It’s an old story.
Realize you might like them.
Freak out and start thinking of all the ways everything between you will go horribly wrong.
Instead of, “Hey, this is nice. How lovely,” the heart screams, “Let’s think about how awful it will feel if this ends.”
And then the heart starts pointing out all the reasons there isn’t any hope things might continue. You haven’t heard from the person in a few minutes/for a few hours/that morning/a day/whatever. Clearly, that means they aren’t into you. Or they are xyz and you’re not, so obviously, things won’t work out. And so on.
The brain tries to tell you otherwise.
You try to sit back, to breathe, to let the brain have some control.
The brain reminds you that every little and big thing this person has done has indicated they’re feeling everything you are. They like you. They’re into you. They’re a little nervous around you and really want you to like them. They want to see you again.
And then you remember what you told yourself you were going to do in the future when brain and heart battled in this way.
You would check in and see what was happening on a deeper emotional level, outside the anxiety and the desperate need for analysis and answers and reassurance.
The gut always knows what’s going on. The mistakes of the past have arisen because the gut was ignored while the heart and brain each struggled for dominance.
What the gut says at this moment is this:
This person likes you and you like them. You’re excited about them, as is appropriate when someone seems as wonderful as they do.
You have some nervousness because it’s clear to you this is a person you could have Big Romantic Feelings for someday. No, you might as well be honest with yourself. You already have Big Romantic Feelings for this person.
And the last few times you had Big Romantic Feelings it led to disaster, heartbreak, emotional trauma. It’s scary to have Big Romantic Feelings again. Beyond scary. It’s terrifying.
But it’s also exciting.
It’s exciting to recognize how far you’ve come since the last time you felt these feelings. It’s exciting to recognize your new and improved ability to enjoy being your authentic self, to be more self-aware, to openly state desires and boundaries.
It’s exciting to watch yourself watching the situation and your knowledge of the other person unfold.
It’s exciting to understand you are doing all the things you promised yourself you would if you ever felt Big Romantic Feelings again. You’re learning who this person is, how they respond to different situations and stimuli, paying attention to the evolving dynamic between you as you discover more and more about them.
And it’s exciting that with every new thing you’re learning your affection for the person is increasing.
You recognize, though, that all this means is you would like to continue learning more, to continue seeing this person. This is the extent of any decisions that need to be made at this juncture.
Once you’ve sat back and done your gut check, you recognize your ability to set aside the scary future fantasies.
You’re different than you once were. The relationship with the Narcissist and the subsequent years of therapy and intense healing have allowed a new version of you to emerge.
You don’t need to fear you will repeat the mistakes of the past. It’s okay. You can let go.
You might be falling in love again, despite how scary and ridiculous and impossible the idea seems. It’s true. That’s possibly a thing that’s happening right now. It could be what these Big Romantic Feelings develop into someday.
But there’s no way you can know anything in the present moment outside what you feel in the present moment. Whatever will unfold, will unfold.
And that’s okay, too.
For now, enjoy it. You’ve met someone you like and it’s exciting. Allow yourself to be excited, to feel all these lovely feelings without the simultaneous anxiety about someday feeling their opposite. Feel the good and experience it without fear.
You can do this. I believe in you.