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Attraction or Love or What?

Synopsis: Attraction/love confusion problems; understanding attraction systems; nature’s way; sexuality attracts but love bonds; insecurity issues; sharing attraction system pleasures.

Attraction/Love Confusion Problems

“Where can I go to live, where I’d like to live and where there are no redheads?  I know it sounds crazy but, you see, I fall in love with just about every redhead I meet.  I’ll never be able to settle down and stay faithful because the next redhead will come along and I won’t be able to resist this ‘falling in love thing’ I do with redheads.”

Does this person really have a ‘fall in love’ with redheads problem?  No, not really.  This person appears to have a ‘fall in’ multiple, perhaps serial, attraction issue which they are confusing with real love.  I suspect this person hasn’t gotten even close to having anything like a true ‘love’ problem.  It would seem they, like many, may not have learned to clearly perceive, understand, and think about the big differences between love (the healthy, real kind) and mere attraction.

There are lots of other ways that the love/attraction confusion causes problems.  To really see that, read a few more quotes.  “I’m getting wrinkles, getting gray hair and looking older.  I’m really afraid my husband will quit loving me when I look old, and then he will fall in love with someone who looks like I did when I was 20, and he will leave me for her.”  The woman who said that did not understand that it is not looks, but love, that best holds couples together over time.

“My wife has recently developed this thing for young men with swimmer’s bodies, you know, the long, lean, smooth-stretched muscle types.  I don’t look anything like that, so does this mean she doesn’t love me anymore and she’s really looking for somebody else?  The answer to this man’s question is “probably not”.  It just likely means that her attraction dynamics direct her toward having some enjoyment and maybe mild, fantasy fun thinking about ‘swimmer’ types, but probably she loves her husband dearly.  Her love of her husband is far more important than any simple, physical attraction dynamics, and maybe some reassurance of that fact is in order.

“My guy can’t stop staring at other women, and looking at pictures of naked females and stuff like that.  Does this mean he doesn’t really love me?  He swears he would never cheat on me, and it’s just the way he’s wired.  I want to believe him but my girlfriends tell me not to trust him”.  Usually this sort of statement suggests that the woman saying it is insecure about her own attraction power, and she is confusing her man’s ‘natural attraction dynamics system’ with his couple-type love for her.  She also may have been conditioned by society, and/or her family, to incorrectly think love always alters a person’s attraction habits.  Who we are naturally attracted to, and who we love can be two very different things.

Attraction can lead to a relationship getting started but then, in the long run, love has to take over to keep it going.  Once love is strong enough it keeps couples together into old age.  But often a couple’s attraction habits, which were established before the couple met, remain the same and operate independently.  A couple who can share what they are in the habit of being attracted to usually are a much stronger couple than those who can’t share because they fear triggering insecurity and jealousy in their mate.  One more thing.  Listening to friends advising mistrust really just may be listening to fear-based, mistaken perceptions.

“My wife keeps wanting me to watch romantic porn with her, and then role-play being the guy we just watched while she plays the female.  She tells me it’s all just sexy, fantasy fun, but I can’t help wondering if this means she is on her way to searching for love with somebody else”.  This quote suggests a man who would do well to study what love really is as opposed to attraction.  It also may point to a man who could use a little more healthy, self love and/or a little more reassurance from his wife that he is the one she really wants to love and play with, and the rest is just a way to do that.

Understanding Attraction Systems

The above examples just are a small sample of the many ways that confusion between ‘love’ and ‘attraction’ helps mess up relationships.  Here’s what research suggests explains our attractions systems and the way they operate.

A large percentage of males, and a smaller but still significant percentage of females are genetically ‘hard wired’ to be attracted primarily by sexy, visual stimuli.  A large percentage of females, and a smaller but still significant percentage of males are genetically ‘hard wired’ to be attracted primarily by sexy, verbal/auditory stimuli.  That is why men’s porn is largely pictorial and women’s verbal or written.  Other people’s attraction systems may be primarily tactile, kinetic, olfactory or a variety of balanced combinations of the above.  Of course, there are those whose attraction systems are primarily oriented to anyone, and everyone, who are in some way quite powerful, intensely feminine or masculine, highly sociable, high in status or popularity, or attracted to personal characteristics like intelligence, kindness, being humorous, artistically talented, individualistic, stable, protective, sexy, etc.

