What happens when you meet someone new; someone you think is decent, kind, and attractive—but you’re not sure you feel enough “chemistry” with them?
What do you do?
If you’re new to the dating scene, you may decide to stop seeing this person, thinking that this means this isn’t the right person for you. Maybe you believe that it’s just black and white; you either feel attraction or you don’t. (I’ll explain later why this either/or thinking is a mistake.)
If you’ve been single for a long time, and longing to be partnered, you may not want to let go of this new relationship just yet. Maybe you’ve been hurt by someone who wasn’t available, or you have a tendency to get too attached to people who are toxic. So the mere fact that this person is available and seems to have a good character is enough to make you think twice before dismissing them as a romantic partner.
Maybe this person is someone who has the potential to make you happy—but then again, you don’t want to “settle” for someone unless you know you can love them passionately.
All these considerations cause you to waffle. One day you’re into this new person, and the next day you’re doubting your attraction again. One day it’s yes, and the next day it’s no.
What’s the right thing to do, you wonder?
If your desire is to be in love with a good person and create a healthy, happy relationship, there’s something you should know. And it’s this:
You can be in a relationship with a good person AND feel deep love and intense erotic attraction for them, too. In this article, I’ll explain why you have a choice in this matter, and why healthy attractions sometimes don’t feeling fantastically erotic—but can certainly become so over time.
First, an important caveat: We can’t force sexual or romantic attraction for someone just because we know they’re good for us. We may recognize that they’re available, consistent, mature, and kind. But if we feel nothing for them, we can’t force ourselves to feel something.
If there’s not a spark, there’s not a spark.
But there’s one important distinction when I say “spark”:
Some people say they feel a “spark” when they feel immediate intense chemistry and sexual attraction for someone. They meet someone and they have this warm, yummy, “I want this person” feeling.
My definition of a spark is a feeling that’s less intense than that. It’s more of an “ember.” It’s the thought that, yes, this person is okay. They’re not a complete turn-off. I’m not getting a sense of “eewww” when I look at them. They’re attractive ENOUGH.
So if there’s no spark, no ember—not even an inkling of attraction—you can’t force it.
But if there is a spark, we can blow wind on that spark to turn it into a blazing fire. We can add paper, twigs, and even gasoline to nourish and ignite that spark.
The reason it’s important for you to know this is possible is that you want to encourage and maintain those attractions of inspiration—in other words, attractions to people who inspire you and relationships that nourish your soul.
In the past, you may have given too much of your heart to attractions of deprivation—or those relationships that never quite gel the way we want them to, despite our wild sexual chemistry. This person may be your perfect “type”, but they can never love you the way you want to be loved because they’re unavailable, or unkind, or absent.
These attractions of deprivation can linger. They can distract you and keep you single for years, even decades. I know, because this happened to me. I used to have a certain “type,” and unfortunately, this type didn’t appreciate the real me.
I loved their cockiness, and they disliked my softness. They thought I was too sensitive. I couldn’t change who I was without disavowing my authenticity. It could never work.
But when I met my husband, I knew that there was potential there. Here was a man who was kind and generous, and yes, there was definitely a spark. I was able to blow on that spark to create a big, passionate, enduring love that changed the course of my life.
The researcher Dr. Eli Finkel wrote an article for the New York Times in which he said that essentially the more you get to know someone, the more the chemistry between the two of you takes over and what you consider “attractive” changes.
Now, obviously, there are limits to that, but it’s an important thing to know that this can happen. Sometimes, you can just start out having a friendship with someone, and the more you bond, the more exciting and tender your relationship can become.
Has this ever happened to you? You grew attracted to someone the more you got to know them. You didn’t think this person was your type when you first met, but then one day, you saw something in them. It’s the way the light fell on their face, the way they smiled at you, the way they took hold of your hand when you dared to be vulnerable with them.
And that’s a good thing because we can then choose the kind of person with whom to fall in love.
We don’t have to fall victim to those attractions of deprivation, where we’re always trying to get someone to love us right.
We can also choose to stay far away from the really dangerous attractions; the ones in which we feel weak-in-the-knees and almost crazy in our desire for a person that’s clearly not good for us. These types of intense, instant attractions signal that there’s an unconscious recognition in our psyche that this person may well hurt us in the same way we were hurt by our primary caregiver.
They will abandon or reject us, for example, the same way we were abandoned, rejected or ignored as children.
Part of the reason we’re so drawn to these people is because we unconsciously want to “go back to the scene of the original crime” and fix what happened in the past by getting this new person to "love us right."
This is a recipe for disaster!
That’s why knowing how to cultivate our attractions of inspiration—to people who are decent and available—is so important.
You can heal your entire life in the process of healing your attractions. Why?
Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the deep skills of intimacy. And the deep skills of intimacy are the greatest skills for a happy, rich, meaningful life.
These are skills and techniques I’ve been developing for decades in my career as a psychotherapist, and have taught to countless individuals in my private practice.
But I can’t possibly work individually with everyone who needs this kind of help. That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all singles who are longing to find a life partner can benefit from these insights and tips.
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Learning about your relationship patterns and transforming them in order to attract healthier relationships can mean the difference between years of loneliness and decades of relationship bliss. That’s because finding lifelong love is one of the greatest, most important journeys of your entire life.
And it’s one of the great privileges of my life to share what I’ve learned about this path.
The advice contained in the articles I’ve written for Flourish will help you see why you’ve been attracting certain types of relationship your entire adult life, why you may not have felt a true sense of romantic connection, and what it really takes to set your soul free in love.
I can’t wait to share all this with you!