He Gives You Butterflies: But does that flutter in your stomach mean it’s love or something else?

datephoto“I wish I liked him more. He’s so sweet and thoughtful. He is always on time. He calls when he says he will. And I’m not worried about being hurt this time. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted…but I don’t want him!” she cried.

I was sitting on my couch with Raquel, a client I’d been coaching for only a few months. She had been dating Anthony, a software developer with a small start up business, for only a few weeks. When she had met Anthony, she had just broken up with Jay, her on-and-off boyfriend of three years. She was trying to move on but she was having great difficulty. Raquel’s former relationship was filled with highs and lows. She and Jay were hot and heavy one minute and not speaking to each other the next. Their chemistry was great, but their communication was not. Despite all the head butting though, Raquel was deeply in love with Jay and always thought he was the one. Why they couldn’t just make it work, frustrated her to no end.

Now she was dating Anthony – a guy that made her feel good about herself. A man that wanted to hear her point of view and valued her opinion. Things that, over time, Jay had lost interest in. Besides that, Anthony was cute! He was tall, he had a great body, and he had these adorable dimples that came out whenever he laughed. So why wasn’t Raquel feeling it?

“I keep thinking if I give it more time, I will like him more. But I just don’t get that rush of excitement like I did when I was around Jay. I don’t feel the butterflies,” she told me.

“Is that what you think love feels like? Having your stomach always tied up in knots?” I asked.

Raquel wasn’t sure how to answer.

“I just know that for three years, I had butterflies with Jay. My heart even flutters when I think about him now! Doesn’t that mean something? Isn’t that true love?”

“No,” I told her. “Butterflies after three years of being someone that you couldn’t get along with, does not mean it was true love.  It means it was exciting – and it was exciting because Jay was unpredictable. He would spend a whole weekend with you and then not call you for three days. You never knew when you would see or hear from him again and that is why your heart always jumped when he came around. Not because it was true love.”

Adult Love: What does it feel like?

Everyone likes the feeling of falling in love. It’s a beautiful high that carries you throughout your day. It makes average living more lively.  It turns the mundane into something remarkable. And when you come in contact with the object of your affection, the rush is nothing short of intoxicating.

We’ve all felt this way at one time or another. My husband gave me the such bad butterflies I could hardly eat around him. Ask him if I have that problem now though, and he’d probably break into a fit of laughter.  Eating more now doesn’t mean I love him less, on the contrary, I love him more today than I did the day I married him. But real love doesn’t make you feel so nervous that you may lose your lunch. It feels like something ten times better and a lot less nauseating.

When love is the lasting kind, you don’t feel like you are standing on the edge of a 400 foot cliff (I should know, I’ve actually stood there.) Sure, you may get the butterflies in the beginning but when love is real, it goes deeper than, as Lindsay Lohan put it in Mean Girls, “feeling like your stomach is going to fall out of your butt.” It feels like home. Like a warm cozy room with a fire place.  It’s happy. It’s safe, and I’m elated to say, it’s super comfortable.  No, you don’t get tongue-tied around your partner after so many years – but you do feel a rush of utter happiness when they walk through the door after a long workday and you would absolutely jump in front of a moving bus if it meant saving them from any harm.

Keeping the Butterflies Alive

Some people mistakenly fight off real love. Have you ever known someone that religiously breaks off every one of their relationships at the same time point in time? Maybe they hit the seven month mark and suddenly decide they “aren’t feeling it” anymore. Or perhaps once the chase ends and commitment begins, they start to lose interest? These people are what experts call, “love junkies” – they chase the high that comes when you start to fall in love, and once they come down from it, they either create turmoil to get the high back, or they move on to someone else to create it all over again. They unknowingly prevent themselves from ever getting to the true love phase. Raquel had become an love junkie, which is why she was still couldn’t let go over her tumultuous past relationship and fall in love with someone stable. If a guy didn’t give her cardiac arrest, she was convinced it meant she didn’t like him. The truth is that Raquel and most love junkies are addicted to the feeling of excitement that uncertainty brings. Not knowing if someone liked her, not knowing when they would call or want to see her again, drove Raquel nuts. It made her feel extremely low. That’s why when the phone finally did ring, the high was so great, it felt like a full on episode of “When Butterflies Attack.” Her relationship with Jay was always in a state of flux, so the butterflies never went away, and she always assumed it meant it was love.

