Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When to Love with your Mind vs. Heart

Our minds and hearts have distinct voices of their own when pursuing love. Instant chemistry, comfort, empathy, romance -- these “feely” qualities, I’ll classify as “heart.” The checklist things we may look for in a partner, like physical appearance, career, track record or specific personality traits -- I’ll label as “mind.”

When you meet the right person, the heart and mind seem to be more or less in agreement. You’re not too internally conflicted, so things feel ‘right.’ But that’s not to say there won’t be circumstances that throw things out of sync, and sometimes you choose to make the best of situations by making a conscious effort.

There are two ‘commands’ you’ll find applicable to every move you make in a relationship: loving with your mind vs. loving with your heart. In a perfect world, the two would be simultaneous always. But like in the scenarios listed below, you’ll have to favour one over the other for best results:

Love with your heart:

1. On the third date
Chances are you’ve already turned your hawk-mode on to full blast for the first and second dates (and s/he passed). The second date will be the best date if you just forget any skepticism and mindlessly enjoy each other’s company.

2. At social gatherings as a couple
Things can get weird when couples get together with other couples or prying singles or distant relatives. Dynamics change, especially if you’re not too deep into the relationship. In situations like these, switch off the thoughts. Just enjoy lightheartedly rather than calculating the awkwardness of the situation.

3. When making love
This can be hard especially if you’re not completely comfortable with each other yet, but this is the time you should let your heart lead. Just leave your brain at the door alongside stresses, insecurities and judgments.

Love with your mind:

1. When you have lingering feelings for someone else
As we grow older, our pasts get messier and hearts tugged in different directions. But the upside of this is that the mind adapts to become stronger. Whether it be an ex, a colleague, a childhood friend, a new friend in your life, you may unknowingly have caught feelings. This is when you should strictly focus your thoughts on what matters. Leave feelings on the back burner.

2. After an argument (if thinking of longevity)
Somewhere post-honeymoon stage and before complete peace, things become difficult and exhausting and we couples fight. Of course during a fight, it’s hard to love with either your mind or heart. But after cooling down, think of the reasons what has brought you this far with this person and what you may envision for the future. This is a time where it’s okay to detach yourself from feelings to think objectively, and you’ll feel much better about your decision to forgive and return to the way things were after thinking it through carefully.

3. When making love past the honeymoon phase
This contradicts a point in the previous section, but only because the context will eventually change. When things are fresh and heated, your heart will drive you. But when those fired-up feelings are no longer there, you’ll need to improve the situation by putting in some thought. If you’re at this stage, love with your mind to think it out: how can things spice up? Let your conscious choices control the quality of time being spent.