We all know what it’s like. You go on an EPIC first date that gives you all the butterflies and giddy, girly feelings.
You wake up the next day thinking about it. Replaying the lovely banter in your head. Going all ’emoji love heart eyes’ when you think about his cute dimples. Your heart does that silly skip-a-beat thing when his text pings.
You get a little ridiculous and start picturing him meeting your friends … then family … then you start thinking about the wedding, and what your kids would look like.
Why do we always revert to our teenage selves when we catch the feels?!
More often then not, within a week or so you’re getting anxiety because he’s not texting back fast enough. Or you’re telling him silly soppy things and planning dates much too far into the future.
Now my question here is, have you caught the ‘feels’ or are you getting giddy because of a lovely fairytale life you’ve created in your head.
Sure he’s got a lovely smile and made you LOL that one time, but do you really know if you have enough in common within a week to start daydreaming about your life together. Heck, you haven’t even seen him grumpy after losing a soccer match yet. Let alone seen him farting and playing Xbox in his boxer shorts. The bloke’s still on his best behaviour.
I say this because it’s a path I’ve often walked down.
There is good news for those of us who often experience those lovey dovey feelings with a side of anxiety. There’s a jolly good way to fix it, and I talk from experience.
Now grab yourself a notepad and pen (OK Grandma), because you are going to write this down. The way to stop yourself from falling too fast for a bloke is to date multiple people.
Now put that ‘mock shocked’ face away, I don’t mean “sleep” with multiple people, I’m simply saying, why not keep your toe in the pond for a little while longer before you go deactivating your Bumble account because of one good date.
Still think I’m slightly bonkers (and perhaps a bit of a huss)? Well, science backs me up! Studies have shown that your dopamine levels go insanely high when you first fall for someone, even after only one date.
Yep, according to a Harvard study, dopamine is a chemical in the brain’s reward pathway – it’s released when we do things that feel good (like getting attention from a bloke with eyes as blue as the ocean). These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia.
Like someone who takes drugs, the more ‘high’ you get on dopamine, the more you want it. It makes you focus your attention on the pleasure of their presence, but here’s the bad news: that ol’ dopamine high can create such positive illusions that you literally become blinded to your new crush’s negative characteristics.
So you know what you’ve got to do, you gotta slow it right down. Throw in a few distractions like a date with someone else, to let that ol’ brain of yours catch up.
Before you jump right in and go all gaga for someone you might be sick of in a month, or vice versa, may I suggest you keep your options open for a little while?
The distraction method is aimed at calming that anxiety you get when you know you’re in deep. You stop looking at the phone so much, relying on one person to provide you happiness. Lord, the poor bloke will never live up to the mighty high standards you’ve set in your head.
Not so long ago I was completely infatuated with a lanky English lad. He was cocky-verging-on-rude, loud, charming, and would take me to parties and ignore me most of the night. For some reason this guy set my dopamine levels sky high. Thankfully I knew that deep down, he was not a good match for me. So I kept dating.
By the time he had found another set of boobs to go silly over, I had thankfully found a lovely guy that was making my heart beat a tad smarter, and so the break-up blow that would normally have been crushing, actually made me just kinda go, “OK phew, that’s over.”
So maybe The Bachelor is actually onto something? (Yes I can’t believe I’m actually saying that either). Maybe we should date multiple people to stop our heart going completely rogue and making bloody awful decisions. Something to ponder.
Jana Hocking is a radio producer and collector of kind-of-boyfriends. Continue the conversation @Janahocking
Originally published as ‘I always date multiple men at once’