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The Heat & Co-Pilot: Forget About Danger, Think About Fun

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See if this sounds familiar:

  • You’re a lot to handle
  • You’ve got too many things going on in your life
  • You talk a lot
  • I’m feeling overwhelmed
  • Can you give me your full attention?
  • I can’t keep up with you
  • You’re blowing up my texts
  • I can handle you, oh wait, I need you to slow your roll now

If I repeat myself
Then I repeat myself
I am large
I contain multitudes
– Walt Whitman

I’m A Lot To Contain

It’s important for all of us to establish healthy boundaries in the early stages of a relationship or dating. For me, during the “hello date” I am observing how comfortable this person is with my expansive ideas, my flights of fantasy, and my general excitement. If my “excitement” is too much for them to handle, are they able to tell me what they need? Are they engaging? Are they sharing stories? When I pause do they show up and talk/share about themselves/

Getting clues about how a relationship is going to unfold begins with the initial text and outreach (on dating apps or in real life) Here are the things I usually watch out for:

12 signs that your person of interest is ready for a relationship:

  1. They express themselves easily in terms of emotions and needs
  2. They are able to vary the pace of the conversation
  3. They have ideas and directions of their own
  4. They own their responsibility to ask for what they want and stop what they don’t want
  5. Boundaries are easily established and agreed upon
  6. Even simple words can provide clues to how you will push and pull together
  7. Your conversations feel like a dance, both partners are leading and taking turns listening
  8. They show up and ask for more time with you
  9. They keep pushing into deeper conversations and are able to answer their own tough questions
  10. They clearly want to get to know you
  11. They are not easily impressed nor bored
  12. They smile at the thought of seeing you, and smile even bigger when they see you

making it through the storms in a relationship

You can tell the game is ON.

Just because “It’s ON” does not mean it’s good. Hot chemistry does not always make for clear decisions or wise choices as it relates to dating and seeking a lifetime partner. (See: The Hot Hot Heat Test) In fact, too much heat can spell disaster down the road. If you get inflamed in the early stages of a relationship, press the pause button for a second to check out a few of these ideas.

  • This person is reminding me of someone in my past – something about them seems so familiar
  • There is a past hurt that I’m feeling when I’m near this person – let’s explore this
  • The power and speed of the sexual energy is crazy good – it usually means crazy, sorry
  • I’m obsessing about this person, what’s wrong with that – well, quite a bit

What About the Heat?

I do believe that a certain amount of heat (a goodly amount) is required for a fully empowered relationship. We want the heat. The heat will keep us warm and connected when other parts of the relationship are frustrating or challenging. The heat is what bonds us, attaches us in a strong and secure way, to our partner. But too much heat, that’s a different issue.

When the heat overwhelms either one of you, in the early stages, it’s a good idea to check out what’s going on. In my case, I was getting revved up by someone, and at the same time having the “oh, fuck, I’m in trouble with this one,” feeling. I was not sure what the mix-up was in my brain or heart, but it was clear that anxiety was getting mixed in with the excitement. What did I have to be anxious about?

She was quite beautiful. (Okay, I’d had a few bad experiences with gorgeous women. But that was in my 20’s!)

She lit up my chemical attraction network with a white-hot burn. There was nothing slow and easy about my revving motor.

Her smile and joy, radiated, and merged with my joy, magnified my joy, joined and entwined with my joy. What, were we going to explode with joy? Is there such thing as TOO MUCH JOY?

Dialing Back the Positive Energy Can Be a Good Thing

Even joy can be exhausting. Love can be exhausting. Moving towards someone, and trying to navigate the early stages of dating and relationship building, can be a lot to handle. If you’ve got a full, happy, and powerful life, it may simply feel like TOO MUCH.

But you can pause. The momentum can be controlled, adjusted, and if you can communicate with each other, the accelerator pedal can be shared, rather than pushed by only one of the partners. If one if you is HOT, it might be a good time to give the reigns over to the less-hyped partner. If one of you is blazing off into space and it is frightening for the other person, you have two choices:

  1. Let them blast off without you – you now exit the relationship.
  2. Realign and reconnect at a more reasonable speed – you co-pilot the rocket ship.

If you can navigate the heat and redirect the FIRE and WATER in your relationship, you have a good shot at building a healthy relationship. Both partners must communicate when there is an imbalance or disconnect. Both partners are responsible for managing their own heat, their own levels of desire, and their own boundaries.

The heat is not to be feared. The heat must be harnessed. Rockets burn hot. To reach escape velocity, a lot of heat and energy is required. Don’t shut down the engines unless the burn is triggering you. If you are afraid or shutting down, it’s okay to call for a break. But, the more creative and positive move is to negotiate and co-navigate your differing levels of energy, desire, and connection. This skill will serve you well in the journey ahead.

dating advice for women

Forget About the Danger, Think About the Fun

Fire is important for a relationship to achieve orbit. The balance to fire is water (calm, soothing energy). Both elements are essential for interstellar love. And that’s what we’re after here: love that reaches for the stars and maps a partnership to get there. Alignment with our hearts and minds is only useful if there is heat to fuel your adventures together. Let’s keep the fires burning, while jointly navigating the star maps. Our destination might be unknown, but our partnership gets more solid and joyful with each passing day we spend together.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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