These butterflies are making me want to puke rainbows.
August 4, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

This is crazy. Help me sort out these butterfly-feelings.

I feel so ridiculous posting this. I will try to write this as objectively as possible. So, I met this guy on a dating website that rhymes with "pee marmony". We met up for casual drinks for an hour or two and conversation was so ridiculously easy. We walked around a little then he looks at me funny, pauses and says that we should do this again sometime and I said yes. Then hugged goodbye. I started walking up the sidewalk and could feel my stomach in my throat.

He calls later that week and we end up getting together a few days later and have a drink, then have a nice dinner, then have another drink, then kiss. It was pretty awesome.

The next day I'm out with friends and he manages to meet up with us (with one of his friends too). He tells me I'm pretty and kisses me. We all hang out and my friends head home. Me and him and his friend move along to another bar, have a great time dancing and such. Somewhere along the way, his friend leaves. Him and I head back to his place and after chit-chatting we have incredible sex (albeit a little drunk). The next morning I wake up in his arms and we just hang out all day until 4pm, more sex, make breakfast together, he tells me I'm beautiful, I tell him I'm really glad I met him, more sex, talk all morning long, shower, etc. There was was one point during sex where we were just staring into each other's eyes. Then there was another point where he's looking into my eyes and describing them to me...ok, I'll stop now because I want to punch myself in the face.

Anyway, he called last night and wants to get together again for dinner on Sunday (read: worknight). I said yes.

WHY do I feel like I'm going to puke?! I definitely have the butterflies. I'm worried that I'm going to get burned. How do I know (other than asking him) this wasn't just a hook up? What the hell do I do to manage this feeling so that I can at least try to think straight and just manage my day to day life right now? He won't get out of my head!!

I'm 31. He's 34. Both of us have all logistical life-lights green (both own houses, both have well-paying jobs, both have awesome friends/family, both have interests that are unique to our ourselves, but have a lot of shared interests).

So, I was reading on here that when you "just know" you "just know" and I fully used to believe that this was malarky. However, when you "just know" how do you not lose your shit, not scare the other person off, and not get all worried about getting your heart broken. Again.??? How do I know if he's on the same page (other than time) and how do I not blurt out something stupid? This is a tough one.

Also, any anecdotes/stories are also great appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Remember, much of this is actual, physical chemistry in your body. I read somewhere that romantic love triggers the same neuroreceptors in the brain as cocaine addiction. I don't know if that is true, but there is a definite chemical reaction. More, I imagine, geared towards breeding than actual love.

You can also do some research on limerance, and oxytocin .

It's not a bad thing, but do beware that this feeling can make you try to change yourself to be what the other wants. Try to stay yourself as much as possible. When you are already worried if it is "just a hookup" or not, you might want to step back and let the hormones and chemicals subside a bit.
posted by Vaike at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

What you are feeling is the most normal thing in the world. Enjoy.

Oh, and you'll know it's not just a hook-up because it will continue as it's going.

It's ok to be worried about getting your heart broken and about blowing it. Just keep spending time with him. If you need to freak out, call a friend.
posted by lunasol at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

how do I not blurt out something stupid?

I thought the nice thing about being with someone great is that it doesn't really matter if you blurt out something stupid. This seems good.

Worst-case scenario, you get your heart broken. What's the alternative?
posted by Greg Nog at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2011 [14 favorites]

You are so lucky! From what you have written he sounds like a keeper, and you sound scared that it is 'too good to be true'. He sounds wonderful, and if it has gotten to the point of meeting eachothers friends then it seems to be going in a positive and honest direction. I don't know how to stop the butterflys, and I doubt you would want to anyways. Its part of teh fun of falling in love.
Best of luck to you!
posted by Frosted Cactus at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The best advice I can give is to breathe and go on more dates. Dates meaning out-in-public, doing stuff, talking, hanging out together as well as with other friends. Sex is great, but if you start having more sex-dates than just-being-together dates, the whooshy hormoney lovelove feelings might cover up your ability to get to know this guy and see how compatible you really are. Have fun!
posted by Zephyrial at 10:57 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

You feel like you're going to throw up because you're a human being. That's how everybody feels when they like somebody, and they don't want to mess it up. It's probably not just a hookup because he wants to see you again. But don't start seeing your entire future with him right now. You just started seeing him, right? Neither of you can know if this is going to last, but that's what dates are for: to find out. But more than that: to enjoy yourself. And if you both enjoy yourselves, then hooray! It's on its way to lasting! So try not to have a nervous breakdown and overanalyze everything he says or does or doesn't say or doesn't do. He probably feels like throwing up, too, right now.
posted by katillathehun at 10:57 AM on August 4, 2011

You're in the spin cycle of hormones. It's normal in this condition to want to analyze/understand/control/grab something that isn't spinning, but you really can't. You can't know if this is it, if he is the one, if he thinks you're the one, etc. All you can really know is that you're in the spin cycle.

