“So what does your gut tell you to do?”
“It says, minimize collateral damage and get out now.”
Going with Your Gut
Jamie had been dating Jason for 5 months. They moved fast. The pace of their relationships was relentless — 3 dates a week, entire weekends together, texts through-out the day, almost nightly phone calls. It was out of character for both of them, but that was okay because it just felt right.
And then Jamie went on vacation without Jason to a country without cell phone service. And finally, Jamie and Jason had a moment to think.
“Sometimes, he says nasty things,” she told me at the poolside bar.
“About other people?”
“About me. And he doesn’t want to hang out with my friends. Just his friends or just us. My friends, ya know, like you, are more interesting than his friends. Actually, the last month has been pretty rough.”
The conversation went down a twisty-turny path, with Jamie bouncing between reasons why she loved him and reasons why he was probably really an asshole. She wanted advice and everyone on the trip with us kept telling her the same thing: always go with your gut.
But Jamie was having a hard time accepting “going with your gut” as an acceptable way to behave, particularly because her gut said: RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY FAST!
How could she just bail on Jason when things had been so good? When they had said they loved each other? When she had introduced him to everyone she cared about as her boyfriend?
The first few months had been dazzling, how could everything come unraveled in a week?
I had another friend like Jamie. Except his relationship had been at the 3 year mark when his gut had just started telling him to leave. And everyone kept telling him the same thing: go with your gut.
“Usually by now,” my own boyfriend told me on our fourth date, “I’ve figured out why things aren’t going to work with a girl. I can see the reason why we’ll break up. I haven’t found that with you.”
It’s true that usually, within the first few dates your gut sees through the haze of attraction and figures out that something isn’t meant to be. You cash in your chips and stop answering phone calls.
But once you’ve put in a significant time commitment, you start to mistrust your gut. If it let this guy slip through the cracks between date-3 and month-10, why should I trust it now?
When we got back from our girls-only vacation, I asked my mother what she thought, knowing it would be advice I might one day need myself. This was here assessment:
“Deep down, you always know what’s right for you. So if Jamie thinks he’s the wrong guy for her now, then he probably is. But she was happy with Jason, and she owes herself a chance to be happy with Jason again. Not to go back to the way things were when they first met, but to go forward as a more balanced couple. She’ll see if the things she has problems with are character flaws he can’t change, or if they’re things he can fix. Ultimately, she’ll know as soon as she sees him again. If when she looks at him, she thinks, I missed him, I love him, then she’ll make it work.”
“So what you’re saying is, she should go with her gut?”
“Yea, I guess that’s exactly what I’m saying.”