Is Your Emotional GPS Guiding You Toward Love that Lasts?


Kelly is excited that Daniel keeps asking her out. She’s attracted to him, and he’s fun and interesting. But she realizes they’re still getting to know each other so she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself like she did in the past. When she thinks of how she rushed into prior relationships, her budding romance with Daniel makes her a little nervous. Since she’s dating other men, she doesn’t want to get into a situation involving much kissing, so she doesn’t invite him in after their dates. She figures that, if he wants to come in, he’ll bring it up.

Kelly learned from her past relationships that rushing into a relationship didn’t work for her. She knew she would have to pace her relationships to make sure he wanted the same things she did.  Because Kelly listened to her emotional GPS and recognized the signals it was sending her were helpful, she made decisions that were right for her.

Dating can sometimes feel like being lost in a jungle without a map. It can feel confusing to know which path will lead to love, and which will lead to heartache: Should I wait for him to call or am I supposed to make the first move? If I’m annoyed that he showed up late for our date, should I say something or let it go? Will he bring up commitment, or should I? When is the right time to have sex?

Fortunately, we all have a built-in GPS to guide us through this dating maze—our emotions. When you know how to listen to it, your emotional GPS can help you make healthy dating decisions that lead you in the right direction.

When Your Emotional GPS Is Confusing

Other factors can affect the messages your emotional GPS sends you, which can lead you astray.

Sara and Steve have been dating for a few months. He’s a good man, and he treats her well. One night, he texts her that he must work late. Sara knows that he’s in the middle of a big work project, and he’s never lied to her before. Still, she can’t shake the fear that he’s out with another woman, because her last boyfriend cheated on her. When Steve gets home, Sara accuses him of lying. Steve feels hurt that she doesn’t trust him, and they get into a big fight. Sara realizes that she’s made a mistake.

Sara’s emotional GPS told her to be scared because her ex-boyfriend cheated on her. She reacted to that fear by accusing Steve, which started a big fight. But Steve was trustworthy. Because her emotional GPS was stuck in her previous relationship, it led her in the wrong direction.  Sara’s past was likely making her feel insecure since there was no evidence there was any real problem between them. It’s easy to overreact when you don’t take the time to think over your GPS signals. Sometimes t’s better to talk it over with someone first rather than risk damaging a budding relationship.

There are many situations where your emotional GPS might send confusing signals. Past trauma, infatuation, anxiety, peer pressure, and unconscious bias are a few examples. You may need some time and self-reflection to determine the best way to handle the messages from your GPS.

Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to become aware of, understand, use, and manage emotions. It can greatly help you build stronger relationships and succeed in other areas of your life. When you are emotionally intelligent, you can connect with your feelings, act to get what you want, and make the best decisions regarding your life.

So how can you use your emotional GPS to find your way, without getting led astray?

1-  Trust your gut.

Pay attention to how you feel. Even if you’re uncomfortable, your feelings are trying to tell you something. So don’t ignore them or brush them aside.  All too often, women ignore warning signs when they are dating someone because “love is blind.”  If he is the right man for you, you’ll feel comfortable and safe around him and won’t need to ignore your nagging doubts.

2-  Reflect

If you don’t feel relaxed and happy about a relationship, try to figure out why.  Are you afraid of getting rejected? Is it because he’s giving you mixed signals, or do you feel insecure because you think that you always mess up relationships?  If your feeling is directly related to him—you are nervous because he’s not that into you—that’s an important signal. Your emotional GPS is telling you that he probably isn’t the right guy for you. But, if you feel unhappy because of something in your past, like Kelly’s fear of being cheated on, that may be a GPS glitch that could lead you in the wrong direction.

3-  Consider how to react.

Intense emotions can sometimes cause us to react in unhelpful ways. Kelly didn’t want to fight with Daniel, so it wasn’t in her best interest to accuse him. She might have avoided that fight by taking time to think about her feelings and goals and talking to a trusted friend before reacting.

Bottom Line

In the intricate dance of relationships, it’s always wise to proceed with caution. Your instincts can act as your compass, guiding you through the maze of your emotions.

Your emotional intelligence in relationships matters.  When you know how to pay attention to, understand, use, and manage your emotions, you’ll be able to trust your emotional GPS to lead you in the right direction, toward lasting love and the other goals in your life.

Has your emotional GPS led you in the right direction? Were there times when it led you astray? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Your thoughts might help someone else who is having trouble understanding this topic.

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