You know this story: You meet a man and you’re instantly attracted to him in a “Oh, my goodness! I feel electricity bouncing all over me” way. You think, “Wow! It seems like we’ve known each other in another life. It feels so familiar with him.” The reality is you have met him before!
Western culture has taught us to believe that we know the minute we’ve met our soulmate and that we are meant to be together forever. Sorry to ruin this fairy-tale fantasy, but there are many reasons why instant attraction can backfire.
First, the good news: If you’re looking only for great sex, then instant attraction and chemistry might work just fine for you.
Now the bad news: If you are looking for a long-lasting love relationship, and your past relationships were unfulfilling, ended quickly or were unhealthy in any way, then instant attraction and chemistry will not work for you.
Why? With instant attraction, you are acting out a past pattern in your life—that’s why you feel like you’ve met him before. He’s triggering old feelings that are deeply rooted in you—an imprinting from your caregivers early in your life. You are recreating the early patterns when you desperately wanted and needed to be loved and cared for. It’s almost a panicky or anxious feeling to fill a void or hole that can get confused with love and connection. If you’re like 99 percent of us, your early imprinting wasn’t necessarily healthy, and likely could be contributing to relationship choices that aren’t working for you.
Peggy Bennett, a Seattle-area business owner of Straight to the Heart, also cautions women to hold off on having sex too early in a relationship. Bennett offers a personalized matchmaking service which is another option you might explore if you are weary of the online dating world and can afford it. She also provides advice on wardrobe and tips on body language.
If you’ve fallen victim to instant attraction, here are some things you can do:
- Become aware of your pattern. Think back to your past relationships. Make a list of the ones where you had this instant connection. What was it about him that felt so good? Where did you feel it in your body? How did this instant connection affect the relationship?
- What happened once the attraction wore off? How did you feel when you realized he wasn’t perfect and not the love of your life? Did you blame yourself or him?
- If you still find yourself fantasizing about meeting the love of your life in this “instant” way, ask yourself what this really means. Why do you believe this? Are you really ready for love or are you just romanticizing the idea of love and relationships? Are you addicted to the high feeling of euphoria that happens when you’re emotionally hijacked by your endorphins and the rush of adrenaline when you meet someone who’s attractive?
- Read about what sustains a long-lasting relationship that’s authentic and real. Learn about intimacy, vulnerability and trust, to name a few. You may find you actually have a fear of intimacy which is contributing to believing that instant attraction will still work.
- Get in touch with what you feel in your body and realize that when you have that panicky/anxious feeling, it’s your body trying to warn you to slow down and proceed cautiously, or maybe even run away.
My Seven Steps to Love Program can help you learn about your past patterns and how they impact your adult relationships, including the belief that instant attraction is necessary for love. You can also learn how to change your patterns and make smart dating decisions that are required on the path to long-lasting love. My program also includes extensive dating and wellness resources that can help raise your awareness around this and other typical obstacles to love and how to overcome them.