If you are like Raquel and you think a relationship is boring without ups and downs, then you are still dating with a high school mentality. If you are still attracted to guys that aren’t good for you because they keep you on edge, realize that you will be signing up for a stormy relationship, and later a rocky marriage. Yes, you get a rush of adrenaline when after three days and no calls, your phone rings.  It’s exciting when you are dating, but it will be hell when you’re married. You don’t want to be at home, pregnant and wonder where your husband is, do you? How your relationship functions right now, is how it will be after you’ve walked down that aisle. Men that are unpredictable (my nice way of saying unreliable), don’t miraculously transform into steady and dependable husbands once they wed. If you have been with someone for years and you still aren’t able to fully relax and be comfortable with them, you aren’t in love… you’re an addict.

Raquel was so used to her roller coaster relationship with Jay, that the stable happy one she had with Anthony seemed lackluster… that is until Anthony broke up with her for not appreciating him.

My advice for any love junkies out there. Be careful chasing butterflies. The good, dependable guy in front of you isn’t boring. You are just strung out. If you need some excitement in your life, don’t get it from boys. Sign up for skydiving. It’s a lot less dangerous.


Inquire about one on one coaching through my website at www.jessmccann.com/contact

For more tips on landing the guy you want, make sure you read “You Lost Him at Hello.”

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Posted in Dating Coach, Dating Tips, Dating Website, Relationship book, Relationship Coach, Relationship Problems, Relationship website, Troubled Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

27 Responses to He Gives You Butterflies: But does that flutter in your stomach mean it’s love or something else?

  1. Emile says:

    This is a great article. I am so glad I read it. It really puts things in perspective for me. I was/am a true love junkie. How do you change this???

  2. Jess McCann says:

    It wont’ happen overnight. You can change however. You need to get your excitement from someplace else, not men. Do you have hobbies and interest you enjoy – or that challenge you? Most love junkie have little else going on so they focus all their energy on boys and that is what leads to problems. For more help, you can sign up for a one on one coaching session with me.

  3. Lori says:

    So true! I wish I wouldn’t run away from those wonderful guys who appreciate me and treat me right! Next time, I’ll stick around a little while longer and see what happens.

  4. Erica says:

    Thank you!! I feel like this blog post was written for me. I am three months out of a three year back and forth “butterfly” relationship and going on a second date with a new guy who seems caring and reliable tomorrow. I am going to bookmark this post to re-read in case I need a reminder when I miss the butterflies. Thanks again – your work is great Jess.

  5. a fan says:

    Great post, Jess! Keep educating girls about the transition into mature love.

  6. Sally says:

    Hi. So so glad I stumbled on your site. I’m 49 and newly single, and don’t have a clue about dating. Married 18 years the first time, 7 the second, and just kicked a boyfriend out after 4 years. Hmmm…. I’ve lived this post. I want a real relationship, but am not shure how to go about it, but your posts have helped.

    Thank you for an excellent blot.

  7. Susan says:

    I am seven months into a relationship with a wonderful man, who treats me better than anyone ever has, wouild give me the world if he could, is dependable financially and as a partner, I can talk to like an adjult, and I have been going back and forth with but I just don’t feel “it”. I love him and can’t imagine going back to a life without him but thought something must be wrong if he does not give me butterflies, etc. I typed in a search of “a good man versus one that gives you butterflies” and your blog popped up. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Maybe I am in my first real “grown up” relationship at the young age of 42!!! LOL.

    • Jess McCann says:

      I am so glad you found my blog. I hope it helped you analyze your relationship a little better. Perhaps this is the first mature relationship you’ve had… at 42. But at least you found it! Some people never do. Good luck to you!

  8. jenn anderson says:

    Aren’t you a honey child for putting your wisdom into words and gifting that to womenfolk? I couldn’t agree more with your take on the kind of love that lasts and the kind that makes you feel ill. I have had relationships that feel thrilling and exciting but when I had a good, HONEST look at what I was actually experiencing it was sheer terror. When you AREN’T getting what you need, its terror that you might not get it again. When you ARE getting what you need, its terror that it will end. The men that inspire these feelings in women are brilliant at sussing out when you are starting to evolve, move on and be less needy and they swoop on in to deliver another dose of the hit that you crave. Right on time. To KEEP you addicted. We women need to wise up, be brave and give the beautiful men a shot at our hearts.

  9. Rani says:

    Sooo true! It’s the unpredictability (lol unreliably) that makes its sooo interesting!

