Kelleher International Blog

Expectations Affect Momentum in a Relationship

Do you struggle developing momentum in a relationship?

Perhaps because your career is driving and a romantic relationship takes the back seat. Or maybe it’s because you’re the primary caregiver of the kiddos post-divorce, and navigating dating isn’t the main priority. 

The situations can vary considerably, but the collective certainty is that time is our most precious commodity. And how we spend that time and share it with others drives the momentum in a relationship.

As matchmakers, managing the ebb and flow of expectations and momentum in the early stages of dating is one of the values we bring to our clients looking for love. 

At Kelleher International, we have a large client base of singles with high-profile or laborious careers. They’re ready to meet someone and share their life, but making time for a new love is a challenge in and of itself.

On the flip side, if you’re the “someone new” interested in pursuing a relationship with a successful executive who’s juggling a crazy travel and work schedule, you’re dealing with your own unique set of challenges to establishing momentum in a relationship.

To examine this dynamic, we’re sharing a recent Kelleher client story. It’s important to understand all of the perspectives. The goal is to discover ways to build momentum rather than compete for time and attention.

The Background

She is a 40-something full-time mom putting herself back out on the market. He’s a 50-something business executive navigating singledom while trying to balance his responsibilities as a business owner and father. She was initially hesitant dating someone eleven years her senior, but matchmaker Nahla Grafer shared all of the ways her values and desires aligned with this potential match.

“She admitted her need to practice not caring what other people think,” Nahla explains. “So I challenged her to go on the first date, have fun, and be open to the possibility.”

Three dates later, they were still having a great time. The two of them were frequently communicating, and a pattern of daily text messages had begun.

The Breakdown

Then one day, he didn’t send the usual evening text message with that day’s sunset view. She playfully prodded in a text, “Where’s my sunset pic?”

What seemed like playful banter to her felt presumptuous to him; she was pushing for attention, which made him pull away.

The Explanation

So often, a new love interest or partner feels slighted when their match doesn’t answer their call or reply to a text in a timely fashion.

One thing we know for sure from our work as executive matchmakers is that a male or female boss with major responsibilities knows how to compartmentalize. When they are at work – they are at work. It’s not personal. It’s business.

When Nahla discussed the current situation with the male client, he explained, “Her text message pushed me away. At that moment, it was my time with my kids. Plus, I was experiencing pressure at work and pressure from my ex-spouse. It felt like she wanted more than I could give. And I didn’t need anyone else taking from me.”

After further discussion, he admitted that he liked the woman and did want to see her again. 

This dialogue is one of the benefits of having a matchmaker. Instead of things being over, Nahla coached the two through the rocky patch of expectations versus momentum in a relationship.

The Lesson

Dating single business owners and entrepreneurs can be a little tricky. If that’s the type you’re attracted to, you must set your expectations accordingly. These singles operate in a high-stress, high-stakes world, and it’s essential to be mindful of their various roles and responsibilities.

Avoid calling or sending frivolous check-in messages during the workday. And be mindful of the stories you create in your head around their lack of availability, excitement, or delay in response. Remember, it’s often compartmentalization more than anything else.

Kelleher International CEO, Amber Kelleher-Andrews, adds, “It’s not fun to worry or wonder when it’s okay to talk to your match. Establishing parameters around workday or business travel communication is helpful. Ask about preferred styles of communication and the most convenient times to connect. Creating useful dialogue solves so much of the mystery of momentum in a relationship. Plus, it demonstrates mutual respect and admiration, which are key to building a solid foundation.”

Of course, always trust your gut. 

Nahla explored this idea with her female client, who sensed her match pulling away after the fateful text. “I find women have expectations of building momentum in a relationship faster than men. Because men are natural compartmentalizers, oftentimes, you’ll build momentum in a counterintuitive way. Next time your intuition tells you he’s pulling away, I want you to lean back and give him the space to lean in.”

So, what could this female client have said instead if she wanted to reach out and connect? 

Kelleher’s director of matchmaking, Kimberly Colgate suggests, “In this example, it could’ve been cute for her to send a picture of a beautiful sunset to him and say, “I’m thinking about you.” Small gestures help build connection and keep the momentum going. It’s critical to tune into your partner’s day-to-day schedule. Showing mindfulness around what they need will ultimately get you the support and validation you need from the partnership. The key is creating a mutual build upwards. If it ever feels one-sided or doesn’t flow naturally, reevaluate, and possibly move on. Give and take is vital for a healthy, happy relationship.”

Moving Forward

Consider the role of momentum in your life as a whole and not just in romantic relationships. If you find yourself in a rut in one area of your life and you don’t address it, you’ll feel the gears of momentum slowing all around you. 

Make time for meditation, visualization, and positive self-talk to get out of the rut and back in the flow where momentum builds. Give yourself every opportunity to thrive in business, life, and love.

If you’re struggling to build momentum in a relationship, leave your questions for the KI matchmaking team in the comments section below. We’re here to help guide you through the early stages of dating.

We wish you luck in love.