When you’re falling in love, emotions tend towards the extreme.
As Shakespeare wrote, “I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes.”
But while these feelings can be all-encompassing, is it truly a good idea to let yourself be ruled completely by your heart?
What about your head, and what happens when your mind is telling you one thing and your emotions are telling you another?
What should you listen to?
If you’re not sure which part of you is really in control, here are eight signs your heart rules your head in love and it’s holding you back.
1) You jump in with both feet
When you feel like you’re falling in love, you really give it your all.
But does this seem to have a pattern of working out badly?
It’s possible that you simply invest too early, throwing yourself into relationships without the healthy moderation of your mind to give you feedback.
It’s not that this is always a bad thing, but it can have some negative consequences.
Sometimes, being so deeply invested in a relationship so early can set you up for a big fall if things don’t work out. Sometimes, it can even be the reason for things not working out – coming on too strong can scare people away if it makes them feel pressured to return your level of commitment when they’re simply not ready yet.
So, while you might feel ready to go all in after just a few weeks of dating, consider holding back and taking more time to let the relationship develop naturally.
2) You’re all action and no thought
The old expression “Look before you leap” is great advice for cliff diving, but that’s not all it’s good for.
It’s basically an admonishment to think before you do things that could potentially have negative effects.
Like, I don’t know, say getting into a relationship with the wrong kind of person.
But if your heart rules your head in love, the usual pattern is that you don’t think; you do.
You get caught up in your emotions and just do whatever feels right at the time.
This can make you feel really happy, open, and totally alive in the moment. But it can also have a negative side that can come back to bite you in the bottom later.
You can reveal secrets and trust too much. You can find yourself giving more than the other person or even getting used by them because you’re not able to take a step back and look at the relationship objectively.
And you can end up getting hurt.
3) You ignore red flags
If your heart rules your head in love, one sign can be that you consistently ignore red flags or miss them altogether.
I have a lovely friend who seems to find herself in this kind of situation again and again.
One time, it was the classic “My wife and I are separated and getting divorced soon” that didn’t seem to ring any alarm bells for her.
The next time, she didn’t seem to think it was strange that her new boo started borrowing significant amounts of money from her almost right away.
Another time, she thought the guy disappearing for days and being uncontactable before popping back again was mysterious and not a huge red flag that should have sent her running for the hills.
Every time she finds herself in a new relationship, she gets blinded by feelings and misses the warning signs that are right in front of her face.
Well, not anymore. She’s not allowed to date anyone anymore without debriefing with one of her close friends to help her actually process both her emotions and her thoughts. It seems to be working!
4) You listen to what they say, not what they do
When your heart’s all a-flutter, you just want to hear magical words whispered into your ears.
“You’re great!” “I can’t get enough of you!” “I think I-”
OK, hold it right there.
I know we all want to hear these wonderful, magical words, but are words enough?
Shouldn’t they be backed up by actions as well?
If your heart’s in charge, it’s easy to believe what a person is telling you when everything they say is music to your ears.
But what if a person says they want to be with you, but they’re still dating other people? What if they say you’re perfect in every way but haven’t taken the time to ask you deep questions about yourself?
If your head were in charge, you’d probably catch the fact that what the person says and what they actually do are not in alignment. But because your heart rules your head in love, you’re just way too susceptible to a silver tongue.
5) You mistake lust for love
Another sign your heart rules your head in love is that you often mistake love and lust.
While these two feelings can, of course, go hand in hand, they’re not the same thing, and you definitely shouldn’t confuse the two even though it’s actually really easy to do.
According to sexpert research, the part of your brain responsible for rationalizing and decision-making (the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, if you’re curious) becomes less active when you have sex.
You also get major hits of both dopamine and oxytocin when you orgasm. Dopamine makes you feel happy and satisfied, while oxytocin helps you feel a connection to the other person (if there’s one involved).
All of these factors mean that great sex can make you feel wonderful and think less rationally. So it’s easy to understand why you’d want more and more of it.
But there’s more to a successful relationship than that, and if all you’re going back for is that surge of euphoria, you’re in lust and not in love.
And there’s nothing wrong with that unless you start to confuse that feeling with something deeper and more meaningful that isn’t actually there.
6) You don’t recognize love bombing for what it is
I know I’ve been guilty of laying it on too thick in the past (and too thin these days, according to my partner!).
When we feel like we’re really falling for someone, sometimes we can’t help but want to shout it from the rooftops and down the mountainside.
I’ve definitely gone out of my way to send lots of sweet messages, buy little pressies, and do extra special things for the person who’s the object of my affection.
But I’d like to think I haven’t gone so far actually love bombing them.
That’s because love bombing is actually a weapon and not a gift. It’s a strategy to manipulate the other person that’s used by narcissists and other sneaky and controlling people.
The idea is to overwhelm the other person with extreme displays of attention to make them feel special and get them under a spell to make them easier to take advantage of or even abuse later.
When your heart’s in charge, it’s easy to mistake love bombing for real attention, but that’s exactly how this manipulation works.
7) You don’t think about the future
When the heart is in the driver’s seat, life is all about the here and now.
And this is one reason why you remember everything about when you fell in love. You’re living in the moment, and everything is so vivid and exciting.
But isn’t the future something you need to contemplate, too, if you want to have a successful relationship?
If your head was behind the wheel, it might ask you to slow down and think about whether the person making you feel great now would actually be suitable long-term.
But because the heart’s in charge, you may end up picking the wrong kind of person again and again – someone who’s great short-term but won’t have the capacity to be a great life partner.
8) You move too fast
The final sign I can give that will show you that your heart rules your head in love is the speed with which you make things happen.
Simon and Garfunkle have a great suggestion to help you keep feeling groovy:
“Slow down, you move too fast / You got to make the morning last”
But when you’re heart is the boss, it starts to beat rapidly and causes you to act just as quickly.
You know what I’m talking about.
You become exclusive right away. You move in together in record time. You’re introducing them to your parents in the blink of an eye.
But if your head was on straight, you’d probably be a whole lot slower.
These eight signs your heart rules your head in love are easy to notice if you just take the time to look.
And you’ll realize that loving this way is holding you back from actually finding a relationship that’s as meaningful and fulfilling as it could be.