It’s taken me so long to get around to this post simply because my whole thought process cycled around once again and muddled the clarity of understanding I was building here.  I think I’ve got it now.

In the area of love, most of us are petrified of honesty.  I’ve been listening to a wonderful podcast lately titled Guys We Fu**ed in which the hosts refer to this phenomena, a time period at the beginning of any romantic relationship, as ‘the stubborn phase’.  It’s that phase where both parties are completely committed to their attraction to the other person but refuse to speak it aloud.  Rather, both people kind of dance around it until one person caves and says the words.  The funny thing about this phenomena is that in most cases the whole phase is silly–because, really, once it’s all out there in the open both people win.  It’s a useless war of common interests.

The issue, of course, and whole driving force behind this phase of most romantic relationships is that sometimes it doesn’t work out.  Sometimes, the whole situation goes awry due to an incongruence of intention.

I’ve written about love, I’ve discussed honesty, and the thing about both of these subjects is that in all situations with less than satisfactory results we are left perplexed.  What’s missing?  What are we doing wrong?

This is where instinct becomes important.  Think of any past situation of love that didn’t work out, and I guarantee that you can identify signs or cues that warned you in advance of the impending doom.  Yes, hindsight is 20/20.  You may have noticed these cues and even ruminated upon them extensively only to end up convincing yourself otherwise and charging forward with soothing thoughts in mind.  Instinct was that little tingle that stopped you in your tracks.  Instinct is what created that worry in your mind that perhaps your feelings aren’t reciprocated.

I blame romcoms, fairy tales, and media for the unrealistic assumptions created in the face of instinct.  Let me just refer to the movie and book He’s Just Not That Into You, here, when I say:  all of those sources have convinced us that we are the exception.  And so instinct, this ability that has been developed within us and every other animal-like creature on Earth over many millennia is overridden.  Isn’t that funny?  We’ve come this far in the development of humankind only to override one of the most important traits we’ve evolved to have–with romcoms.

My most recent conflict concerning an ignorance of instinct occurred recently with the very same individual I’ve referred to in the previous love and honesty posts.  It occurred when we finally got around to discussing ‘us’ at which time he stated, “I don’t think a relationship would work with us.  Do you really want to be with me?”  What did my instinct say?  “Nope.”  What did I do?  I poured out all of my feelings in an attempt to be honest finally coming around to the conclusion that, ‘I guess the answer to that is yes, but that hasn’t been my intention throughout our most recent contact with one another.’  And that was all true–I certainly had entertained the idea of starting a relationship somewhere down the line, but that was very much something I was willing to deal with as it came along and not something I immediately wanted.  Mostly I just wanted his attention, high regard, and intimacy without all the pressures of a relationship.

So, while I did say that (in my own roundabout way), that wasn’t what he took from my response.  What he took from my response was, “YES LET’S GET MARRIED AND BE TOGETHER FOR ALL ETERNITY”, as, I’ve found most guys assume.  The thing is, at this moment in time as I was formulating my response to the initial question, honesty and instinct were engaged in a battle–I want to be honest and tell him exactly how I feel, but also the answer instinct is giving at this very moment is no, but I also want him to know every facet of how I feel!  Had instinct prevailed I would have simply said “No” and then gone on to explain exactly what I wanted.  Maybe, then, things would have gone more my way.  But also, maybe not.  I’ll never know at this point.

What I do know is that in my quest for complete honesty I’ve made quite a mess.  So my resolution as I move forward (as long as I don’t lose focus) is this:

When it comes to relationships:

  • Ride or die for love.*
  • Ride or die for honesty.*
  • Ride or die for instinct–attend to your instinct and address it as succinctly as possible with the other party.

*Refer to instinct before acting.

Instinct is there to protect us.  So in the future when we get that little tingle, why not stop and question it?  And rather than allowing ourselves to create soothing thoughts and continuing on, why not address that instinct with the individual in question?  If the instinct is correct and the whole thing is doomed, it will be doomed in the end anyway.  And if you’re instinct was wrong and just being overly protective, then guess what, no need to continue fighting that war of common interest–you’ve just initiated a treaty.

Image found here.


One thought on “instinct

  1. Well said. I’m with you 100% on the idea that rom-coms have beat our instinct into submission. Fortunately, there’s at least one other option: when you are rendered blind, friends and family can often see for you–you just have to be willing to listen.
    Something that I’m struggling to understand though is why initial honesty is so difficult. Why even do “the dance” at all? Why is it that a confession of feelings often completely destroys a relationship? On a rational level, I think that the person who does the rejecting should feel flattered, and the person being rejected should be happy just maintaining a friendly relationship. On an instinctual level, I still cower in fear of revealing feelings and rejection. Oh, the human brain.

    Liked by 1 person

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