This is different, you can feel it. This guy is unlike any man you have ever met, you could tell—just by the way he put his hand on the small of your back—that he feels the same way too. He's all you want to think about, all you want to talk about, and you do. But every so often you run into a friend who feels the need to pop your bubble, all it takes are a few little words "Remember, you just met this guy last week" or simply "simma down now." Nothing like a splash of cold water in the face.
But the fact of the matter is, even though it feels good to be on that emotional high in the early stages of romantic love, a little ice-cold rationality can keep you from getting ahead of yourself and better enable you to actually get to know the man you're dating.
Why Is It So Hard?
Keeping high-flying emotions from carrying you away from reality can be a struggle. In fact, talking yourself down from a romantic high is actually quite like trying to tackle an addiction when your brain is craving more. Research conducted by Helen E. Fisher, PhD, professor and author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, indicates that romantic infatuation (which is basically when you find yourself planning a weekend getaway after the first date) shares many of the same attributes as a cocaine high.
Fisher’s study applied brain-imaging technology to a group of love-struck volunteers looking at photos of their romantic partners, she discovered that the areas that became active were the same areas that correspond to drug addiction. "When I first started looking at the properties of infatuation, they had some of the same elements of a cocaine high: sleeplessness, loss of a sense of time, absolute focus on love to the detriment of all around you," Fisher explained to Psychology Today magazine. "Infatuation can overtake the rational parts of your brain."
Sure, it's tempting to think that to deny my feelings is to deny my true self. But to ignore reason is just as wrong as denying my heart. After all, isn’t our ability to reason just as essential to who we are as our emotional intelligence? It’s not as fun as fantasizing, but talking yourself down from your romantic high is worthwhile in the long run.
You Don’t Have to Be a Debbie Downer
Talking yourself down doesn’t mean you have to be a total downer. You don’t have to convince yourself that this relationship is bound to fail or that he is just another jerk; lying to yourself isn’t healthy for you nor your budding relationship. Sure a new romance can be something to be excited about, but that it's best if your excitement is proportionate to the facts at hand. So allow yourself to smile and enjoy the rush, acknowledge to yourself that your brain is prone to wander off the roads of reality, and then will yourself to hear the voice of reason.
It Can Be Done!
Talking ourselves down is challenging to be sure, but we use our reason to temper our emotions all the time. What about after we interview for a dream job? It’s easy to fantasize about working there, about what we are going to splurge on when we get our first paycheck—or more likely what bills we are going to pay off first. But, while we know they would be fools not to hire us on the spot, it's good to remind ourselves that I haven’t got the job yet or I still have 2 more interviews to go, in order to keep from getting carried away. Granted, trying to stave off your cocaine-like romantic addiction is hardly comparable to the impulse to fantasize about a job. But, like all things, practice makes perfect!