know that this is an expected next step. But your heart and mind are not yet aligned, and you felt like the rug had been pulled out from under you. The future is a big word, and forever is a long time. You don’t want to walk away, but being told to “calm down” is not working out well for you either.

(Disclaimer: Usually when you tell someone to calm down, they do so immediately, and always respond with “of course! Thank you so much. I feel so calm now.” Umm… said no one ever.)


And You Just Can’t Do It.

It’s time to slow things down. Nothing has changed. Everything is still going smoothly. You still like each other. You still want to continue dating. The only addition, is that he is ready to discuss your future, and you are not – yet. This is easily resolved, with conversation and time. Be honest with him. Tell him that you are so glad that he is already able to talk of the future, but you just need a bit more time. Explain that you feel so excited about where your dating has taken you, but you just need some more focused time together to feel fully comfortable. Talk honestly and openly with sincerity, and he will not be hurt. Instead, he will be glad that you can communicate with each other so well, and you can reopen this discussion when you are both more prepared. Obviously, with the intention of dating to get to a place where you can plan a future together.

Then use your time together wisely. Concentrate on the positive characteristics you have always been attracted to. Notice how easy it is to be with him and how your conversations make you feel. Become aware of your comfort level when you are with him and your overall happiness. Does he make you feel safe and seen? Do you like who you are when you are with him? Do your hopes for the future align? Be present and mindful with focused positivity so you can ease into a beautiful and healthy future. Start walking so you can learn to run together.

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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.