All of us are attracted to a certain type that stops us dead in our tracks, be it a physical type, an emotional type, or a personality type. Let’s say that there is a “spectrum of attraction,” from 1 to 10; the people at the far end aren’t physically or romantically attracted to us at all, but those at the upper end are icons—they’re compellingly attractive, leaving us weak in the knees and triggering both our longing and our insecurity.
Harville Hendrix, the founder of Imago Therapy, illuminates this phenomenon in a way that sheds light on our entire intimacy journey. He teaches that these people are so attractive to us in part because they embody not only the best but also the worst emotional characteristics of our parents.
All of us have unresolved childhood hurts due to betrayal, anger, manipulation, or abuse. Unconsciously, we seek to heal through our partner. And we try to achieve this healing by bonding with someone we sense might hurt us in similar ways to how we were hurt as children, in the hope that we can then convince him or her to finally love and accept us.
Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which remind us of how we were wounded the most.
In my experience, people who only date those on the high end of their attraction spectrum are much more likely to remain single. By contrast, however, attraction to people in the middle of our spectrum is rarely immediate; it usually takes more time to get a sense of how interested we really are in such people.
People who are willing to date in the mid-range are more likely to find real and lasting love. It’s not a matter of selling out, because immediate attraction isn’t the best forecaster of future passion. Intense immediate attractions can blind us to the actual quality of our interactions with others, and to the actual characters of the people we date.
Or, to put the above in simple terms:
Please, learn to date with your brain — not your heart, or something even further south…
The ridiculously bad (and impermanent) state of marriages in North America almost screams out how poorly the latter two options have been working…Read more