This is the biggest indicator that the person you're dating isn't 'the one'
It's hard to measure how well your relationship is going sometimes. In the absence of major arguments or endless romantic gestures, asking yourself whether your significant other is really your one true love can be extremely difficult. How exactly are we meant to know what the red flags to look out for are?
Whether a relationship blossoms into a long-term affair or ends before things get too serious, all passionate relationships tend to start with a major case of the butterflies. You know that sensation when you feel something strange inside, as if you're both dreadfully nervous and overwhelmingly excited at the same time? It's a good feeling to have, but there is a point where this can go too far.
Wendy L. Patrick, Ph.D, a behavioral expert, claims that if you feel nervous too far into the relationship, it could be a bad thing - even if it feels like you still have butterflies in your stomach.
"If you are overly apprehensive every time you get together with your new paramour," she wrote on the blog Psychology Today, "it might be a sign that although he or she might be a great person, perhaps not the best fit for you”.
Getting butterflies at the start is normal, but as time goes on, dates shouldn't feel like a performance where you can't relax or truly be yourself. Patrick writes:
“In the long run, no one wants to continue participating in an activity that creates stress and discomfort.
“Whether it is a dangerous sport, a speaking engagement, or a leadership role that requires taking on heavy responsibility, we are unable (and ultimately unwilling) to remain in a state of heightened anxiety and mental distress.”
It's fair to say that you should always seek to make a good impression on your partner, but you shouldn't let this rule over you after a certain point. As Patrick puts it, you need to find someone “who validates and affirms who you are - not who you wish you were”.
Referencing a study by Sandra J.E. Langeslag, Peter Muris and Ingmar H.A. Franken, in the Journal of Sex Research, titled "Measuring Romantic Love: Psychometric Properties of the Infatuation and Attachment Scale", she wrote about the difference between infatuation and true love, something which can be difficult to discern even late in the cycle.
“The key is to learn to recognise the difference between infatuation and attachment," she wrote. “While the authors [of the study] recognise that infatuation is associated with a higher level of arousal and euphoria, it is apparently a double-edged sword”. While infatuation isn't an entirely bad thing, it is far more likely to create negative feelings such as anxiety and nervousness, or play on your personal insecurities.
So if you're feeling nervous on a date with a long-term partner, you may be closer to infatuation than love, but keeping in touch with your feelings helps. “This will allow you to select a partner who makes you feel self-assured, not insecure,” Dr Patrick explains. “Experiencing relational security, in turn, predicts relational stability, and ultimately success.”
If we're to go with Patrick's theory on this, we should all expect that nervous feeling to die down at some point in a relationship, otherwise you won't be able to blame it on the butterflies.