I rack my brain over this question often when I consider what compels us to let some people in and dismiss others in dating. Most recently, I’ve been pondering on it because I received a love letter from a long time friend who wants to take our relationship to the next level. I’ve had an inkling for years that he was interested, but I didn’t feel compelled to act on it, so I’ve kept our relationship strictly platonic. My mom often asks me why I won’t consider the possibility, and my response is always the same, “Mom, I’d know it in my gut if I liked him. If I don’t feel it, I’m not going to lead him on just to try it out.” The other day, she threw me a curve ball, “Well, you said ‘you knew it in your gut’ with the last one, and you didn’t end up marrying him, so maybe you just don’t know, Natalie. Did you ever consider that?”
I hadn’t. She had a good point.
So, I did one of the things I do very well. I started overanalyzing the situation in hopes of stumbling upon an answer for why I was never compelled to give it a shot. After mulling it over, it seems there are 3 reasons for initial connections (or disconnections) between two people.
First: It’s scientifically driven. It’s what we refer to as “good chemistry.”
Two people are attracted to each other on a cellular level. One person’s DNA matches up with another’s person’s DNA on some cellular level. It’s against our control. We often give into it because it feels natural and that feels good. And, when we engage in something that feels natural, we want to continue doing it. This initial physical attraction makes it infinitely easier to open up to someone in other ways. I think this is more the case for women than men, but still true on some basic level for both sexes.
Of course, you can have great mental chemistry and poor physical chemistry with someone, or you can have incredible physical chemistry with someone, but hope you never have to suffer through a real conversation with them. Ideally, our life mate ranks at least on a scale of 7 or higher for both types of chemistry. Using my situation as an example, I never felt initial physical chemistry, so I’ve never felt an uncontrollable need to explore anything further than friendship. This person even physically fits the mold of a guy I tend to be attracted to, but as far as I can see my DNA isn’t jumping to get close to his. Our mental chemistry lines up well, and that has kept us engaged over many dinners and lunches over the years.
Second: Woman’s instinct (gut instinct)
This is the response I keep giving to my mom, and I’d like to think it’s the answer, but I’m not totally convinced. If you buy into this option in your own life, then you are likely a self-assured person who believes in your own ability to know what’s best when it comes to matters of the heart. On the flipside, you could also be a hard headed, know-it-all who likes to control situations, so you don’t have to deal with getting your heart broken or your life turned upside unexpectedly. It could go either way. Truthfully, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’d like to think I have good gut instincts and that I trust myself enough to know when someone is going be a good fit for me. But, if I’m being honest, I’m a bit of a control freak too.
Opening up to someone who doesn’t initially fit into my vision of what my life mate looks like is scary. So, I’m sure I get caught up in using this “woman’s instinct” thing as a crutch to avoid potential relationships that could be scary because they fall out of my comfort zone.
And, this point leads me to our Third Option: Sabotage.
“Woman’s intuition” is a real thing. Generally speaking, women are more in tune with their sensitive, emotional side, and as a result they listen to the messages that come from their heart and their gut, and they use it to help them make big decisions and avoid big mistakes, sometimes. I don’t think it’s a foolproof option, and I don’t believe it always speaks the truth. In some cases, it seems women use this “gut instinct” line as an excuse to avoid scary situations and sabotage potential opportunities. This phrase can be used as a crutch, a way to keep interested suitors at a distance, or to quell your mom’s well meaning concerns about when you’ll ever settle down with the right guy.
Even after I write all of this, I still don’t know the answer, so I guess my mom was right. Maybe, I just don’t know.
All of the time spent mulling and pondering still haven’t made it clear to me. Perhaps, my yogi friends are right, and I should just mediate on it.
Maybe for once the answer doesn’t lie in the hows and whys. Maybe in matters of the heart, you take chances first and analyze later. Maybe you don’t analyze at all. Maybe these things all work out the way they are supposed to regardless of what we do. Perhaps it’s all fate? Everything is written in the stars. We are just the actors, and the play is already written. Gut instinct and chemistry and fear don’t have significant roles at all. They are just minor characters. Are you sick of my clichés yet?
Maybe the answer just lies in having faith in ourselves, in knowing that whatever decision we choose, it will be the right one.
Ahh, I think I might be getting somewhere with that one…
Founder of Bare Organic Mixers, Natalie is a 30 year old, single entrepreneur who is simultaneously building a brand, writing a book, and still trying to make quality time to date quality men. Her blog titled, “The Business & Love” will follow her dating adventures one cocktail at a time as she begins to put love first and business second.