Relationship Mistakes: Intoxicating Sex vs. Emotional Intelligence

Relationship Mistakes: Intoxicating Sex vs. Emotional Intelligence

In the early stages of establishing a relationship, it is easy to be optimistic and assume the best. Especially if we’re really “into” the other person. If the sexual chemistry is high, we feel compelled, encouraged, energized to move into intimate relations before we’ve had a chance to know much about the actual human we are falling for. Extrapolating from incomplete data, causes us to make assumptions that are not based on experience or fact. That chemistry you feel, that sexual excitement, that intoxicating glow, are not necessarily going to help you make rational decisions in the early days and weeks of a dating relationship.

Two Different Woman: Two Different Experiences

I have had two very different reactions to “dates” with women who I found extremely attractive, over the last year.

In one instance the sexual chemistry was not an immediate YES, but other parts of my attraction: intellectual, physical, social, compatibility appeared solid. In a new approach, I suggested to myself, the HOT chemistry was not immediate, but that might actually be a good thing. From this curious and calm perspective, I was getting a chance to know this woman without the overwhelming stimulus and hormones that come with having sex.

In the second instance, the fire burned white-hot before we even got together to “check-in” on the emerging desire to explore a relationship. As I expressed my desire to “go slow” in this second potential relationship, I immediately became aware that I was trying to convince myself, protect myself from previous (sex-focused) relationship failures. I told her about my patience, confidence, and willingness to let the process of knowing each other unfold at a relaxed pace as I walked her to her car. All good so far.

But something was different between these two women. An enormous energetic shift was happening, even as we were merely texting each other. I could feel the rise in her energy as well. I went to bed after our first day of “chatting” and had a hard time settling down. I was excited all over. My mind was imagining things I could not possibly predict. Fantasies of how this woman was my MATCH, the one I have not found in my previous four long-term relationships. There was an aspect of this date that ignited something core that the first woman had not.

Intoxicating Sex

Here is the rub: when the chemistry and sexual heat is quick and consuming, often that indicates some fundamental projection. When my blood is boiling I will overlook clues and red flags. When my sexual energy is inflamed my judgment and self-awareness give way to the “high.”

I DO want to feel that “high” of love again. I think it’s essential to establishing a lasting bond between myself and another person. A bond that does become sexual, that does entwine my emotional and spiritual body around the other person with the same intensity as the physical heat. And this is where I have gotten lost in my quest for a lasting relationship.

Sure, I tell myself, this hot sex is important for my heart and soul to become engaged. What I’m missing, is if we’re hitting this burning passion and intimate connection BEFORE we’ve had a chance to answer some fundamental relationship questions, we often (I’m 4-out-of-4) get involved, attached, and committed to a relationship that is unstable and unhealthy. Yes the sex is good. Amazing even. But the emotional intelligence and psychological maturity may be a full miss. And as an optimist, I believe this audacious beginning and fulfillment of my sexual and physical needs is enough to solve any future relationship issues. BUT THIS IS A LIE.

Emotional Intelligence in Relationships

Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to own, process, and adjust their own emotions. If I have an outburst of anger about something. There are two things that might be happening. 1. My partner may have done something that was painful or inconsiderate, and for that it is good, and even desirable, to set the boundaries and make the other person aware of what hurt. That is a simple and healthy interaction. 2. My partner’s actions triggered a past emotional trauma, and my reaction or the intensity of my reaction is not appropriate for the infraction. When someone cannot own their own issues in this second scenario, they are demonstrating a lack of emotional intelligence or emotional maturity.

A person’s intention and commitment are not enough to make a relationship work. Relationships take actions, negotiations when things are not easily compatible, and empathetic responses when things aren’t going well. When the fire of sex is brought into the relationship in the early days of dating (for whatever reason) it is highly likely that our relationship skills and honest assessment of compatibility are compromised. In my experience, it feels great but the end result is a car crash into the real issues that don’t fit. Those issues cannot be wished or fkd away. And while many issues can be worked on and resolved, fundamental flaws in a relationship cannot. We cannot change the core personality of another person any more than we can change the core personality of ourselves. If we are an introvert, for example, we can fake being an extrovert, we can learn to be a performer or presenter, but at the end of the day, we are still an introvert. We recharge by being alone.

When sex enters a relationship too early the potential for failure is exponentially multiplied. When we begin getting our sexual needs me, we are much more likely to hold on to that “high” rather than confront the issues that might be wrong or incompatible. We might have great sex and nothing else. Great in bed is fun and rewarding, yes, but it makes up about 2% of your time in a relationship with a partner. So if you can’t stay in bed for the majority of your relationship, you’d better focus on the 98% solution: what do you do together when you are not having sex.

Sex is great. And great sex is certainly a requirement (for me) of a lasting relationship. But I’d like to get the relationship part confirmed before I start doing the tequila shots of sex and lose my mind.

Bodies On Fire

Let’s slow the rush to “AH” in both of these initial partnerships and see where else we’re a fit. I already KNOW that the second woman is a HIT in the sensual and physical needs. What else will we discover as we journey forward together? And this time, at least in my intentional actions, I’m going to pause, postpone, savor, and anticipate sex and that intoxicating hit that it brings. I’m going to explore all the parts of our connection before clouding my judgment and clear thinking with lighting our sexual bodies on fire together.

Disclaimer: This is all talk. Walking the talk over the next months as I seek, yet again, a compatible LTR (long-term relationship) will be an interesting challenge.

It was clear with this first potential woman, I’m already in a zen place. In the opening moments being with this second woman, I’m swooning. The field has been laid out. The challenge has been accepted. The stakes could not be higher. The last thing I want is to be crafting new dating profiles in six months or two years. I really deserve a relationship that is based on fundamental compatibility, shared lifestyles and life goals and has the potential to last the rest of my life.

Anything less than 100% brings me back to Bumble and OKCupid building profiles and trying to make myself look cute, interesting, and younger than I am. Dating again? No thank you. I would rather be intentional and patient and move forward into my next relationship with care and clarity.

Patience and un-intoxicated relating is the key moving forward. Let’s see how this goes…

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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