My advice is, feel all those feelings without trying to sort out their meaning (i.e. "I felt this while looking in his eyes, is this the 'just knowing'? Should I ask him to marry me?") or talking them over with him ("This is so great, do you think we should get married?") For right now, just try to enjoy puking rainbows.
posted by hungrytiger at 10:58 AM on August 4, 2011

You're thinking it's too good to be true.

And it might be. You definitely should do what you can to control your emotions and not get carried away and overwhelm this guy. But it's cool. You don't have to profess love immediately.

I had a similar situation recently. I became best friends with a guy and felt attracted and strongly drawn to him, but for various reasons resisted these feelings and denied them to myself for about four months because I was afraid of them.

At the four month point, I could no longer deny to myself that I was in love with him, but I continued to keep it to myself, hoping it would go away.

A couple months after that realization, something happened that made me feel I had to confess my feelings to him, and I was sure he wouldn't return them and we'd have to take a friendship break while I got over it.

But all the while, I'd been building intimacy with him, and showing him I cared by practicing The Five A's from the book How to Be an Adult in Relationships.

When I told him how I felt, he responded in kind and our relationship continues to deepen. It's not exactly the same as your situation since we began as friends and that is still the cornerstone of our relationship, but the point is that for me, there was a long time when I just felt it wouldn't be appropriate to declare my feelings, and then a point six months in where I just had to.

Overall, my advice is to grab ahold of that book and show him your love as it advises to, well before you declare it, and resist declaring it for as long as you can stand to. If you're all twitterpated, treat it like any other anxiety with deep breathing, calming self-talk, exercise, and supplements. And know that sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised by not being rejected.
posted by sucky_poppet at 10:58 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Assigned watching: Brene Brown on Vulnerability.

You feel nauseated because falling in love is such an exquisitely vulnerable experience. Part of the process is accepting that vulnerability.

Don't worry too much about scaring him off. Either he feels similarly about you, in which case you're fine, or he doesn't, in which case, moving a relationship along with that level of asymmetry of interest would just be slow torture.

You don't have to tell him OMG I want to marry you and have your babies and adopt all the puppies and we'll live on a ranch together overlooking the ocean forevermore, but communicating your excitement and your interest in continuing to learn about each other is a GOOD thing.

There are certainly people who enjoy the whoooosh of the first few dates who don't want an emotionally intimate long term relationship -- there are even such people who might treat you like a crazypants for wanting that -- but you aren't going to turn a person looking for a long term relationship into a person who thinks you're a crazypants through enthusiasm. Nor are you going to turn someone NOT looking for a long term relationship into one by keeping your excitement under lock and key.
posted by endless_forms at 10:59 AM on August 4, 2011 [13 favorites]

You know, I used to say I won't fall in love again just because of this. You can't control it when you get infatuated-- it's ass over teakettle, trembling fingers, sense out the window. It's really hard not to do stupid things, and eventually you do them anyway. Even when the relationship is stable and not a rollercoaster, it's overwhelming at first. If you're a person who's veeerry self-disciplined, it can be very difficult just to keep your head above water and do all the normal things in normal ways, not spend the whole day mooning, not make an ass out of yourself at every opportunity, etc. Panic! Feeling fifteen! Feeling like you'll say something stupid, then not caring! Being so happy it hurts! It's hard. Well, most people don't actually puke, so there's that.

I think thinking you could/should 'step back' makes it worse. Most individuals I know of couldn't step back even if they desperately wanted to, and if they tried very hard, they'd fall harder. Anyway, most hook-ups don't involve guys making up paeans to your eyes, so it's safe to say he's also off-kilter here. So don't worry... and this point in the game, stupid things make you both swoon.

Try to take deep breaths, remember to go to work, and enjoy those sappy love songs, I say. Either you enjoy it or you blink and it's eating your face, you know.
posted by reenka at 11:01 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Er, if you're not a person who's very self-disciplined, I mean.
posted by reenka at 11:04 AM on August 4, 2011

Anyway, he called last night and wants to get together again for dinner on Sunday (read: worknight). I said yes.

