Your heart and your instincts are often at war, and there's always a blurred line between them. The old adage says to "follow your heart, but trust your instincts." I've always found that statement difficult to make sense of. If your instincts say leave and your heart says stay, then which do you listen to?
Like I said, it can be an all-out raging war if your heart and instincts aren't in sync.
More from YourTango: Was Jesus Really Married? Christian Experts Sound In
I've tried to rationalize it, think of following my heart as following my emotional response, and following my instincts as letting womanly intuition tug me in one direction. But that doesn't make it much easier to grapple with, because sometimes your gut instinct is far more dominant and usually correct in retrospect, though, we choose to ignore it for reasons only our heart knows. I've ignored my instincts too many times to count, especially in my dating experiences. Should You Trust Your Instincts?
I battled a three-year war between my heart and instincts with the guy I dated before my husband. This guy was very manipulative—a real smoother. In the middle of a fight, where I was clearly in the right, he always turned it around and made me look like the bad guy. I felt powerless. So many nights ended in tears where I considered breaking up with him. But he'd always waltz back in, put on his charm, and apologize. He'd say he never wanted to fight again, and he would never do anything to intentionally hurt me.
I loved him, so I believed that. But two days later we'd be back to fighting about the same things. And things didn't get better.
Later in the relationship, rumors started surfacing in our circle of friends about him and other girls. Details were always left out, but things slowly started to come into focus for me: later-than-usual nights working, unanswered phone calls, phone calls and texts from other women. Something was wrong, but as ridiculous as it seems, I wouldn't believe it. It's too awful to be true, I thought. He wouldn't do that to me. He couldn't. My heart was too tangled up in the relationship, so I shut out that tiny whisper of truth from deep inside my gut. 10 Tips For Finding Love In the New Year
Oh, I threatened to leave him—in fits of anger. But I always came to the same conclusion: I was being rash. My heart really wanted me to believe that. So, I second guessed myself. There was something about the way he said he needed me, that he couldn't live without me, that brought me right back to him. Stuck. Deep down, I knew I was settling if I stayed with him, which went against everything I believe about love. But I was comfortable. It didn't matter if I was happy or not, there was safety in having someone, no matter what he'd done. I was scared of being single.
More from YourTango: One Person Doesn't Really "Complete You" Or Your Marriage
I am an emotional girl, so naturally I followed my heart and ignored my instincts. I stayed because it was easy, because it would have been another failed relationship. 5 Signs You're Carrying Emotional Baggage
I thought if I prayed hard enough, everything would be OK. God would get me through it, keep me in that state of comfort. But God speaks through your gut, that buried instinct He gave you. We nearly-always ignore it, but never seems to fail us when we take a moment to listen. My instinct knew it was game over. It was a slow, subtle feeling of uneasiness, but pretty soon it overcame me enough to hear it. And when it did, it all snapped into place. My heart's call was strong and loud, but my instinct's voice was clear and unavoidable.