Why we sometimes fall fast
When you are in the dating game it is so beyond easy to get ahead of yourself...
Dating these days can be such a grueling and arduous process. Most of my client describe it as downright exhausting. Navigating the world of dating can feel like walking through a maze blindfolded – it can leave even the most confident among us thrown and bewildered. In the realm of modern dating, where swipes have replaced smiles, and texting has replaced talking, finding a genuine connection can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
So when you actually meet a guy you like, it can feel elating!!
Picture this: You meet a guy who genuinely makes your heart race and your soul smile. The conversation flows effortlessly, like a river finding its course. You discover shared interests and common quirks, creating a sense of camaraderie that feels exhilarating. It's as if the universe has finally decided to cut you some slack, offering a reprieve from the relentless game of "looking" for a partner. In those moments, you experience a rush of dopamine that whispers, "This might be the one."
You get an instant hit of dopamine right off the bat, as you experience a strong feeling of relief. Your mind echos with- "Thank God I have finally found a good one!" You can become giddy simply at having the weight of 'looking' lifted off your shoulders for a little while. It's akin to that blissful sensation when you've been stuck in traffic on a seemingly endless road trip, desperately needing to relieve yourself, and you finally spot a rest stop on the horizon. The sheer relief floods your senses, and for those first few moments in the restroom, you're practically on cloud nine. Similarly, finding someone who sparks your interest can give you a related sense of liberation, at least temporarily.
But here's the kicker: those initial weeks of dating someone barely scratches the surface of truly knowing them. However, your neurobiology is blissing out with relief so you feel like you know this person really well, very quickly. Your brain takes that kernel of relief and runs wild with it, spinning an intricate web of familiarity. The truth is, your mind has become a master illusionist, crafting a vivid picture of this person that's strikingly detailed, despite the lack of genuine familiarity.
Herein lies the first pitfall of falling too fast – the fusion of relief and the dread of returning to the tiring realm of "dating and looking." This potent combination hijacks your attention, turning it into an all-seeing spotlight focused solely on the positive aspects of your newfound connection. After all, who in their right mind would willingly venture back into the realm of awkward first dates and endless swiping? It's like your mind's hidden DJ, mixing a playlist of every sweet sentiment and enchanting moment you've shared, effectively drowning out the potential dissonant notes.
And then there's your RAS (reticular activating system), the trusty gatekeeper of your brain. This nifty neural filter sifts through the barrage of sensory input you encounter, sieving out what it deems irrelevant or overwhelming. Think of it as your own personal bouncer at the club of consciousness, only allowing the VIP emotions and experiences to make their way to the dance floor of your awareness. Naturally, anything that feels good – emotionally, that is – earns a coveted spot on the guest list.
So, during the initial stages of a budding romance, your RAS becomes the director of an elaborate cinematic production titled "All the Yummy Things about This Man." Meanwhile, potential red flags, like rejected scenes, are tossed onto the editing room floor, far from the spotlight. It's not that your brain is being dishonest; rather, it's selectively showcasing the finest features of your newfound connection. This is the first powerful trap that can cause you to fall for the wrong guy WAY too fast.
The second trap you can fall into is confusing the difference between actually falling in love with the man versus falling in love with yourself through the eyes of the man, falling for you.
What do I mean by this? Well, consider the most recent experience you had with early love. Take a moment to reflect on how he looked at you with admiration, the genuine compliments he sprinkled like confetti, how he weaved his adoration into every gesture and made you feel like the star of your own movie.
Can you feel it, that warmth unfurling within you as you let those recollections wash over you? It's like a symphony of emotions, a gentle swelling in your heart, causing a playful smile to dance at the corners of your lips. That, my friend, is the essence of love – But guess what? That is the feeling of SELF-LOVE. That feeling is generated from within YOU. It is not dependent on the man. How do I know? Because you just created that feeling within you with those memories without the man around you at all! You used your imagination to pull up those memories and then you created the internal feeling state of love. And you did it ALL BY YOURSELF. You sculpted that inner landscape of love with the clay of your imagination, and every brushstroke was your own. No leading man needed. It's like being the director of your heart's own blockbuster!
And now I know you are going to say, "Okay maybe, but Allison I was only able to do that by using the memory of my time with a man who loved me, so those feelings of love were still from him".
Let's break this one down for a minute. Go back to what you were feeling in the memory, you were feeling loved because of all the things he was loving about you! How focused were you actually on him and who he was in that exercise we just did? Maybe some of you were but a majority of you were focused on how much he loved you. You felt intoxicated at those aspects of the memory.
Here is the critical question to ask yourself, when you first start falling for a guy, are you ACTUALLY fall in love with him? OR are you possibly falling in love with yourself through his eyes??? Sit with that for a minute... let it really sink in before you push it away.
It might feel weird or uncomfortable to consider, as it has a vibe of self-centeredness (which we women have been trained not to indulge in), but let us attempt to consider this possibility while we set aside any old pre-programmed judgement. Just take a breath into the thought that maybe, when you are first dating a man who is attentive and adoring of you, you begin to see yourself through his eyes. You begin to feel what he feels for you as you rediscover yourself with his observations of you. The more he loves you, the more lovable you feel, and the more lovable you feel, the more love feelings get created in your own heart. It's an easy trap to fall into to assume that the feelings of love are coming from him, like he is beaming them directly into your heart but the truth is the feelings are coming from you and surprisingly they are even mostly about you!
Naturally, in time, you can also find things that you genuinely love about him, aside from the way he makes you feel, but the important point here is that much of the time when we fall hard fast, we have not even had enough time to truly get to know who he is. We are just willing to jump head first into the relationship because of how good it makes us feel to be (unbeknownst to us) falling in love with ourself through the eyes of another, basking in our own glow. We jump into the whirlwind without truly knowing him, possibly ignoring red flags. And as the initial self-love high fades, we wonder why the intensity wanes, left feeling "why don't I feel all the love I felt for him in the beginning?"
So the question to ask yourself in each new relationship, to prevent falling too fast is- do I really like him or do I just like how much he likes me???