Love and Attraction: Psychology or Mystery?

Love is a subject that always makes us fall into all sorts of adventures, discoveries, and a lot of questions that seem to not have an answer and represent a big mystery.  Why, if before, we loved someone, do we suddenly no longer love them?  Why is it so hard to stop feeling attracted to someone, even though they don’t feel the same way?  Why do we feel attracted to people that make us suffer?  What does falling in love do for us?  What makes love shine like the sun one day, and the next, shrink like the moon, and leaves us to bathe in its silver light?

Love and Attraction: Psychology or Mystery?There might be a lot of perspectives to look at this from.  Poets would say one thing while scientists say another.  The truth is, none and all of them could be right.  The interesting thing is exploring the points of view that each person sees love from.

For example: psychologists affirm that the search and finding of love is associated with everything we lived as children: the memories, the way in which we were treated, and the way we interpreted certain experiences.  All of this makes us, in some way, search for certain partners, and makes us fall in love with some people, and not others.

But, is love the same as attraction?

Some affirm that attraction between two people is a complete mystery, a divine experience.  Others say that is has to do with what we call chemistry.  Chemistry is what makes us react in attractive ways in front of certain people.

Chemistry, from the psychological perspective, seems to be related with the mental molds that we previously created based on all of that stored information within us.  In some way, before getting to know someone, we have already created a mental image of the characteristics and personality traits that the person we feel attracted to must have.  The “arrow shot” we feel is nothing more than a response to recognizing this mold.

These mental maps and molds, says sexologist John Money, are formed between the ages of 5 and 8 years of age, and are the result of experiences that determine what would make one person fall in love with another.

The electricity we feel run through our body when we see someone, is due to a series of emotional discharges that originate in the mind or the thoughts, which instantly take us back to memories and experiences.  This pleasant sensation of love or attraction takes place when the mental image connects with the perfect interior mold that we secretly search for, like acceptance, recognition, affection, admiration, strength, independence, etc.

But…why do we only fall in love with certain people?

Human beings need to get a certain type of love from certain people because in some way, these people make us grow or stretch.  This, as previously explained, has to do with the previous molds that we associate with what makes us feel admired and happy.  This is such a complex process process that has a lot of material from which to cut, but we could sum it up that one searches in others for the possibility to grow and be bigger than what they perceive.

We feel attracted to what we haven’t been able to conquer as children.  For example: if as a small girl you needed recognition or admiration from your father, who was a cold and distant character, as a grown up, that girl will be oriented towards searching in some way, for people that connect her with certain traits of her cold and distant father, so she can conquer what was not possible for her as a child.

Another example would be in the case of a boy that as a child, perceived his mother as his source of love, she was beautiful and admired.  But the mother could have had aggressive, indifferent, or even abusive behaviors towards the child, which frustrated the boy in his ability to conquer her, to ask her what he needed, and to get close to her.  As an adult, this “frustrated boy” that holds the adult now, will be in some way, oriented and attracted towards searching for finding very beautiful women, but that perhaps mistreat him, or that are cold or distant.  His attachment to women that reject or even betray him could be due to a frustrated insistence to try to conquer the love he couldn’t have as a child.

As we have said, this is so complex that you shouldn’t take it so literally.  There could be a lot of evaluations, especially on the perceptions of our children’s world, beyond just life experiences, as these mental molds are formed based on perceptions, and not so much on experience.  This means that a child could have perceived his mother as distant, when his brother could have perceived her as hard working.

From this point of view, children’s and adult’s love could then be explained as a way of winning something that we feel we didn’t win as children.  This perspective could help comprehend why sometimes we like relationships that make us suffer, or that don’t bring us anything “positive”.

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