A gut instinct in relationships is too often assumed to be bad, like suspecting a partner is cheating.
It can also warn you when something just feels off.
But trusting your gut feeling about someone can span both positive and negative qualities, including helping to confirm that someone is a good fit.
It could be when something just “feels different” after a series of failed relationships or when you meet someone new and have that “this is the one” feeling.
Can you reliably trust your gut feelings in matters of love?
Let’s dig deeper to find out and look at some reasons to trust your instincts.
Should I Trust My Gut When It Comes to Relationships?
You can trust your instincts in relationships if you can easily separate them from other intense feelings, like the hormone rush of a new relationship or searching for confirmation bias to validate your feelings.
In a relationship, your gut feeling should be a factor, but not the only factor.
DO know the difference between your gut, emotions, and strength.
- Gut vs. Mind: The gut and brain are separate entities, with the enteric nervous system controlling the gut and able to function without brain input. This means logic and gut feelings can be cohesive or conflicting.
- Gut vs. Emotions: Gut feelings are a separate silo from emotions. You can be super happy while having an ominous gut feeling or be depressed while experiencing a gut instinct motivation to go to a social event.
- Gut Workouts: We’re not talking about abs here. You can strengthen your gut instincts by following them more often and noting the result. It could be as simple as an urge to take the stairs instead of the elevator or as dramatic as deciding not to walk on an airplane.
DON’T only trust your gut.
- Making long-term decisions based solely on gut instinct could cause ripples of challenges down the road.
- Ignore your gut instinct when you’re emotional or high-strung. Yes, that includes not texting him for the 10th time in a week when he hasn’t responded.
- Too often, we use our gut instinct response as an excuse to avoid learning the lesson of the decision we made.
What Is a Strong Gut Feeling About Someone?
Gut feelings and intuition manifest in different ways. Lingering longer in a conversation than you normally would or feeling a magnetic attraction to a stranger are examples.
It’s also essential to figure out when your intuition is talking to you or some other aspect is taking over. We can address this by listing what a gut feeling is not.
- It is not anxiety. Anxiety is usually a situational or ongoing feeling. Gut instincts happen spontaneously but can continue to nag. Also, anxiety is rooted in past experiences or future dread, while intuition happens in the present moment.
- It is not fear. Fear is a sibling of anxiety and focuses on avoiding trauma or heartbreak. Fear keeps you from doing things, while gut instincts encourage action.
- It is not insecurity. Insecurity, self-esteem issues, and imposter syndrome have only a negative communication input. Your gut is mostly rooted in positive outcomes, even if it means breaking up with someone since it’s better for you in the long run.
Whether you have a gut feeling someone is attracted to you or you feel like you’ve finally met the one, there are telltale moments to seize.
Overall, look for the things that happen quickly and unexpectedly.
1. You’re Unusually Calm
Following gut instincts to safety and happy spaces brings a sense of calm to the nervous system and brain.
A sense of calm and peace is hard to find in a world filled with relationship drama. A calm soul with a focused vision of the future directly results from gut instincts guiding you.
2. You’re Connected
While science can explain a lot about gut instincts, there’s little data that can debunk the connections that two people have when they are in sync.
Maybe you’re thinking about the person moments before they text you, or you can finish each other’s sentences without effort. Feeling like two connected puzzle pieces is a good gut instinct.
3. You’re Not Able to Trust Yourself
Fear and anxiety creep in when we have a history of making poor relationship choices. Maybe you tolerate too much suspicious behavior to avoid rocking the boat.
It’s hard when we face failed relationships to know if we’re even able to sustain a long-term relationship. Gut instincts can help propel or parachute out of a relationship.
4. You’re Reading the Internal Compass
The logic of the brain and emotions of the heart can be sloppy and multi-directional. They often can arm wrestle to force a convincing argument.
Your gut instinct is the True North of that battle. If your pros and cons columns are even, all things considered, gut instinct could be the final determining factor.