. . . How do I know (other than asking him) this wasn't just a hook up?

The fact that he asked to hang out again.

Acknowledge the butterflies, then let them go, then they will come up in 30 more seconds. Acknowledge the butterflies, then let them go, then they will come up in 30 more seconds.

Lather, rinse, repeat. There is no stopping the feelings, so let them hit you and let them go.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:20 AM on August 4, 2011

So, I was reading on here that when you "just know" you "just know" and I fully used to believe that this was malarky. However, when you "just know" how do you not lose your shit, not scare the other person off, and not get all worried about getting your heart broken. Again.??? How do I know if he's on the same page (other than time) and how do I not blurt out something stupid? This is a tough one.
Love is powerful and good. It is irrational, as it must be. Sex feels nice and when it is emotionally intimate (as it should be, in such circumstances) it is also an incredibly powerful mind-altering behaviour, like drinking heavily.

'Knowing' has nothing to do with anything. You feel something that comes well before consciousness and logic. That's good! That's very healthy and you should just let it be, while also going about the rest of your life in an orderly way, as usual.

Do you meditate? Exercise? Go for long walks listening to music? Sit in the park? Read books? Work (especially manual labour)? Do those things! They will shave the egotistical edges off your worries and help you attain some measure of perspective. After all, he's just another person, and you are just having a relationship. It is only 'scary' because you have ideas about 'relationships' in the abstract, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality you're experiencing, and the mismatch causes anxiety.

It doesn't matter whether it goes well or 'badly,' really. If you commit to the experience and just enjoy one another, if you actually risk something (should I say 'for a change'?), you will learn, and will encourage him to do the same.

These are just feelings. You deal with them as you would any other feelings: by acknowledging them, letting them whoosh over you, and carrying on in a relaxed unself-conscious way with other matters. With life, of which this is only a part.

In other words, get over your self and enjoy your life.
posted by waxbanks at 11:25 AM on August 4, 2011 [8 favorites]

There are much, much, much worse things than having a new romantic relationship simply not work out. There are worse things than a breakup.
posted by waxbanks at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

But there is nothing better than love that goes right. A simple expected-value calculation should do it.
posted by waxbanks at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Worst case scenario, you get your heart broken. Exactly!

Lose your attachment to avoiding the pain of heartbreak. You've been through it before and bounced back. Right?

See. Nothing to worry about. Enjoy!
posted by jbenben at 11:26 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

We met up for casual drinks for an hour or two and conversation was so ridiculously easy.
This is exactly what happened to me the first time I'd actually sat down and chatted with Mr. Adams. We'd known each other for years via a fan club we both belonged to, but lived in different states and only saw each other once or twice per year at gatherings, and then things were so hectic there was little time for drinks and conversation. So, anyway, we somehow ended up going out with a couple of other people from the club as a group for drinks after one of these conventions. It seemed like wherever the overall conversation went, Mr. Adams and I would have an "Ohmigawd, you, too??" moment, whether it be toys we had as kids or TV shows we used to watch or cliches our parents frequently admonished us with. I went back to my hotel room (alone) that night with my stomach in my throat - I'd felt such a connection and had that fluttery excitement combined with the worry of "did he feel the same thing?" Luckily he did, and we've now been married 17 years.

In our early days of dating, I must admit that sometimes I thought "he's too good to be true" - he always told me I was pretty or even beautiful (truth be told, I'm no oil painting) and he treated me like a queen. Maybe he's just using me for sex, I'd mentally fret, or he's being nice to me because I'm director of the fan club and have connections to the band. For those first few months I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. As we spent more time together, though, doing things and going places with no sex involved and no mention of the band, I gradually relaxed and accepted the fact that he liked me, he really liked me! So your feelings are completely normal in my personal book, and I was just fortunate that my story had a happy ending. Yours may very well have a similar ending. If not, well, sadly sometimes heartbreak is a fact of life and whatever happens in the future you did have a lot of pleasure during this particular time, so there was something positive gained. Best of luck to you!
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:05 PM on August 4, 2011

Dude, you're in love! Enjoy it and don't overthink this.

Now here comes the tough love. You don't know this guy. Not. At. All. You're worried about getting your heart broken because you COULD get your heart broken here. You're worried about this just being a hookup because it COULD just be a hookup. You're worried you're going to get burned. I'm worried too because I feel like you're starting to build all these fantasies (he is The One, we will get married and have a million babies and be together forever) on a guy you don't know, on a situation that you know next to nothing about.

