Follow Your Heart, Use Your Head: How to Know if Your Relationship is Worth Preserving

If lasting love has eluded you and every Mr. Right turned out wrong, you need to listen to this. Yes, it’s a story about how I chose my wife, but it might as well be about your future. Furthermore, it’s the most revealing I’ve ever been and I think it will shed great light on how to make better relationship choices using both your head AND your heart.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    bellamytree

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Evan.  This is so clear, and wise. Though I guess it didn’t feel clear and wise when you were in the middle of trying to figure out where the relationship was going, or whether to propose, or whether you’d done the right thing in marrying, a few months afterwards.

    I really appreciate the insights (and that you’ve lived them) that you don’t have to ‘just know’ if this is ‘the one;’ to evaluate the quality of the relationship rather than a list of someone’s attributes; and that someone who feels like family with the people you’re closest to (biological or social family) might be a keeper.

  2. 2
    Nicole

    This is great! Thank you for being so honest. I’d love to know a few of the things your now wife DIDN’T do during the time you were indecisive that made you want to…well, keep deciding. It doesn’t seem like she panicked or blamed you for not “just knowing.” This time must have been scary for her, but it seems like she kept her cool and it paid off.

  3. 3
    Nissa

    This is an interesting question. Now, I would say with absolute certainty that I “just knew” twice in my life. But when I say that, I don’t mean that I knew the relationship would be serious or that it would last forever. Not at all. What I mean when I say that, is that I knew MY feelings would last and that I could love this person forever. And that has held true – I’ve never fallen out of love once I’ve fallen in. I continue to love all of them, even though the relationships have ended. I don’t esteem them or respect them as once I did, but the love continues.

    When other women say “they just know” do they mean something different?

  4. 4
    Ms MC

    Thanks for sharing this Evan, it’s a very interesting and touching story, and also shows how situations aren’t black and white, and are shaped by real life (ie you were both under a bit more pressure due to age and wanting kids).

    Like Nicole at #2 above, I would love to hear more from your wife’s perspective. I think it would be really useful to hear what is was about your communication that made you both hang in there.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      I can tell you my wife’s perspective:

      It’s alarming to hear from your boyfriend that he really has no idea if he wants to marry you, but that he’s putting pressure on himself to decide quickly. It’s a very powerless place to be. To her credit, she didn’t act any different around me because there was nothing different for her to do. I let her know I was actively wrestling with my choice, and for all it hurt to hear that I wasn’t “positive,” she appreciated my honesty. Rather than freaking out, acting clingy, being needy, or grilling me on my decision, she just kept being the same person I dated for 16 months and she let me draw my own conclusion. The thing she loved about me is my honesty – it may be hard to hear at times, but it’s far better to have an open, communicative boyfriend than what she had before – a husband who lied and cheated on her.

      So there was nothing to really “hang in there” on. At 16 months, I knew I had to shit or get off the pot. I wish I had another year to decide, but I didn’t – not if I wanted the possibility of having 2 kids. So I put the pressure on myself (notice SHE put NO pressure on me) to figure this out and I came to a conclusion in San Francisco that felt good. We got married 6 months later, and I still wasn’t “SURE” because I didn’t have that “FEELING” that I thought one should have when getting married. It wasn’t until 6 months after the wedding when we had our miscarriage that something clicked in me – and I’ve been 100% blissful and confident in my decision ever since.

      This is why no one should ever rush into marriage – because when you “just know” you’re often wrong, and when you don’t “just know,” it doesn’t mean something is wrong. It just means you’re not blinded by chemistry and are seeing things really clearly.

      1. 4.1.1
        ScottH

        What about her decision to accept your proposal?  When did she decide that she wanted to marry you?  When did she realize that she was lucky to have you (when did she click)?  I would imagine that if I was crazy about someone and she told me she was unsure of me, it would kind of damp my feelings toward her.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          She said yes when I was on my knee with a ring. I don’t believe she “just knew”; if anything, she’s not a worrier or a future thinker. She stays in the present. We both knew we loved each other; the main thing getting in the way was my own internal confusion. My wife smartly chose not to take this personally (out of fear/pride), but just saw it as another data point. I told her I wanted to have kids and knew I had to make A decision and I did that within 2-3 weeks of stating my confusion. It’s not like I left her hanging for months/years. I was just a guy wrestling out loud with his own decisions. Some guys keep their feelings a secret. I didn’t. My wife is grateful. As am I.

    2. 4.2
      Ms MC

      Thanks Evan for expanding on this with your wife’s perspective, it’s very useful to hear how you two self-aware, mature people handled this. There are certain parallels with my current situation, so it’s particularly interesting.

  5. 5
    Gigi

    Thank you for the podcast.

    Your story is the story that many of us single ladies would like for ourselves. We would love a guy who says, I could find a younger woman, I could find a prettier woman, I could find a more successful woman but I value the woman that is with me and I want to marry her as soon as possible so that we can start a family and life together. I think this is what many of us single women dream would happen for us.

    Many of us, me included and had exactly the opposite experience.

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      a) That’s why you keep on going
      b) That’s why you continue to work on being the kind of woman that no man can live without.
      c) That’s why you change your choice of men – from men who undervalue you to men who properly value you.

  6. 6
    Mina

    Wow! I’ve been listening to this podcast for a few months now, and I have to say that this is the best one yet. There is such incredible wisdom and beauty in the story you tell of you and your wife, Evan.

    It’s quite sad how society has programmed us to live in the perpetual fantasy that love is this thing that we “just know” or that has to feel a certain way for it to be true and real. This way of thinking is really boring when you think about it because it makes “love” this thing that doesn’t come out of anything organic within us and those we engage with, but rather it comes from preconceived notions…

    I think there is so much growth that can come out of “not knowing”, and more importantly, of letting ourselves sit with the discomfort of indecision.

