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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Attraction

I was talking to a friend last night when the topic of dating came up (as it often does). My friend asked me about my thoughts on attraction. It made me think more about attraction and how it works, so here goes – the Sweet Rose primer on attraction. I will be the first to admit that I don’t completely understand how attraction works. I think there are several different models which could happen between two people. The first model is the instant physical attraction between two people, often referred to as animal magnetism.

This level has very little to do with substance and a lot to do with hormones. You know how it is – you see someone across the room who you think looks really good, you catch their eye and smile; you might be bold enough to walk over to them and strike up a conversation. But when you start talking to them, you realize there is very little there besides a pretty face. Attraction usually fades with this realization, and though you can still appreciate the other person’s beauty, you are not necessarily so attracted to that person anymore. The next model is when you meet someone, you talk to them a bit and you acknowledge that they are pretty easy on the eyes; you feel some kind of pull towards them. You realize that there is something between the two of you; some kind of chemistry.

You wouldn’t mind getting to know this person better. You might get to know them better and things could get even better, or they could get worse. But you know that this person have something that draws you; that you wouldn’t mind having them around for a while. I think this type of attraction often stems from some kind of familiarity you recognize in the other person – they remind you of your opposite-sex parent (I know most people are probably saying “EW!” at that, but while it is not conscious, we are often attracted to someone who reminds us of a parent, because it is a familiar and comfortable feeling.), or someone from your past who you had a strong relationship with. This type of attraction can lead to bigger and better things, and can be the starting point for a great relationship. But it too can often fizzle out. There is one more type of attraction that happens, and while it might not be the most obvious, I think it is the most long-lasting. And this is what I was trying to explain to my friend, who told me that she often breaks up with a guy very quickly if she doesn’t find herself attracted to him right away. There have been plenty of times when I have gone out with someone who I didn’t find immediately, sweep-me-off-my-feet attractive. But then I talked to him, and got to know him. I saw what a kind person he was; how he treated others with respect. How our ideals and values were very similar. What an incredible husband and father he would be. And because I liked and respected him so much, my attraction for him grew tremendously. I would suddenly find myself very drawn to him, where initially I might not have been. I explained this to my friend and she asked me how long you should give a person to figure out whether this would happen. I told her she should give it at least a month, especially when you are seeing someone only once a week or even less. She was surprised; a month is a long time. But I think to take at least a month to really appreciate WHO the person is and let that appreciation turn into attraction is so important. Why is it so important? Because that kind of attraction will not fade with years and extra pounds. It will only grow. The essence of who someone is will not change with his hairline.

And the attraction you have to a person’s essence is an attraction that will make for an incredible marriage, and a solid foundation for a family.

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