Accept that you have no idea at this point what is going to happen with him. Don't build up any expectations for yourself. Don't tell yourself you just know and he is The One. IMO, "you just know" is kind of BS -- that feeling is chemicals in your body and brain pushing you towards reproduction with this person, not a supernatural sign that it is your soulmate. Just enjoy this and get to know him and feel things out. Enjoy these hormones but don't let them make you jump to conclusions, any more than you'd let cocaine lead you to believe you can really fly out of a window or whatever.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:07 PM on August 4, 2011 [5 favorites]

These are crazy person hormones you have right now and you're pretty much going to be mentally whacked for a while. Sorry!

The bonus is that you get to have lots of sex. Hopefully you don't have any important tests to study for.

He might be a jerkface, and I'm sorry that's a possibility, but there's nothing you can really do about it either way.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I similarly want to punch you in the face but only because I'm so freakin' happy for you and possibly insanely jealous. What a wonderful, amazing feeling. Take some deep breaths. It will get better. It takes time to settle down off this high.
posted by Falwless at 12:30 PM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sounds to me like this is a great start to possibly a great relationship. As others have said, enjoy it. Whether it will lead to a long term relationship or one knows. For now I would say just continue to have fun and go along for the ride. As far as how you know if he's feeling the same as you? There's no way to know that. And it this point I think it's premature to have the "how do you feel about things" conversation. However a good indication to the level of interest from both a man or woman in a relationship is their behavior. He seems to be following up in a timely matter. Calling you to arrange future dates, etc. If he was just interested in getting laid he'd skip the dinners and maybe even not call you again. But it seems like he's enjoying all of this as well. So his behavior suggests that he's very interested in a relationship with you. The fact that both of you are nicely set up in terms of work, owning a house, etc. that makes things a lot easier. This way both of you can be sure that neither one is looking to become "dependent" on the other person. I'd give things at least 2 months before having any sort of "commitment, or feelings" type of conversation. Let things happen naturally. Try not to spook yourself based on the fact that it all seems to be going so well. Just enjoy and see where it takes you. You'll know when it's time to confirm your feelings. Good luck and congrats on finding a great person to spend your time with. As a side note...I met my wife under similar circumstances. Met through online dating, immediately connected, and things took off swiftly and steadily. We moved in together after 6 months of dating and were engaged after 9 months. Got married about 2 years after our original first date. So...great things can happen. I'd say we definitely moved quickly, but it felt natural. And so far I have no regrets. Hope that helps!
posted by ljs30 at 12:33 PM on August 4, 2011

You're over thinking this.

Enjoy it and good luck!
posted by PsuDab93 at 1:51 PM on August 4, 2011

If it can happen once, it can happen again. This should make you feel more confident, not less.
posted by Nixy at 2:03 PM on August 4, 2011

Heh. I felt like this once... literally weak in the knees -- weak all over, actually, like the aftermath of a strong electrical shock... heart in my throat, head in the clouds, walking on air, wibbly wobbly, utterly distracted, stunned and dazed. My butterflies had butterflies.

We essentially had the date that never ended, and 21 years later we're still on that date. (Last night, in his cups, he was telling me how he still thinks about me all the time -- silly, sweet thing.) Compared to that feeling, all the crushes, attractions, infatuations and relationships I'd had before in my life could be more accurately termed "mild interest."

Go forth and be happy!

PS: I had to reach an agreement with myself that, yes, there was the risk of being utterly crushed and devastated*, and that yes, I would face it and accept the risk.

* though I felt zero alarm/danger/doubt pings about him, and I do get those warnings.

posted by taz at 12:12 AM on August 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

This might not match your personalities, but when I went through this "cocaine addiction"-like dork phase I just kinda nervous-laughter-type acknowledged it with my partner, not full on confessional or anything but "uhh I like you, ack, I feel like a doofus 'cause you're rocking my world, don't mind my crazed eyes" type joking. Because you are really freaking high, physically. It's normal...and agonizingly exquisite. Yay to you!
posted by ifjuly at 8:23 AM on August 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

oh, you wanted anecdotes and taz's great comment reminds. my above response had to do with my husband; we celebrated 5 years this week. i cherish that insane time in the beginning and the depth of our affection and growth of our bonds equally. it can stay great! i was afraid too, i know it's fruitless to say don't be--but enjoy this time. it's one of the greatest times in life, at least i think so.
posted by ifjuly at 8:44 AM on August 5, 2011

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