5. You’re Noticing Changes
There’s a great example from the 2002 movie The Sweetest Thing when Cameron Diaz tells Christina Applegate about the guy she met named Peter. Christina’s character says, “OMG. You named the puppy.”
The habit of these single ladies was avoiding first names unless it was serious. Yet, without realizing it, Cameron’s character had a gut instinct to call him by his name moments after meeting.
If you’re breaking character, you could lean on a gut instinct without realizing it.
6. You’re Feeling Ready
Have you ever known someone who said, “I just don’t have time for a relationship,” and then months later has a fantastic partner who adores them?
A gut instinct can make you feel ready to be committed to a certain person, even if you weren’t looking for it. It can also make women who adamantly say they don’t want kids to start planning children’s names with their new partner.
7. You’re Navigating Better in this Relationship
Those first three months of dating can be brutal as boundaries are defined, and we’re shedding that “ideal” image of fresh connections.
Gut instinct, consciously or subconsciously, can assign value to a relationship our brain doesn’t realize. It can also slow down an aggressive heart looking for commitment ahead of its time. Gut instincts can save us from ourselves.
8. You’re Unable to Shake It
As much as gut instincts appear suddenly, they can linger inside.
While gut instinct helped cavemen and cavewomen survive wild jungles, it can also keep you on the right path with a nagging sensation that this is good for you. While we can ignore gun instincts, we cannot silence them.
9. You’re Dreaming About It
For those who have a habit of ignoring gut instincts, they can talk to you while you’re sleeping to get your attention.
Your subconscious is on a constant Zoom call with your intuition, and they can partner up to produce dreams, sometimes very vivid, about what you should do. This can also help discern between spur-of-the-moment decisions, and sudden gut instinct urges.
10. You’re Hearing a Voice
Ok, so many of us don’t admit this one. However, a gut instinct can present itself as a voice saying, “Go talk to him,” or “Don’t wait three days to call him back.” It’s like that voice in Field of Dreams encouraging Ray to “Go the distance.”
11. You’re Indecisive
Indecisive or independent people constantly wrestle with decisions, especially when it involves a relationship that takes time, effort, and vulnerability.
You could have a history of finding a dealbreaker by date three to protect your heart. Or perhaps you never message back on that dating app. But something about this time beckons you to explore beyond your normal boundaries and hesitations.
12. You’re Feeling Worthy
Competing in a social media-fueled world of filters and fantasies is hard. Self-confidence can be chipped away when we don’t feel like we’re good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough for our partner.
Without even trying, a good gut instinct tells you that you’ve met an equal match.
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13. You’re More Able to be Present
Gun instincts keep us honest and don’t allow anxiety or fear to overwhelm the relationship status.
Instead of worrying about when he’ll commit or if he’s ever going to pop the question, you’re enjoying and savoring every moment with the other person because you know you’re on a good path.
14. You’re Searching for More Gut Feelings
Even when our guts lead us in a certain direction, there’s nothing wrong with getting a second gut opinion. When we feel open to letting a new partner meet our friends, we can also ask about their gut instincts.
Since close connections with friends and family are generally built on good gut instincts, we know we’re getting solid feedback with fewer emotions mixed in.
15. You’re Having Trouble Explaining It
We want answers to everything for peace and clarity. Gut instincts won’t come with a Wikipedia page. We can search for rhyme and reason but seldom find either.
Examples include statements like “I’ve just never felt anything like this” or “I feel drawn to them.”
16. You’re Trying to Understand Gut Instincts
Your mind didn’t lead you to this article. Your gut did. When we’re less concerned with the gut instinct reason and more about the process of how gut instincts work, we’re honed into the magical feeling of our sixth sense.
We’re also learning the importance of separating logic and emotions from guttural urges.
17. You’re Consistent
We have to make snap decisions daily, but we rarely make the same decisions. We explore menu items at the local pub or date several people at once.
