deconstructing attraction

Most of us are pretty good at noticing when we’re attracted to someone. And often, we don’t take the time to analyze why or what it all means. So let’s take a moment to break this down:

  • There’s the obvious physical attraction, which may have to do with appearance, style, smile, eyes, pheromones or any number of other external characteristics.
  • There’s intellectual attraction, which I’ll define as getting turned on by the way someone thinks or expresses himself, and is often experienced when you get the feeling you could talk to the guy forever and never get bored. Of course, this needn’t require the object of affection to be a genius. Sometimes simply being able to hold a conversation and have presence and attention is enough. And we’ll lump those things into this category.
  • And there’s emotional attraction. It’s a bit slippery to try to define this one, because for women it often gets muddled right into the other two without a lot of thought. We often mistake an intellectual connection for an emotional bond. In fact, many of us (both men and women) use the words “think” and “feel” interchangeably at times.

Yet I’ve been learning that there’s a distinct difference for men. Men can be attracted physically and intellectually to a wonderful woman, and still not feel an emotional connection to her. They may want enjoy conversation with her, totally want to bone her and still not be drawn to her. (All this is the summary version of what I’ve learned on relationship expert Chris Carter’s site.)

As both an intelligent and highly physical women, this is a difficult concept for me to get my arms around. I never thought too much about it, because chemistry seemed to come so easily and naturally for me — and it was usually mutual. But I am beginning to understand my part in emotionally attracting men, which is to use those “I feel” statements relationship expert Rori Raye talks about. Learning to do so is forcing me to be more authentic and in the moment in all of my daily interactions, whether with men or women, in person or over the phone.

While this way of communicating is not entirely intuitive to me and I sometimes have to think about it, I like the response I’m getting. I can feel myself drawing others in. And maybe somewhere along the way I’ll draw in some special guy with some super ninja emotional magnetism!

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