What you see is what you get, but not when it comes to ATTRACTION.
Without question, there is a match out there for everyone and you can find that person. The first step is knowing what you are looking for in a potential partner and taking some inventory of your past relationships, so you are self-aware enough to know at least some of the pitfalls you want to avoid.
Most people start with the obvious, physical attraction. Is this person cute? Sexy? Would I want to kiss him/her? We each go through a myriad of questions we ask ourselves, rapid-fire in the brain, that help us consider if this new person could turn into a potential partner or not. Most people believe that physical attraction is the number one reason we select a mate. However, in reality, it is not even a universal concept at all. We are all attracted to different things in a potential partner.
Physical qualities are animated by the temperament contribution of mood, mannerisms and body language. It is amazing how cute a personalized quirk can be transformed into an endearing love quality when all the other attraction factors match up. Those wordless gestures are much more potent when deciding on your most intimate relationship. Think about it. Would you rather watch a Baywatch model on TV or would you rather run into a person you kind of like and have them send you a crooked smile and playful wink? We all have little micro-behaviors and messages we send out without even being aware of it. It is these engaging qualities that draw one in and drive us to attach.
Why would anyone choose the more superficial quality of physical attraction, alone? Interestingly, we all think that physical attraction is what drives us to choose a particular partner. The truth is that the part of our brain that allows us to consider someone as a loving mate, is actually not linked to the visual center of our brain. In reality, attraction is most strongly sensed by the olfactory center of the brain. Yes, it’s true, you are unconsciously drawn to someone by how they smell to you!!! To complicate things even more, not everyone is attracted to the same pheromone concoction, so you can’t just slap on a bottle of perfume or cologne and attract romance.
This process is very personal. We often cannot explain our attraction to someone because it is so deeply rooted in our primal brain. We just know we “like” someone, we don’t usually recognize what trait it is that draws us in. Everyone knows the physically fit person, with the perfect smile and symmetrical face, should be who we want as a mate, but rarely do any of us choose that person over the average man or woman. More often than not, physical attraction is not what has us craving connection. Intimacy is found far beyond the surface. It is really okay, just go with it, you don’t have to understand it or explain it. When you feel it, a draw towards a person, you will know because you will probably want to pull that person in and inhale, instead of push them back and just look at them. There is the first sign, it’s not about your eyes. True physical and emotional attraction is not about what you see. So, as you continue your quest to find the perfect match, close your eyes and follow your nose.
These materials and all discussions of these materials are for educational purposes only and do not constitute medical or mental health advice. The presenter is not your mental health or medical service provider. If you need medical or mental health care or advice, we encourage you to contact your doctor or therapist, or you can contact your insurance company for a referral. Reproduction or use requires written consent of Dr. Kristin Beasley.