Is He Cheating? Your Gut Knows the Answer

Photo: Susan GuillettePhoto: Susan GuilletteIt was late summer 2009: I was walking on a Long Island beach with my boyfriend, Mark*, and some friends. When I saw Mark sit down next to his friend Dana on a craggy rock, a sudden electric shock traveled straight up the center of my body. It was so visceral it made me stumble. And then my mind flashed to a recent dream I'd had of Dana sitting on Mark's lap as he rode a bike.

"Don't be crazy", I chided myself, turning to watch the surfers in the water. "They're just friends."

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But one night nine months later, after we'd turned off our bedroom lights, Mark confessed that he and Dana had had an affair. I was furious at him for lying to me, but as I remembered the flash I'd had at the beach, I realized I was a liar, too. I'd been deceiving myself all along.

Two weeks later, I moved out-and promised myself to pay much closer attention to my gut, even if all it was saying was "Turn left!" And with this intention, everything has changed.

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One afternoon I overheard a woman saying she wasn't sure when her friend's birthday was, and to my surprise, an answer landed in my head: today. I don't know if I was right or wrong, but I felt a quiet humming in my chest, and thought, "This must be what it feels like to trust your gut."

During an e-mail exchange with Mark in the weeks after we broke up, I had a nagging suspicion that he wasn't keeping the exchange confidential. "Can you assure me you won't show these e-mails to anyone?" I wrote. Although he said, "Yes," I later scrolled down the chain and saw a note he'd forgotten to delete-from his friend Sonya.

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Each time I had a flash, I realized that listening to it-or not-had consequences. Once, I got into a cab and suddenly remembered the dream I'd had the night before, about a taxi accident. As I tried to convince myself I was safe, the real-life cab rear-ended the car in front of us.

And while hunting for a new place to live, I had an overwhelmingly positive feeling about a Craigslist message from a woman named Grazia Vita ("Thank You Life") who was subletting a room in her apartment. It turned out that her building was one I'd happened to pass-and fall in love with-just the night before.

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My adventures in intuition even led me back to romance. After I decided on a whim to stop at a café I rarely went to, an attractive man struck up a conversation. Three hours later, he asked, "Can I take you to dinner?"

My brain wanted to say, "You hardly know him." "This could be a disaster." But by then, I knew better than to ignore the pleasant buzzing in my body. So I said yes. And I haven't had a single regret.

- Suzanne Guillette

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