In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about why intensity in the early stages of dating makes us feel so trusting and knowledgeable. Why is it that we think we know someone so well or behave as if they’ve already earned our trust? I stumbled across the reason while listening to Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry’s audiobook of What Happened to You?

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5 key topics in this episode

  • I advise people who are in a painful or frustrating dating cycle or who keep waking up knee-deep in unavailable or shady relationship to slow it down, right down, in those early stages of the relationship. This is so they can make more mindful and grounded choices that gradually highlight and break down their patterns.
  • In olden times, so pre-internet, if someone called you eight times in one day after meeting them in a bar, it would flag. You’d probably think they were a stalker, or you’d certainly register that there was something quite intense about them that didn’t match the context.
  • Our brain tricks us into believing we know them better than we do because, well, it doesn’t tell time. If we interact with someone, for instance, eight times in one day, we’ll extend trust as if we’d met them on eight separate occasions over a longer period.
  • We mistake intensity for intimacy, emotional availability, compatibility, positive chemistry and a green light to go ahead. This sets the stage for disappointment, dating and then relationship anxiety, feeling hoodwinked, or chasing potential and the high from the beginning with an emotionally unavailable or shady person.
  • Our brain keeps taking shortcuts using unchecked biases. What we don’t acknowledge is that dating, especially when we keep coming up against the same pattern and problems or variations of it again and again, heavily relies on stereotypes, generalisations and guesswork. We’ve consciously and unconsciously stored information about who’s attractive and safe, and some of that stuff is not only inaccurate but harming us.

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