The Golden Rules of Being in Puppy Love

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Firstly, I’d like to send a big THANK YOU to those who have chosen to follow me. Please accept a virtual warm and fuzzy hug from the bottom of my heart.

Second, I’d like to precede this post by stating once again that nothing qualifies my advice except my love for  love, my love for people, and my love for writing.

So on that note…

I think the most fun and exciting time in a relationship is the very beginning. Most people know what it feels like to meet someone and immediately fall head over heels. For some, the sparks start flying at “hello, it’s nice to meet you.” For others, the seed of “this might be the one” is sown after the first conversation. Sometimes a spark ignites between friends who mutually consent to exploring the possibility of more. However the fire starts, eventually it spreads and consumes. And before you can comprehend it, you declare that you’re in love.

I like to call this the Puppy Love phase or the honeymoon period. In the same manner that puppies are uncontrollable and constantly excited, puppy love reaches beyond our minds, controlling our hearts and exciting our souls. Your emotions dance between big-toothy-grin happiness when you’re together, and gut-wrenching despair when you’re apart. It’s the time when absolutely everything about him is just so cute, and you do everything in your power to make her smile.  And no matter how much you try, no matter what you tell yourself or what others tell you, you just can’t help the way you feel. You are SO in love.

As a self-diagnosed hopeless romantic with an addiction to the uncontrollable excitement of “brand new,” I love having conversations with people who are in the puppy love phase. I remember distinctly what it feels like to just fall flat on your face for the person that may be the one.

As I am now in a somewhat seasoned relationship with the love of my life, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on our honeymoon phase… which was nothing short of pure magic. There are so many things I wish I knew back then that I have come to learn.

Being in puppy love feels awesome, but if we want to successfully transition these feelings into something of substance, into the foundation of a fully developed and mature relationship, into a love made of solid rock, that will neither bend nor wane during the storms of life, then there are rules.

If you’re not in the place of seeking your life partner, then by all means, continue to relax in the hot tub of “everything is so easy with you.”  But if you’re in over-the-moon-and-back love with someone you hope to eventually commit the rest of your life to, then I’d like to share a few of my Golden Rules of Being in Puppy Love.

Enjoy it.

The way your eyes well up when you find him in every note of your favorite love song. The butterflies in your stomach when you lay eyes on her. The grin from ear to ear when someone even mentions his name. The uncontrollable urge to jump up and down on a stranger’s couch shouting, “I LOVE THIS WOMAN!” The willingness to fork over precious hours of sleep in exchange for just one more minute together. The inability to put your heart into anything or anyone else that does not involve your new love. Enjoy these emotions.  Don’t try to rationalize your heart’s response. Revel in it. When you find that person that sends you to infinity and beyond, enjoy it… because it won’t last forever. And you’ll miss it desperately when it’s gone.

Stop waiting for the catch.

I have spoken to some who are a bit more seasoned in the dating world, and are recovering from a series of failed relationships. They accept the excitement of new love, all the while waiting for the bomb to drop. “What’s the catch? Where’s the crazy? When will you show me the baggage from previous relationships?” And at the first signs of troubled waters, they respond with a, “I knew it was too good to be true,” as they jump ship. To sleep with one eye open while in puppy love may cause you to miss out on real qualities that could make your partner life-long-worthy. To read between the lines of every conversation, to over-analyze the tone of every text, to project your own insecurities on your new love can drive you to stick a fork in something that hasn’t been given a chance to cook. When you’re in puppy love, there is no catch. Just enjoy it.

But with that being said…

Don’t ignore the red flags.

It’s so easy to overlook or brush aside the warning signs that point to the possibility that you and your love may not be as compatible as you think. This is particularly true for fresher hearts that lack the experience of seasoned lovers. When falling in love, it’s very important to know who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you stand for. Because when you fall in love, you can lose yourself. And if you fall for someone who is the antithesis of what you stand for, your relationship may fall apart as soon as the butterflies disappear.

Or to put it differently, if your new lover says or does something that makes you stop and go, “hmmmm,” it’s a red flag. Don’t ignore it, don’t brush it off. Continue to roll around in the meadows and swing from the rainbows of fresh love. But when your conversations can finally extend beyond, “Oh my God, I love you so much. SO. MUCH.” you can start to explore those things that give you pause. Don’t be afraid to discover what makes you different. Because when you discover what’s different, you can decide whether or not to respect those differences. And if you can respect them, you’ve got one delicious ingredient in the recipe of real love.

Note that I said respect each others differences. Not resign to change them. Ignoring differences in the hopes of changing each other in the future is the best way to create cracks in the foundation of a real relationship. So if you can’t or won’t respect your differences, then finish up in the meadow and move on.

Oh, one more thing…

There is a difference between keeping your eyes open to red flags, and carrying a broken heart from relationship to relationship. If you enter something new waiting for more evidence that all men or women are no-good heart-breaking wastes of life, you’ve been severely hurt in the past. When you find yourself in a new relationship just waiting to be disappointed, you always will be. A new start does not have the power to fix a broken heart. Spend time alone and take the time to heal before attempting to love again.

Don’t get physical. Please.

“But we’re so in loooooove!”

I know, I know, I KNOW. Trust me. I know. But physical intimacy during puppy love in full bloom is a sure-fire way to be blinded to all potential signs pointing to the fact that you’re speeding towards a train wreck. Strong sexual chemistry can be so much easier to give in to and explore than emotional long-term chemistry. And depending on how severely your emotions are tied to intimacy, you’ll never be able to distinguish between what your body wants, and what your heart needs.

During the honeymoon phase, unfiltered, intimacy-on-tap may keep you flying high on cloud nine for a short while. But when you finally descend back to earth (and trust me, you will), your heart will start craving substance: a connection with your partner that allows you to be your complete self. Not just a stick of physical dynamite, but a whole person. Because when you’ve figured out who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you stand for, being in love with the one who accepts and cherishes all of you is worth its weight in gold.

I have a lot more to say on the subject, but I’ll save it for future posts. Next time we’ll explore what happens when the honeymoon phase is over: how we transition from puppy love to a mature and successful relationship. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading my first official blog post 🙂

~Love and Happiness from your Best Girlfriend~

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