Picture this: You go on a dating website, you start scanning through photos or looking through suggested ‘matches’, and you rule out some or even a lot based on not feeling an instant attraction. You might read through some profiles and even though they appear to have similar values, you don’t feel that ‘spark’ and so dismiss them.
With other profiles, they say stuff about themselves that rings your ‘hook’ bell – they mention being a churchgoer, or that they earn six figures, or that they’re educated at an elite university, or that they have a dog, are a family person, have loads of degrees, are supertastic intelligent, are a green campaigner, or quote from an obscure book that you love too. You fire off an email to them or if they’ve already made contact with you, you eagerly reply, feeling excited at possibly meeting just the type of person you’re looking for.
Out in the real world, you go on first dates and if you don’t feel a ‘spark’ and a ‘connection’, are immediately or by the end of the date, mentally saying “Sayonara” and bracing yourself to continue your quest. Or you feel disheartened that you still haven’t met that ‘someone’ with that ‘spark’…that you can also actually manage to have a relationship with.
It is fascinating that so many people are hung up on instant attraction, instant chemistry, instant spark, and basically this illusion of instant knowledge about a person that they either haven’t even met in the flesh or don’t even know.
- These people feel spark with a one-dimensional photograph.
- These people feel spark with words and even promises which in the cold light of day and in hindsight seem ridiculous to be made by someone they hardly knew.
- These people feel spark with what their sexual organs or their imagination tells them.
These very same people will protest that they ‘can’t’ go on a date with someone and will find it unlikely that their attraction and interest will grow, if they don’t feel it immediately. For them, attraction, love, chemistry and the whole kit and caboodle have a foundation in something of nothing. There seems to be an absence of spark with action.
What you don’t realise if you’re relying on ‘instant’ or very quick attraction, is that you’re saying that you can be attracted to and even fall in love with someone that you don’t know, but that you couldn’t become attracted to and fall in love with someone that you grew to know. Isn’t there something very odd about that? You can fall in love with the promise, but you couldn’t fall for the reality?
And here’s where it becomes very interesting: When you experience that instant/very quick attraction, what follows after is the discovery phase, where you hopefully get to know them in reality. What I’ve seen happen time and again, is that people who rely on this whole ‘instant’ thing, don’t adjust their view of the person, their level of trust, their ideas about a possible relationship, as they get to know them. They stick with their initial perception and they don’t reconcile it with reality.
When the person does things that directly contradict the image you have of them, you keep going back to the initial feelings and perceptions you had, as if this is ‘right’. It then means that aside from not feeling attracted to people who you don’t feel it ‘instantly’ with, you also won’t reduce your attraction to someone you felt it with immediately, even as you get to ‘know’ them and they’re not meeting your vision, hope, and expectations.
This puts you into a bit of a ‘no judgement’ quagmire where you will only rely on the immediate ‘information’ that you think you’ve gleaned, and won’t trust yourself to go through discovery and get to know someone, or to evaluate actions and situations, make a judgement, and ultimately make a decision. This is a very tricky place for you to be in. Don’t you want to have to use your eyes and ears? Don’t you want to have the option to choose healthily? Don’t you want to actually know someone in reality?
What you can immediately learn here if you’re doing this, is that in spite of the fact that you won’t do any ‘discovery’ and make healthy judgements, you actually give yourself far too much credit for your power of ‘instant’ judgement. What you glean in a moment or in a date, isn’t ‘all’ that you know.
This is the same issue that arises when you meet someone who possesses certain physical characteristics that float your boat along with other qualities, characteristics and apparent values and you over-correlate the information and assume that they not only possess other characteristics, qualities, and values that you like, but that they’ll also give you the relationship you want. It’s such an enormous assumption leap, it leaves a rather painful chasm between you both that will come back to bite you in the arse when you wonder “But we have so much in common so why the hell isn’t this relationship working?”
That’s why there are so many perplexed people wondering how someone who looks just how they’d like, or has an IQ off the Richter scale, or is Very Important In The Community, or Is Very Good At Their Job…either doesn’t have the ’emotional skills’ that are needed…or just isn’t interested in a mutual relationship.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling instantly attracted to someone…it’s just that you might want to take the meaning and the weighting that you apply to it down from a 20/10 to about a 5. There’s also such a thing as relationship insanity – if all you’ve ever done is go out with people who you feel the instant zsa zsa zu with and all it’s done is give you a proverbial ball or boob ache, there’s a message in there. It’s saying:
“Molly…[insert your name], slow your roll. Your mentality is that of someone who thinks they’re a love psychic. Now tell me, does your relationship history look like the fruits of telepathy? Just like the person who thinks that love is about having the power to change someone, you are giving yourself far greater powers to assess a person than you possess.”
If you don’t think you can grow attracted to someone, you’ll find that you won’t be that interested in truly getting to know someone whether you feel the attraction instantly or after knowing them for a while. That is a problem. This is why so many people struggle to get over a relationship where there were a lot of illusions.
And before anyone asks, no it’s not about forcing yourself to date someone that you have no interest in, but it is about making sure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail and/or repeating unhealthy patterns. If it feels familiar and you’ve had your fair share of dodgy experiences, it’s a warning sign, not excitement or ‘spark’.
Spend some time in group settings getting to know people (in reality not your imagination) without the pressure of ‘dating’. Address your beliefs about what you think being instantly attracted tells you and compare it with the reality of previous experiences and ask yourself if that is true. Particularly if you have a habit of dates, short flings, or being ‘hooked’ on your image of someone, I would also address how truly available you are – relying on instant attraction is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself out of a relationship.
What I can tell you, is that love, care, trust and respect are not something that’s gained immediately – they need time and action.
Check out my book and ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl which is perfect for anyone who keeps sticking with that ‘instant attraction’ and winding up in trouble, in my bookshop.