Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Choosing Attraction

I was recently discussing the demise of a friend’s relationship. Apparently there’s something in the water of late. My friend talked about the gradual loss of intimacy that had grown between him and his girlfriend. I know her too so I was trying to be impartial. Not so easy. They had both been frustrated by the lack of connection that festered at the core of their relationship. Neither had known quite how to solve it and so things had ended.

As a recently frustrated girl myself, I wanted to get at the “cooling off” from the guy’s point of view. As girls we’re raised to think guys are on all the time. No such thing as them not being in the mood. That’s a girl thing, right? Newsflash: turns out a guy’s mindset can in fact override what I assumed was a biological, gender-specific imperative.

“Sometimes I just didn’t find her attractive,” he shrugged.

Now, the girl in question is a babe so I fought the urge to squawk. As far as he was concerned, there existed the real phenomenon of being with a beautiful girl and simultaneously not finding her attractive.

“Sometimes she didn’t make much of an effort.”

Ah hah! Now we were to the heart of the matter. This put the onus on her to cause him to be attracted to her and what could he do about it if she didn’t make this happen? We had inadvertently hit upon what I think is the secret struggle of most modern relationships: the thinking that the causation of the relationship is up to the other person.

Having agonized over The Director for many moons, wondering what I was doing wrong that he wasn’t choosing me, a wise friend finally counseled me: if it’s the right guy, there is no way you can mess it up. And poof, I was free. If he was choosing someone else, he was clearly not the right guy for me and the fact we didn’t work out wasn’t due to anything I did or didn’t do right.

This all came back to me as I listened to my friend talk. And then the next piece: if that attraction – even love – is not based on what the other person does, what is it based on?

Ah hah number two. Try this on: besides being “right for each other,” when we fall in love, we don’t really fall in love with that other person and their actions or appearance BUT with the story we tell ourselves about that person’s actions and/or appearance.

Think about it. Who was the last celeb you had a crush on? Because you knew them? Maybe, but unlikely unless of course you live here in Tinseltown. More than likely your imagination created a possibility of what they could be like. Likewise, we meet a new person and get carried away with new hope. Based on what? The story we tell ourselves about what love with that person could be like.

As I look back over my history I can come up with juxtaposing examples of this. Once I fell for a guy because he was a rebel. Another boyfriend later repulsed me for the same reason. Was the degree of rebel-ness to blame? Or the story I told myself about how a rebel did or didn’t fit into my life based on who I was and what I wanted at the time?

The bottom line? On a super subconscious level, we choose to start being attracted to someone just as we choose to stop. It seems like it’s based on them. But that’s just us not being responsible for our own feelings.

I immediately called my friend’s ex. She needed to know she was beautiful and fabulous and had in fact done nothing wrong. He just wasn’t the guy. If he was there was no way he would have chosen to stop being crazy in love with her, makeup or no.

Later, I talked with another friend who is engaged. He put it even more clearly:

“Every day we wake up and look at each other and choose to be in love.”

Amen.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kid Sis said...

:)

And we can choose ones with high havingnesses!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Julie Goes To Hollywood said...

I'll have you know that my relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal is just fine. I don't have to "make the effort," because he does. For me. On a daily basis, because I complete him.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

That's fantastic news, Julie. Next time you guys are chatting about me, remind him that he can send some of his beautiful guy-friends my way. Then we could double date sometime! Wheeeeeeee

6:09 PM  

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