How To Walk In Love

Women's Dating

How to Walk (Not Fall!) in Love in 8 Steps

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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You lock eyes. You feel a tingle in your stomach. Your heart rate increases. A smile spontaneously creeps around the corner of your lips. These are the physiological reactions to falling in love. And if you’re lucky enough to have ever experienced the idea of falling in love, you know how delicious the feeling is. Falling in love doesn’t just feel like a drug – it actually activates the exact same brain areas as a chemical drug.

Falling in love creates an emotional high that alters our brain chemistry,

But here’s the downside: The neurohormones associated with the early stages of a relationship might feel good, but they are addictive – and what’s worse, they reduce our ability to discern. We see only perfection in our future partner, and we want to see more and more of them. We want to hold onto that “love high” by moving quickly into a relationship to keep it forever. In some ways, falling in romantic love is an emotional hijacking. We are taken hostage by hormones.

Now, all of this is well and good, if we came from a healthy family, have a secure attachment style, and can move away quickly at the first sign of an unstable partner. But most of us didn’t have that and are more likely to fall in love with hope, rather than the reality of who that person really is. 

Lust chemicals are the most plausible explanation for why people fall in love with hurtful partners. The internet is awash with stories of women being taken by con men or emotionally injured by narcissists. And it also has stories of men whose perfect brides turned out to be gold diggers or cheaters. So often we blame the lovelorn, when in fact, we should blame the drug.

So how does one avoid becoming seduced by neurohormones that make for poor decisions? If you’ve got a history of  sharing a bed, your heart, or your money too early, here are some tips to help you keep your head straight while your heart is pounding.

1. Ditch Your Fears of Abandonment  

If you are more worried that a potential mate will abandon you than be a good match for you, then you are dating at a disadvantage. You must be ready to walk away early instead of getting attached to something that can hurt you.

2. Re-Think the Idea That Physical Attraction Is Paramount

When your eyes get overwhelmed with beauty, you’ll make all kinds of excuses for bad behavior. Try dating someone who is kind and smart and get attracted to their inner beauty.

3. Give Judicially 

If you’re someone who goes overboard with gifts and wild spending at the beginning of relationships, learn to look for reciprocity. Only give if you are getting something fairly equal back. For instance, if you’ve paid for three dinners, because your new partner makes less money than you, it may be time for them to pack a picnic for you are do something else nice for you.

4. Consider the Consequences of Sex 

There is no such things as no-strings-attached-sex. When two people share bodies and ignite neurochemicals in each other, there is a memory forever. Sex is an intimate experience and should be treated as such. Respect that one of you may become attached through sex.

5. Have Genuine Conversations 

Forget the games and be upfront about who you are, what you want, and how you are feeling. Emotional intimacy is the glue for long-term love.

6. Set Boundaries

Even if your date seems perfect. Don’t do booty calls. Don’t cancel plans because of a last-minute invitation. Practice self-care.

7. Reframe Ghosting 

Celebrate when inappropriate mates leave early. The goal of catching a like-minded mate, is achieved by letting the wrong one’s swim away.

8. GO SLOW!!! 

Did we not learn anything from ReesaTeesa? Slowing down lets you gather information and make informed decisions.

Remember, learning to intentional date takes time and practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you get duped by love again. Each time you will get smarter and eventually learn to slowly walk into love instead of fall blindly into love. Relationships are far more about skill than luck.