Gut feelings are about the strongest convictions that you’ll find in this world. They remain constant, and if they aren’t factored into a decision, we could spend a lifetime worried about “the one who got away.”
18. You’re Having Physical Symptoms
The enteric nervous system that fuels gut instincts is also connected to our pulse, heart rhythm, and muscles. While gut instincts can cause deep feelings, they can physically impact our bodies in the following ways.
- Elevated Pulse
- Muscle Tension
- Heart Skipping a Beat Randomly
- Sweaty Palms
19. You’re Hyper Aware
Since gut instincts can barricade fears, we’re suddenly so much more aware of… everything. The birds in the trees and the small of his cologne. The clarity that comes with the sixth sense fires up the other senses that might have been dormant on any other date.
We’re suddenly sponges, soaking in every sensation or holding hands and not realizing where our hands end and theirs begins.
20. You’re Not Overthinking
Overthinking Anonymous should really be a support group for as much as it happens. Even when gut instincts conflict with thoughts or emotions, we’re far better able to categorize them than if a situation didn’t include gut guidance.
It’s similar to when you’re in a strange city but using GPS to guide you instead of struggling to follow written directions.
21. You’re Still Being Rational
Even with that GPS, you still wouldn’t drive through downtown Chicago without checking other factors, like weather conditions, time of day, and dangerous neighborhood lists.
When our internal GPS is equally balanced with logic, rationale, and hormone surges, we’re well on our way to a healthy relationship.
22. You’re Double-Checking Your Gut
Powerful gut instincts can cause us to search out more signs we’ve ignored. Not every gut instinct in a relationship will be monumental.
If we feel inclined to follow our gut more often as a test of its validity, we can better differentiate a true gut instinct.
23. You’re Well Aware of Cognitive Bias
Our inner voice can wreak havoc on gut instincts if we let it. A cognitive bias is when we only accept information that supports what we think we want and dismiss information that conflicts with it.
This is when we justify texting them yet again because “their phone must’ve died.”
That unease in your belly, in that instance, isn’t usually gut instinct; it’s a justification fear disguises as gut instinct.
24. You’re Not Trying to Talk Yourself Out of It
No, it’s not the Chipotle burrito causing belly rumbles. It’s certainly not “that time of the month.” Those who practice gut instinct guidance will not argue with the unexplainable. They might use caution but not host an internal filibuster.
There might be a million reasons on paper you aren’t compatible with someone, but Cinderella wasn’t necessarily compatible with Price Charming, was she?
25. You’re Not Letting Pride Get in the Way
Even great relationships have struggles. As much as gut instincts strive to keep us on a peaceful path, one big fight can cause a landslide of emotional wreckage.
Gut instincts stop us from saying, “They better apologize first,” and allow us to realize what we’re missing out on.
26. You’re Generally Making Better Decisions
The positive reinforcement of trusting your gut in relationships will build confidence to follow it in other areas of your life. A well-balanced decision with a finely tuned gut instinct can lead us to get everything we ever wanted.
We’re also making the world a better place as we share this healthy process with those around us.
27. You’re Not Ignoring Warning Signs
Gut instinct can be a guardrail in a relationship, but we still can’t walk the path with blinders on. Healthy relationships are going to have pressure points while two people blend lives.
If a gut instinct suggests your guy is not where he says he is, that opens the door to conversations about transparency and boundaries.
How to Listen to Your Intuition in Relationships
Remember, you’re looking for the unexpected, and in a busy life, that can be unwelcome. Self-awareness is key to listening to and following your intuition accurately.
- Separate It: Write down the difference between your emotions, facts, and gut instincts.
- Review It: A great way to find that difference is to review how often we’ve been right about gut instincts in the past.
- Own It: Talk about it with your partner. While it’s vulnerable to say, “This just feels different to me,” to a partner, you will get confirmation or dissension about where they stand.
A gut instinct is just one of the many ways our body helps us focus on the proper path. Hone it and practice it when the stakes aren’t so high to be better poised to use it as an asset during bigger decisions.