  10. Corie says:

    This post is amazing! I have recently left a six year relationship with a lot of drama. As soon as I said “I’m going to take some time off for me and my children” I met another man. This time I took it extra slow, told him that I only wanted to be friends, and it worked. He showed me his true colors after only a week! Now I’m grateful that I’m back to square one again and willing to work on healing myself and my “love junkie” ways. I am glad that I am aware that I have a problem and I am gently loving myself through this. I figure that if I do that, I won’t be so eager to jump into someone else.

    Thank you

  11. M says:

    This is a good article. It was good for me because I have some of this issue but because I know many men like this that are worse than me.

  12. Sophie says:

    This is exactly what I’ve needed to hear right now. I’ve been experiencing anxiety about whether on not to leave this new man I’ve met. I’ve been in nothing but roller coaster relationships my whole like which lead me to be completely infatuated with them. But this man I connected with on a deep level of understanding and trust and commonalities. But I felt there was something missing from it, maybe I wasn’t fully attracted or it got to compfy to quickly. I didn’t feel that excitement and all lustful about it. I’ve been searching and searching for answers as to not make the biggest mistake of my life and here it is. I’m a butterfly chaser! I work full time but don’t have much else to keep me occupied. It all makes a lot of sense now! Thankyou!

  13. Nick says:

    As a guy like anthony, i really appreciate this article, unfortunately i find myself in this very situation with a woman that i very much feel i am meant to be with. Today she told me she needs a break/space to figure things out because she does not feel butterflies when she sees me. I tried to explain to her what feeling butterflies was but she wasn’t interested in listening so i didn’t press the issue. She has a lot going on in her life right now and stressing her out, and i don’t want to be another thing doing that to her so i am giving her the space she asked for and i let her know that i’m here for her if she needs me. I know she is making a mistake by running away, but i also know there isn’t a way i can convince her of this, i don’t see her listening to me and she asked for space to figure it out and that i not be pushy about this, as i can be impatient sometimes. I want her to see this article and have the information to make an informed decision even if its not with me which i believe is the wrong choice but still hers to make… please help me if you can asap, i don’t know what to do… the only idea i had was to make her some origami butterflies to say now i’ve given you some.

    • Jeff says:

      The problem is part you too. Being so nice that you are basically co-dependent is a real turn-off to anyone. It seems like your are trying to prove how open-minded you are. Don’t be. Go for what you want, but realize she may NOT be the one simply because she doesn’t recognize your good qualities. In short, don’t try to convince anyone to do anything, including yourself. Enjoy your life. If someone comes along to share it with you, fine. If not, not a big deal. I’ve been everywhere in this ole’ dating / relationship game. Listen to me.

  14. Maya says:

    I have been searching for a long time on love and most answers were not what i wanted so i dismissed them. But after reading this article i feel like i dismissed the others because i was not ready to let go i am a love junkie after 2 months i leave and now i have found a guy after 2 years of being single and i love it every moment with him is a new adventure i got butterflies first month and every now and again but i used ur advice and found other ways of getting that rush i wont lie part of me misses it but every inch of me is glad its somewhat gone thank you so much for everything you have done. You have made a change not only in my life but in countless others. Thank you

  15. Dan says:

    Hi im an Anthony, love this article, I too was dumped by my GF. 1 and a half year. We did talk in the past a few times that she just wasn’t feeling it. we did try and work it out even stop seeing each other for a week to see if we missed each other. I thought it worked and things were going well till a few weeks ago she seemed distant. I gave her space, but she never replied back. so, finally I call her and ask her why she isn’t talking and that’s when it all came too and end. She said I was a great man, I did everything too make her happy. but, she is looking for more. I think Im a good catch. I would never think about cheating or being dishonest, we always had fun together, never fought.. I want to give her this letter and see if she changes her mind, or should I move on? frustrated and broken.

  16. Syb says:

    Amazing! Thank you so much, im so happy i found this article… I am going through the same thing, and coming to realize why do I always like to date the wrong ones, the one I know won’t get me anywhere, unreliable, but totally exciting, not calling, calling, having me on the edge and then boomb breaking my heart… a couple of weeks ago I started dating a very nice guy, he is very reliable and honest about what is going on, and I freaked out, because I can’t find those freaking butterflies, but I know when I am with him I feel very comfortable, safe and cozy, I know he will call when he said he will and be there for me, and still, I wonder if what I am feeling is right, I am absolutely confused… but somehow I know I don’t want to loose him, neither to hurt either of us.

