Dating can sometimes feel like being lost in a jungle without a map. It can feel impossible 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 decisions that lead you in the right direction.
Kelly likes dating Daniel. On their 3rd date, he asks her to go back to his place. Kelly likes him, but she‘s nervous about sleeping with him. She listens to her discomfort and tells Daniel that she’s enjoying spending time with him but wants to get to know him better. He listens, and they continue dating. After a few weeks, he tells her that he wants a committed relationship with her. Because he respected her boundaries and they are exclusive, she now feels safe enough to get more intimate.
Kelly’s nervousness told her that she wasn’t ready for sex. If she had ignored her emotional GPS and had sex before she was ready, she may have regretted the decision and felt insecure. But, because Kelly listened to her emotional GPS, she made decisions that were right for her.
Sometimes your emotional GPS has glitches, which can lead you astray.
Kelly and Daniel have now been dating for a few months. He’s a good guy, and he treats her well. One night, he texts her that he has to work late. Kelly 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 actually out with another woman, because her last boyfriend cheated on her. When Daniel gets home, Kelly yells at him, calling him a liar. Daniel feels hurt that she doesn’t trust him, and they get into a big fight. Kelly realizes that she’s made a mistake.
Kelly’s emotional GPS told her to be scared because her ex-boyfriend cheated on her. She reacted to that fear by yelling at Daniel, which started a big fight. But, Daniel was actually a trustworthy guy. Because her emotional GPS was stuck in her previous relationship, it led her in the wrong direction.
So how can you use your emotional GPS to find your way, without getting led astray by glitches?
- Pay attention to how you feel with a guy. We all get first date jitters. But as the relationship progresses, those nerves should settle down, like they did for Kelly. If he is the right guy for you, you’ll feel comfortable and safe around him.
- If you don’t feel relaxed and happy around him, try to figure out why. Why do you feel nervous? Are you scared of making a mistake because he puts you down a lot? Or is he a nice guy, but you worry because you think that you always mess up relationships? If your feeling is directly related to him—you are nervous because he makes fun of you—that’s an important signal. Your emotions are telling you that he 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.
- If you feel upset, take a moment to consider how to react. Intense emotions can cause us to react in unhelpful ways. Kelly didn’t want to fight with Daniel, so it wasn’t in her best interest to yell at him. She might have avoided that fight by taking time to think about her feelings and goals before reacting.
If you know when to pay attention to an emotion and when to ignore the glitches, you’ll be able to trust your emotional GPS to lead you in the right direction.
How has your emotional GPS led you in the right direction? Were there times when it led you astray? I’d love to hear from you. Please share your experiences in the comments below and on Facebook and Twitter.
You can do this. Join the revolution. Be your own Brand of Sexy and get what you want.