The existence of love in a relationship doesn’t necessarily change a person’s attraction system, especially if it is quite strong.  If you are strongly attracted visually or auditorily only, or in any other way, you likely will stay that way, whether or not you deeply, romantically love someone or not.  Therefore, when you encounter someone who activates your natural, inbuilt attraction system you will observe and enjoy observing what you are attracted by.  The enjoyment comes from your brain making neurochemical compounds that cause pleasure sensations when your attraction system is activated.  This is not love.  It is your attraction system at work, doing what it’s supposed to do.

Nature’s Way

Humans are built by nature to have many attraction experiences.  This seems especially true for humans with various ‘strengths’.  By strengths we mean those who have strong attributes or desirable qualities like leadership, assertiveness, the tendency to ascend and succeed, all sorts of different talents, sociability and of course ‘baby making and bearing’ potential.  We are built by nature to enjoy both being attracted to others and being attractive to others.  The enjoyment reinforces the attraction system and its operations.

Long ago when there were far fewer of us this system helped especially strong males plant their ‘seed’ in a lots of different females, and helped especially desirable females get ‘seed’ planted in them from men with lots of varying, strong qualities.  That helped mix the gene pool and create more and more humans with various strengths.  That, in turn, assisted humans in becoming the dominant species on the planet, so the system worked quite well.

Our love systems also were incredibly important for helping us to survive, cooperate, protect and nurture one another, plus a lot more.
Healthy, real love can develop after attraction brings people into contact but there are lots of times when it does not.  This is one of the ways we know that ‘attraction’ and ‘love’ are different.  Love can influence attraction to a loved one to grow, broaden, deepen and keep happening.

Sexuality Attracts, Love Bonds

Attraction can be partially defined as that which draws people or things together, or pulls toward it that which is ready and free to be attracted.  Attraction brings things together so they have a chance to form a connection but attraction is not the connection itself.  It takes healthy, real love to hold a couple together once they have made a love connection.  Mutual attraction helps people go ‘psychologically toward’ each other and want to keep going toward each other.  If healthy, real love develops a couple may become love-bonded and stay together but if healthy, real love does not develop they will, in time, likely split up.

Those who worry about losing their mates because they have ‘lost their good looks’ would do better to worry about how well they are doing love.  Those who jointly love well tend to stay together and those who don’t – mostly don’t stay together.  There is nothing wrong in doing what can be done to stay physically , sexually, or in any other way attractive, unless it detracts from the more important issue of giving and receiving of healthy, real love.  Of course, there are unions in which things, other than love, are of paramount importance.  Sex object wives, success object husbands, trophy wives, sugar daddy lovers and husbands, and status entry spouses are classical examples of other reasons people join together.

Insecurity issues

Do you have self-security and love relationship security?  These two things go together quite nicely.  Are you insecure about your desirability or your ability to give and get healthy, real love?  Let me suggest security in couple’s love is best attained by love not by looks or anything else.  Therefore, the self-secure, healthfully self loving individual has a great advantage over the insecure and the less love-able.  The self-secure tend to avoid damaging their love-mate relationships with fear-based actions, like trying to keep a spouse from looking at attractive others, enjoy flirting with others, having fun with wide ranging sexiness, being around other attractive people, having jealous fits and practicing restrictive control via religiosity, shaming or guilt tripping.  Most of those attempted restrictions usually backfire and make your chances of losing somebody larger, not smaller.

Sharing Attraction System Pleasures

In a solid, healthy, love-based relationship people can share the joys of their own and their love mate’s attraction systems.  Here’s an example.  Harriet said, “I so enjoy pointing out sexy women to my husband and teasing him about what excites him.  He is so cute when he’s both embarrassed and turned on.  I’m not threatened by other females because I know our love is strong, and sharing what excites us makes for intimate, special fun that draws us even closer together.  I really like my man being a real man.  Real men are turned on by lots of women, just like us real women can let ourselves be turned on by different guys.  It’s all just harmless, naughty fun.  Both of us get off on sharing each other’s lusting and just appreciating how others are attractive.  It makes us closer and never afraid because we create our security by sharing everything.”

Well, dear reader have you given much thought to understanding the differences between love and attraction?  Have you been getting the two of them mixed up with each other?  Have people been attracted to you and thought it was love?  Have you been flattered by someone finding you attractive or have you had your ego boosted and then thought they were in love with you, or began to wonder if you could love the person being attracted to you?  There’s lots here that you might want to consider.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question What are you going to do the next time you are rather strongly, sexually attracted to a new somebody.  Are you going to do guilt and confess it, enjoy it, fantasize it, deny it, hide it, ignore it, share it, or go after it?

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