    Thank you for sharing!

     

     

  7. 7
    Sara

    Sitting here crying in my car as I finish up this podcast. I’m 38, the chemistry & checklist chaser, and still recovering from my last dynamic (read: dramatic) relationship with the alcoholic charismatic (likely cheating) studmuffin. And I’m STILL emotionally chained to him. Thanks for reminding me that real relationships aren’t based on attraction, rather quality of character. I can’t get the free trial link to work, but I’ll keep trying. Cuz it sounds like I need it. Thanks

  8. 8
    Rose

    This made perfect sense to me, my ex boyfriend was a maximiser. We were in a really settled, live in relationship but he couldn’t make the decision to marry me. I guess he was looking for someone better on paper than me.

    Still hurts after a year but I’m hopeful I’ll meet someone else. Just hard to be 35 and accept that I have lost my fertile years to this man. Dating at 30 was so much easier, I can definitely tell that the pool of good men has reduced significantly as many have settled down

  9. 9
    Lilly

    I’m getting smarter emotionally with you Evan, thank you for sharing your experience. I sometimes feel like I’m crazy for wanting more and better, and hoping for more and better. This cause me unhappiness with my boyfriend. But I understand now that it’s totally normal to feel like that, I just wish to find my switch like you did, to stop these thoughts in my head and try to enjoy what’s in front of me. Thank you so much

  10. 10
    loubelle

    My ex was a massive future faker with me and i only really realised ‘fully’ after it had ended (after 5 years together). He came into the relationship with tremendous baggage (exes cheating on him, narcissistic family, self harm, mental health issues) i feel for the pity me stories and thought well im not like the ‘others’, my mistake putting myself and heart out there to prove myself to someone who didnt deserve it. i gave him my time, energy, i gave up my life tbf, to help him trust women again, in repayment, he went out on 2 occasions with 2 single ‘new’ friend women whilst with me saying he just wanted to ‘understand women’ (erm im a woman), poor excuses as i see it now was to weigh up the women and see which was best of the bunch (he also had low self esteem and needed validation all the time from others, he needed to be adored to measure his self worth…nuts!). shambolic way of treating your partner. He was also in touch with both his ex wife and ex girlfriend (both cheated and last one gave him sti *so he said*), until i said no, not happening. he flirted with other women in front of me and them to him lol, he gave off the message he was available thats all i can see it as, he also had severe E.D (so i dunno what was going on). He is very very ‘damaged’ and would disappear at any sign of me addressing any issues. however, he hoovered me, wanted me to meet family asap, wanted to live together (he was still at his parents age 32 – 36), told me everything as a woman i wanted to hear ( i now know it was to keep me around, until..). He promised breaks away after insurance money came (no break away came), never planned any trips, etc, i planned it all. i was such a fool at the time. ALL the time for 5 years my gut was saying he is not good for you, leave, there is something off. i didnt listen to myself. i thought it was my insecurity lol. it certainly wasnt. It was my emergency radars going off for 5 years. He came across as a nice thoughtful spiritual man but it was a front, he gave this persona to attract women and to keep them or at least get his claws in so it was difficult for them to leave. He lied alot, worked with women then lied about working with women (why?). He made promises and backtracked. The worst one was we will move in together when i move out my parents (constantly stated this, i even bought stuff for the new place and we went shopping), when that time came after 4 years together and he got his new place he completely backtracked he said ” i want to see if i can stand on my own 2 feet beforehand”. so 4 years on and he moved into his own house on his own. i was heartbroken, felt unworthy, felt used and all those other things. i still stayed around for another year. he never asked me to move in, i see now i was a girl until whoever else comes along whos ‘better’. I gave him 6 months, and he never made the decision to move in together, always excuses, (i did say if everyone waited for perfect moment then no one would move in or have kids etc). i gave him another 6 month (i know how silly that sounds, i see it now) geez i was such a strong woman, independant, caring, kind etc, i changed so much with hurt. after 5 years together i dumped him, although i feel he was too coward to do it himself and felt he wanted exactly that, for me to end it so he could go onto the next one with another self pity story of another ex! when most of it was him! i now doubt stories he told me of the exes, i feel they left him because he was insufferable, difficult to talk to and he was a user. He has been the most manipulating man i have ever met, and calculating. He is like 2 different people. He had gone to his brothers week before i finished it all (quite a way away), and i feel he met someone else there, as he got back and was different and started talking driving lessons (never mentioned it once in 5 years for benefit of us). gosh he was one selfish man. very insular (unless it benefited him solely). i know i paint a bad picture and this does not even touch even a small percentage of the issues he had (and i had, i put up with this 4 years longer than i should have), im telling it how it was. his family hated me but they are all co dependants and hated anyone with a sense of ‘self’ to be involved in their family incase of ‘fallout’ or lets call it someone who saw it for what it was, a dysfunctional dynamic where family members pull each other down, it was alien to me, my family are great and straight forward even with their faults. gosh his family were so cruel to me. i cannot believe how stupid, naive and foolish i was to stay that long! i am far from a pity me person and i do think well i added to it by….ALLOWING IT for so long, so in relation to this article, use your head, take it slow because these sort of guys hoover us so bad to get us in quickly, if he promises so much initially and professes marriage kids etc too soon then be very wary. Follow your heart whilst always using your head. AND….i wish i had trusted my gut feeling on this relationship. Sometimes trust your gut instinct and start asking questions. If they are textbook answers, please leave.

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