We are back with Pooks, the writer for our Love and Reltionships series. Hope you enjoy. XoCandace
There’s a lot of talk about guts on the Yoga by Candace blog. Guts and probiotics and guts and sauerkraut and guts and all sorts of other things that are very important.
I’M NOT KIDDING PEOPLE THEY ARE REALLY IMPORTANT YOU NEED TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY GUT MICROBIOME BUT THAT’S A RANT FOR ANOTHER TIME I’M SORRY BUT I CAN’T HELP IT I WORKED IN ANTIBACTERIALS FOR YEARS AND THIS IS SOME REAL SHIT.
JOKE'S ON YOU I'M NOT SORRY AT ALL.
So anyways, your gut. It’s kind of a thing, and I want to jump on the bandwagon. So today’s post is going to focus on your gut - particularly, trusting it.
We’ve all been there before, unless you’re some sort of absolute FREAK that gets this love shit right the first time. You meet someone, you’re having a good time, and slowly (or maybe not so slowly), something starts to feel off. You get that… ya know. That pit in your stomach. That tightness in your chest. That little voice inside that says “I don’t know about this one….” Or maybe it says “RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION AS FAST AS YOU CAN!” No matter how it happens for you, it’s a warning sign. Sometimes we don’t give that little voice or those feelings in our body enough credit. That voice, those feelings, or however it manifests itself in each of us - it’s our gut. And it knows.
It was that feeling of confusion when my ex-husband proposed to me, put a big ole rang on my finger, and I didn’t feel excited. Why am I not excited? Shouldn’t I be excited? He was controlling and manipulative, and MY GUT KNEW.
It was that crippling anxiety I got after my boyfriend of 2 years hugged me for a really long time before leaving for work one day last fall. He broke up with me the next day, and MY GUT KNEW.
It was that feeling a good friend of mine got one Saturday night when her gut was telling her "look in his phone!" and low and behold, her boyfriend of almost 5 years was exchanging sexually explicit text messages (and apparently bodily fluids) with someone else. HER GUT KNEW.
Risk is an inherent part love, and dating in general. But the waters can get muddy quickly, especially with online dating. First of all, with online dating you're using very little information to make a snap judgement about whether or not you want to explore a more-than-friendly connection with someone. You and Mr. Hinge's neighbor's acupuncturist's mailman once-removed have a mutual friend on Facebook? Mr. Bumble likes Justin Bieber and cheese, and so do you? Mr. Tinder doesn't write jack on his profile but he has has nice abs and clearly enjoys casual boating and vodka sodas? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?! Not to mention, you connect and then meet up with someone for the sole purpose of getting to know if they make a good romantic match for you, or not. Things can move fast, often without the pretenses of building a true friendship and really getting to know someone. It's possible you may find yourself attached to this new person before you have enough information about them for your gut to tell you green means "go!", or red means "GO NOW."
Exhibit A - take me and the guy I wrote about in my last post. We had an awesome first, second and even third date – great conversation, tons of fun, and mutual attraction. Somewhere along the line as I learned more about him, his values, and his lifestyle, something inside me was like NOPE NOPE NOPE. But by the time my gut started nudging me to abort mission, we were already spending a lot of time together and, ya know, getting attached. It felt complicated. He had amazing hair and a cute dog. These felt like compelling reasons to stick around a little longer and see what he was all about, so I decided to do some due diligence hoping that it might refute my instincts. I reached out to one of my girlfriends who happened to know a friend of his and the feedback was NOT good.
Despite this additional information that further supported what my gut was telling me, I forged ahead with him anyway (see above re: amazing hair and cute dog)... and look where it got me (#notblonde). But my gut was always there, even before I reached out to my friend for her insight. Telling me to protect myself. Telling me that ultimately he was not the person for me. And I ignored it because I don’t always do what’s best for me, especially when the feelz are involved - it’s something I’m working on. I should have listened. My gut knew.
GOOD LAWD, why do I not internalize these warning signals and then act on them accordingly? (Side note: please tell me I'm not the only one that does this!). Why, when my gut says “THIS IS A TURRIBLE IDEA,” do I override this important information and stay the course?
This is something I have reflected on at length, and discussed with many of my trusted confidants. As a resource, a book was recommended to me called The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence. Yeah. It’s a pretty intense book, especially with that tagline, which may seem to be overkill for the purposes of this post, but hear me out - it’s not. There’s a fine line between fear and gut feelings. Somewhere on the pathway between being completely relaxed and being consumed by terror, there’s a gray zone where your gut kicks in and it has THINGS TO SAY.
What exactly IS that gut feeling anyway? Some call it intuition, or instinct. Like I said earlier in this post, your gut feeling may manifest itself as a ”little voice,” but there’s there’s a variety of ways one can experience signalling from your gut, and sometimes it’s something you can feel in your body. It’s as if something has transcended your intellectual mind and it’s ability to evaluate risk, and physically your body is saying "DO. NOT. PROCEED. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200." Gavin de Becker, the author of The Gift of Fear, names the things you may experience if your intuition is trying to warn you about something, roughly listed in order of increasing urgency:
- Nagging feelings
- Persistent thoughts
- Humor (especially dark humor)
Of course, with dating and relationships, it’s unlikely your gut will send you a warning signal without the message getting obscured by feelings of attachment, attraction, affection, lust, or any number of other things. You may be sitting there asking yourself, “but what if my intuition is wrong?” Here’s the thing: when it comes to your safety, emotional or physical, your intuition always acts in your best interest. When it kicks in, it’s because something CAUSED it to. So instead of trying to override your feelings of alarm by rationalizing the reasons why your boyfriend ISN’T cheating, or why going over this guy’s house IS a good idea, try instead to slow down and identify what is setting your gut off. It will be hard, especially when you have an established connection and attachment to the person in question, but it’s an exercise worth pursuing - ESPECIALLY because your gut is always learning. Maybe you’re unable to identify anything that triggered your gut - cool! You’ve lost nothing, and your gut has sharpened it’s toolkit and might not shoot off a warning flare next time you encounter an analogous situation. Or maybe, just maybe, you are able to identify a risk - and avoid it, and the pain that often comes with.
If you’re like me and your gut’s feeling off but you can’t quite put a finger on why, you might wish you had a little real world confirmation as to whether your intuition is on the right track. If so, I have a treat for you. It’s an amazing (and affordable!) service calls Aste that helps take some of the risk out of dating, online or otherwise. Julie Nashawaty, an absolute fireball and complete badass, started Aste after she was planning to meet up with a guy she met online. For whatever reason, her gut was telling her to do her research before they met, and thank Zeus she did - homeboy had ROBBED. A. BANK.
And so, Aste was born. Say you meet a someone in a bar and hit it off, exchange numbers and y’all plan a date for next week, but before you meet up you want some peace of mind that this person is legit - this is where Aste comes in. Hit up Julie Nashawaty from Aste and within 24 hours she will provide you with a full digital report on your person. From marriage records, to mug shots, social media slander and everything in between - all you need is a first name and phone number, and Julie’s got your back.
Whether you ask your girlfriend about a guy you’ve started dating like I did, or you contact Julie to do some sleuthing on your behalf, you don’t NEED to wait to take action if your gut is telling you something is off. In short, your gut gives you LOTS of important information, and I’m here to advocate that you LISTEN. TO. IT.
Hit me up in the comments or ping me directly - I want to hear about what your gut has been telling you! Did you listen? What was the outcome?
Until next time, YBCers.