We’ve all felt butterflies when we think of someone, but how do we know if it’s because of chemistry or anxiety?
I’m a total romantic. I love stories that end with a passionate, long-awaited kiss, movies that feature speeches declaring someone’s undying love, music that whisks listeners into a cloud of excitement and fantasy, and that feeling of butterflies we get when the object of our affection meets our gaze in such a way.
In other words, I love love and all the warm fuzzies that come with it. I think most of us do, whether or not we know it. From the time we’re small, we see films that depict falling in love as life’s most incredible experience, read books of budding romances that leave us unable to put them down, and listen to lyrics that make us so hungry for the feeling of falling for someone. Even the least romantic of us likely idealizes love in some way.
More often than not, we’ve seen love painted as this undeniable chemistry, a jumble of confusing yet thrilling emotions, sweaty palms, and jitters — all in the name of unquestionable, intense attraction we’re supposed to feel for our special someone. And so when we’re looking for love in our real life, we seek out a person who can make us feel all these things.
Love is painted as this undeniable chemistry, a jumble of confusing yet thrilling emotions.
But what if we aren’t actually supposed to always feel dizzy with love, nervous with anticipation, or butterflies at the mention of someone’s name? What if these reactions have less to do with chemistry, and more to do with anxiety?
The Butterflies Are Normal in the Beginning, but They Should Fade (A Little)
There’s no time like the beginning of romantic relationships. At that point, everything about this person is new, captivating, and worth discovering. Plus, there are countless firsts taking place, whether it’s the first time holding hands, kissing, or anything else.
Navigating uncharted territory with a new person will always give us a serious case of the butterflies, but eventually, they’re supposed to subside for the most part as we become more used to the relationship, and as being together becomes second nature to us. While it’s certainly not romantic to think of the jitters we feel disappearing over time (and goes against our culture’s need for constant excitement), it means the relationship is becoming deeper and more dependable.
Otherwise, It Could Mean There’s Uncertainty in the Relationship
The early days of any romantic relationship are filled with uncertainties. Should we text him first, or wait? Is it weird to suggest a date, or would it impress him if we took charge? When is it acceptable to broach the “what are we” subject? Did he really mean it when he said he liked us? Overthinking things is understandable when we’re just barely getting to know someone, and even gives us a sort of romantic high — it can be thrilling to live in the unknown.
Don’t mistake a relationship’s insecure foundation with the thrill of falling in love.
But if these worries continue, well past the beginning stage, there’s a lot more than just chemistry going on — we’re mistaking the relationship’s insecure foundation with the thrill of falling in love. Constantly questioning our every move and his intentions means we feel insecure in the relationship and are attempting to cling to any semblance of control we can find. When we aren’t even sure if texting a guy is acceptable after going out a few times, it means anxiety, not chemistry, is ruling the relationship.
Healthy Relationships Should Feel Comfortable
Here’s an unromantic thought: Relationships aren’t supposed to enchant us all day, every day. Despite what the rom-coms would have us believe, the secret ingredients to a happy relationship aren’t endless passion, excitement, or a fluttery heart. Instead, a healthy relationship should feel comfortable — I’m talking the feeling we get taking our bra off after an exhausting day type of comfortable.
We should feel grounded in the relationship’s direction, secure in his commitment, and at peace in his presence.
Grounded relationships won’t leave us second-guessing our significant other’s true feelings, worried about seeming too interested, or overthinking trivial matters. We won’t feel nervous about labeling the relationship, or anxious that he’ll lose interest if we make any missteps. We should feel grounded in the relationship’s direction, secure in his commitment, and at peace in his presence. These things, — more than sweaty palms and butterflies — indicate true, lasting chemistry.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the romantic buzz we feel when we’re getting to know a guy, and even mistake feeling overly anxious for having deep feelings for him. But this will only lead us to investing in a relationship that isn’t stable enough to hold us both.
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