Shrinky’s Guide to Finding Love: There Is No Such Thing as Chemistry or Attraction
Shoshana’s Comments: The key to starting a relationship off right is to avoid using chemistry or attraction as a gauge of future potential. I know from experience they can be deceptive. In fact, instant chemistry or attraction can lead you to miss some of the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that your date is NOT the one for you. I’ve seen chemistry or attraction grow over time in couples that were willing to take a chance. Dr. Berger has produced yet another informative article.
Author: Dr. Glenn Berger, PhD
As a psychotherapist, I have many clients who are searching for love. When I ask them what they are looking for in a partner, they will usually start by saying, “I want someone I’m attracted to.”
Unfortunately, when I ask them their reaction upon meeting a new person, they will almost invariably say, “I’m not attracted to them, or, we don’t have any chemistry.”
I have always been mystified by these statements. What is this strange thing called chemistry? Why is it first on everyone’s list? Why, especially for those I work with who have a hard time finding love, is it so hard to find this “chemistry?”
I have recently come up with an idea that finally makes sense of this whole thing. This idea also suggests some ways that you can work on yourself to improve the likelihood that you will find the love you want, if that is what you are searching for in your life.
For all too many people, attraction seems to me to be one of the most unreliable measures of finding the relationship you want. We are very often attracted to exactly the wrong people. Is this purely a sexual thing? Is it completely based on looks? I don’t think so. Just look at your friend’s relationship choices.
Why is it that people who have a hard time finding love often find themselves attracted to people who are not available, and can’t seem to find anyone who is? Why do they find themselves unable to get out of relationships where their needs are clearly not being met, but can’t seem to get interested in anyone who will meet their needs?
The trickiest mystery about attraction is that is appears to be something we have no control over. Ask anyone and they will say that they are either attracted to someone or not. We all experience this as something that happens to us. Chemistry either happens or it doesn’t. If you are attracted to the wrong people, you’re just not lucky.
When you believe this, it feels like all you can do is wait for the “right” person to come along. You hope that a person will magically appear who you feel chemistry with who feels the same thing for you and is also a suitable life mate. If that doesn’t happen you are exonerated from blame, because this is all some mystery beyond your control.
We Create Chemistry or Attraction
Here is where I want to suggest an idea so radical, so different, that it may seem entirely implausible. Attraction, chemistry, isn’t something that just “happens.” It is something – albeit unconsciously – that you create, that you make happen. There is no such thing as “chemistry or attraction.” Really what is happening is that we are controlling our own emotional responses, out of our awareness.
How do I know? Having worked with many individuals and couples over the years, I am struck by the fact that every single person has their own relationship style. From the same pool of available partners, some people easily meet people and form quick bonds with them, but grow bored easily. Some can’t seem to meet anyone at all. Others fall in love and create lasting, good bonds. Some people only get into relationships with people who are bad for them. Some people find good partners but have a hard time making a commitment.
Why does everyone have such different experiences with relationship? The truth is we create these experiences more than we know.
How do we create our experiences? We all carry around a “map” of the world, and a “map” of ourselves. We expect the world to be a certain way, and we expect ourselves to be a certain way. When we have experiences that don’t fit into this map, most often we will do what we can to make the information fit. What do I mean?
For example, let’s say you hate yourself and you say the world is full of untrustworthy people. You meet someone who is nice and kind. You can’t believe that such a thing exists, so you don’t notice the person. Or, you tell yourself it’s not true, and you think the person is bad.
When you meet someone who fits your picture of yourself and the world, it rings a bell. If you meet someone who treats you bad, it confirms how you think of yourself and others. You tell yourself, “this is what I deserve.”
This can work for attraction, too. If you meet someone who doesn’t fit into the picture, you don’t have a response. It just doesn’t make sense. You don’t feel chemistry or attraction. But if you meet someone who fits the bill of someone who will treat you badly, you find it exciting, because it feels like home.
Why don’t people feel attraction to someone who is good for them? Usually it is because of fear. Instead of feeling the fear that goes along with something that doesn’t fit the picture, or map, we have of ourselves and the world, we shut down. Shutting down is what we do when there is a risk of feeling fear. Instead of feeling fear, we feel nothing.
We don’t realize we are shutting ourselves down. It just feels like we are “not attracted” to, or have no “chemistry” with that person.
The Secret to Finding Love is Creating Chemistry or Attraction
I’m not trying to say that you should be willing to get into a relationship with anyone. What I am saying is that when we are coming from a place of love instead of fear, it is easy to feel attracted to more and more people. As we become more and more aware of our emotions and what drives our emotions we have more choice.
When we are open-hearted, we have available to us a pool of an endless number of people to whom we are attracted. Then, instead of feeling like we are at the mercy of some mysterious thing called “chemistry,” that almost never happens, instead we can make a choice about the best person to be in a relationship with.
The solution to finding someone to love is not finding someone to whom you are “attracted.” The answer is to love yourself, and open your heart, and if you do you’ll find that you feel chemistry with the whole world.
About the Author
Glenn Berger, PhD,is a psychotherapist with 15 years experience in private practice. His invention, “Shrinky” gives you virtually what any good psychotherapist offers:
Support – All the information you need.
Advice- Ask Shrinky any questions about the issues of life.
Wisdom – Inspiration to help you on the journey.
Love – Connection, understanding, empathy, and acceptance.
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