  17. Abi says:

    Hi. I’m in a relationship with this boy I love. But he gives me butterflies. We are together a lot of the time and we don’t keep secrets or anythings like that. So, why do I still get butterflies when he isn’t unpredictable and I trust him?

    • jessmccann says:

      Young love will give you butterflies, too. Because the dating experience is new to you, it’s likely to give you them for a while…even years later. This particular article is for people who are out of school, which I’m guessing you are not done with yet?

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Hi, I’ve been in a relationship with a guy for 3 months now and he is honestly the best guy I have ever met. He always shows me how much he cares about me and I would like to make this work but I have a pattern of getting into a relationship then getting this sick feeling in my stomach and then the feelings just seem to go away. This is starting to happen now and I don’t want the feelings to go away for this guy. I don’t have time to do anything exciting since I work and have school so I just don’t know what to do to keep the feeling alive. Is there any other advice that you could give me so that I can make this work?

    • jessmccann says:

      It sounds like you want to keep the “falling in love” feeling alive… but honestly, no relationship keeps that specific feeling. They evolve or die. If they don’t die, they evolve into the “real love” feeling, which doesn’t feel like butterflies but more like peace and contentment. If you are addicted to the butterflies, however, you will mistake the “real love” feeling for being bored. Try not to push this guy away, or assume you don’t like him anymore. Real love means you cherish someone, and value how they care about you. Maybe you need to be more grateful overall. Think about the rest of your life and if you find you are always chasing what you don’t have, or looking for “what’s next” it could be you need to be more grateful. Keep an eye out for my book, THE CURSE: Why you can’t find or keep the love you want, coming out next year. It explains more of your problem, too. You can also contact me through my website for coaching.

  19. Mark says:

    Hello my name is Mark. I have been dating a girl for about six months. She has a butterfly feeling tell today. She said that she really loves me and wants to see me when she doesn’t have the feeling. She also said that she wants to be in the relationship but she doesn’t want to feel sick. I have never had experience before. I have noticed about it about 3 months ago and I have been trying to help her by giving her time because I really love her. She also said that once she broke up with her axs 3 years ago, the butterfly feeling goes away. She also said that I’m her first love and the longest relationship for her.
    We decided two days ago to broke up for a bit so she can figure out things and ask more people. I don’t really know if what we did is correct or not? Please help us!!

  20. Anna says:

    I have a question though.
    There is this boy whom I dated two years ago, and now he’s moved to Italy and I haven’t seen him in two years, and I’m not sure he’s my boyfriend anymore. Yesterday my dad and I met up with him and he brought his friend along, and I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted to talk to him alone. But it ended up with him talking to his friend the entire time, although a few hours ago they just went go-carting. The only sentences we exchanged were:
    Me: ‘Hi.’
    Him: ‘Do you recognise him(friend)?’
    Me: ‘A bit’ (no)
    And then one and a half hours later:
    Me: Bye then..
    Him: Okay.
    I’ve heard that long-distance relationships don’t work out well, and I think that might be true in my case. But around February or so, I met this ninth-grader(Im an eighth-grader) who I started to have a crush on, because he was funny, smart and very kind to me. Once I invited him and his friends who I knew really well over to my house because we would then all go to Badminton together, and then after we watched a crappy movie he told me he had a crush on someone. At first I was confused, why he was telling me this, and then he and one friend went into another room, and I got left alone with the other friend. I was trying to guess who he had a crush on, and in my gut I felt like the mystery girl was me, but I was too nervous to say it, because if it wasn’t me, that would be awkward if I said it out loud. So I kept asking for clues and got basically nowhere because they didn’t reveal that much. But the friend he went into the room with was laughing silently the whole time and I started to get annoyed in a fun way. Then, we had to go to Badminton. On the train I was still trying to guess then finally gave up when we got out the station. I asked him one last time who he had a crush on and he finally answered with:”You.”
    The walk to the gym got very awkward after that, but I was glad I got an answer from my new crush, and we dated for a few days, but then decided to break up because it became very awkward around the other friends when we all meet up together. But I get butterflies in my stomach when I’m close to him and we’re walking somewhere together, and I’m very nervous about that. It would be nice if you gave me some advice, since I didn’t really understand this article. Sorry.

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