You met a guy, probably on the internet, and you both agreed to see for a tete-a-tete. After your meeting, you are completely taken by him. You let your smitten side get the best of you, and you had s.ex too soon with him. You were caught in his web with his aura and amiable mien, you felt ashamed of yourself afterwards that you were taken so cheaply.

No!, don’t think in that direction, there are some things in life you do not really have total control over, one of them is emotion.

You are freaking out and asking yourself the following question;

What does he think of me?

Can we still start a relationship?

Am I too loose?

How do I tell him I want to slow down?

There are some areas you need to look into if you really like this guy and you want to explore a relationship with him.

Here are some guidelines on how to navigate yourself and put the budding relationship back on track.

Be kind to yourself.

You are not a slut. People aren’t judging you. Have some compassion for yourself. You did what you did. Hopefully you even enjoyed yourself during the experience. Either way, keep it simple. You simply had s.ex with a guy you like sooner than you’d prefer, and from that, you realized what you prefer.

Find out what you really want.

You’re allowed to want what you want. You’ve experienced what you don’t want. Now take some time to reflect on what you do want.

Do you want to take all s.exual activity off the table? Or keep it at PG makeouts? Do you need to feel more emotionally connected with him first? Maybe you simply need to have the STD and birth control talk so you’re both on the same page. Whatever it is, before you have a conversation, you need to know your thoughts, feelings and decisions on what’s most in alignment with you.

Have the conversation.

This is where kindness and authenticity work best. Ideally, have the conversation in person, but set a context first so you’re not dropping the news right before the trailers at the movie theater. You can say something like “Hey Jake, I want to chat with you about something that’s a bit vulnerable for me to share. Can we talk about it next time we hang out?”

Tell him what you enjoyed (if applicable).

If it’s true, start off with saying what you enjoyed about it. Did you like his presence and eye contact? Were you feeling safe and cared for? Do you find him incredibly s.exy? Guys can feel insecure too, and by starting off with what you enjoyed, it helps set a positive tone. It also helps him understand that you’re not blaming him.

Own your role.

Be aware of any type of shaming or blaming. Own your role in the experience and hopefully he does, too. (Assuming that everything was consensual, having s.ex was a mutual choice by two adults. There is nothing wrong or bad about it.)

Ask him what he heard.

This next one is important. Have him repeat back to you what you said. Say something like “Thank you so much for listening to me. I’m curious to understand what you heard me say.” There are subtle differences in the way men and women talk and listen. By repeating what the other person said, you get a chance to clear up any misunderstanding right there in the moment.

Listen to his experience and desires.

Then give him a chance to openly share his own thoughts and feelings. Maybe he feels the same way as you and wants to dial it back a bit so you can get to know each other better. Or maybe that’s how he prefers to date and doesn’t want to take the time to develop anything serious with you. And if that is the case, that’s great information to have so soon in dating him. Sure, you could have not had s.ex and hopefully gotten the same information. But if he is not into you as much as you are into him, then get out now. Save yourself the heartbreak and drama. And take the whole experience as an opportunity for you to clarify more precisely how you want your dating and s.ex life to be.

Create a new shared context.

After you both feel like you’ve expressed yourselves and understand each other, now it’s time to set an agreement for how you want to proceed in getting to know each other. This whole process might seem a bit dry and formal, but the opportunity for you to feel safe and go at a pace that you need will allow you both to enjoy each other a hell of a lot more.

Dating is all about experimentation and fine-tuning our wants and needs. There is no right way to do it. As much as it’s great to know what you want right off the bat, oftentimes life needs to give us a contrasting experience for us to get crystal clear on what we do want.