Theories of love can’t fully explain love and attraction, but if you learn to trust your intuition you will find more successful relationships.
After seeing many clients struggling in love and relationships, over the years I have developed a theory about trusting the first few moments of interaction. Those first few moments of meeting a new potential love interest are critical. If you listen to the signs and signals, and learn to trust them you will avoid many problems in the relationship further into the future.
Think of a person that you had a relationship with in the past—a friend, lover, or partner. What do you remember feeling, thinking, or intuiting about that person in the first couple of minutes?
For example, when a past client of mine first met her husband she thought, “He is wild and free, open and honest.” His wild and free personality sparked an alert within her right away, but she liked him, and, eventually, she felt she wanted to have children with him. They married seven months later.
My client overlooked her first impression, “He is wild and free,” because she wanted to have a child and she felt comfortable with him. Years later, his wild and free traits continued, which manifested as unsteady employment, financial overspending, and long hours through the night creating little career outcomes. He later wanted to “swing” with other couples. They divorced and continue to be friendly toward each other.
Although they had a beautiful child together, my client often wondered if she had listened to the quiet warning when she met him, and had not followed her “agenda,” if her life would have been different. She shared that she doesn’t regret the choice she made, but she wonders what may have happened if she had followed her intuition?
Intuition is direct perception of truth and fact, independent of any reasoning process or immediate apprehension. It is sometimes referred to as a “gut feeling.” When is it safe to go with your gut? Unconscious (or intuitive) communication is the transfer of information unconsciously between humans. At times, it is subtle and may be a brief thought or feeling that passes quickly. If you ignore or miss it, you may be missing very important information about the person or situation. Intuition is a skill that is innate and is based on experience. The more we listen and trust, the better guide it becomes.
Another past client shared with me, “My intuition was strong about a man I met on a train while traveling from New York. I was 38. He boarded the train in NY with his friends, a beautiful french woman and her partner a male artist.”
My client felt like she had known this man all of her life. They laughed, talked, and he took photos of her. She wanted to spend more time with him. But, as they arrived to her home city, she said good bye because she was already engaged and wanted a family.
“I didn’t listen. I didn’t pay attention to my gut, my knowing.” she told me. “I wonder sometimes, was he the one? I never even saw the photos.”
Often in my practice, I see attractive, educated, compassionate, and competent women continually finding themselves with the many types of men that aren’t good for them. The gigolo, who reels her in and then abandons her; the go-to-my-cave guy who then comes-out-with-no-insight; the conflict avoider; or, the dedicated husband and father who explains “I’m here, that proves I love you,” as if he doesn’t have to put forth the effort to nurture and improve the relationship any more. There are men who can leave the relationship, start new, and never turn back. Then, there is the verbal abuser, who comes on strong, demeans, and isolates his partner slowly from friends and family. He blames subtly and then overtly for his anger, which is expressed verbally and then physically, always apologizing and promising it won’t happen again. There is also the nerdy, nice guy who seems boring. Then, finally, there is the man who is honest, sincere, knows how to love and be loved — and who wants to nurture and work on improving your relationship daily.
It takes some women a lifetime to spot the right one. Is there a quicker way to spot them and avoid years of pain?
How can you start to make better choices? First, learn to listen to the voice that comes from deep within yourself, that part of you that flinches when you are around something that is unsafe or dangerous, or even just slightly uncomfortable. Next, notice the feeling of openness and comfort that you feel when you are around those who love and support you. Stop and notice how your body feels when you are engaged in something that you love or enjoy. Pay attention to how your body responds and learn to trust it. That is your intuition. Many times when we reflect on a situation, we remember feeling a twinge of discomfort, insecurity, or strangeness that is quickly dismissed, because of lack of trust. Instead, practice listening and trusting how your body responds. That is always your best guide.
Jean Pollack is a psychologist and life coach. Read her book, Tango from Chaos to Creativity.
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