Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is This It? She Wants to Feel More of an Attraction


Dear Terry,

You are so incredibly sweet and sound so genuine. I truly appreciate how much care and dedication you put in your writing. I wish you all the succcess in the world!

I have a question which I'm sure you have an answer for. You see, I'm currently in a relationship with a wonderful man! I love him dearly. He has so many wonderful qualities, not to mention being an excellent cook and musician. I know you always tell us "not to settle," which is excellent advice, and I don't think I'm necessarily settling in this instance (although I could be wrong), but one question pops up in my mind which I've been concerned about.

I have used the law of attraction to attract my honey; however, in that process I didn't always feel a surge of romantic passion emerge. Since God has blessed me with this wonderful person, my attraction towards him has grown considerably; however, it's weak in comparison to the attraction I've felt towards men who haven't treated me nicely in the past.

Do I have this relative feeling of low romance towards him because of my own insecurities? I think that I'm going through a transition phase at the moment, hence why I was able to attract this great guy into my life, but what I need to work on is loving myself more. In that case, do you think my attraction towards who I think is Mr. Right will continue to grow? I feel so silly for asking this since it seems like I've already figured it out but I just want a confirmation from someone who seems to have her act together in this area.

Also, do you have any suggestions, or is wanting to feel greater attraction for your significant other an act of settling? Though I don't think it is, any help on this matter is greatly appreciated. Also, I really do want to make this relationship work because I believe it's the right thing to do-we both share the same aspirations, attitude towards life, and like I said I do love him dearly. It's just that I want to feel a greater depth of attraction!

-Confused


Dear Confused:

Thanks for the extremely kind words.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned your attraction to men who didn't-- or don't-- treat you well. In a lot of cases, women do find themselves drawn to substandard men because they suffer from low self-esteem. Other women suffer from plain old fear of commitment. They dig bad boys because on a subconscious level, they know they'll never have to look at him every day for the rest of their lives.

So, now you have a happy relationship with a man with whom you have a lot in common. He treats you well. You love him. But still you have this nagging feeling: Is this all there is? And why am I still thinking about So-and-So?

Let me be clear about settling. I wouldn't settle for a man who doesn't love me. I wouldn't settle for a man I don't love. I wouldn't settle for a man to whom I'm attracted but mistreats me.

If you love this guy, and he loves you, and your attraction is growing, keep going. See where you're headed. It's not settling.

But ask yourself if you'd like him better if he treated you worse. Really think about this. You certainly wouldn't be the first person saddled with the I-Refuse-to-Join-Any-Club-That-Would-Have-Me-as-a-Member Syndrome.

If you decide you suffer from it, do this: Imagine yourself married to one of the yo-yos you mistreated you. Bring to mind all the things you did not like about him (you know, the ones we conveniently forget when we're in the throes of a pleasant memory). Perhaps he used to go around with hair coming out of his ears, or he liked to make up his own words. Or something. You get the idea.

How would you like waking up to that for the rest of your life? Or going to bed wondering if he and his hairy ears are ever coming home?

If you decide you don't suffer from the I-Refuse Syndrome, ask yourself if you harbor reservations about long-term relationships or marriage. A lot of us do and don't even realize it. We just walk around wondering why we keep being attracted to unsuitable guys.

Ask yourself, "What would marriage look like on a day-to-day basis?" This'll help you figure out if you fear ending up horribly bored, abused, or a miserable chain-smoker in track pants like Aunt Louise. Do some digging to root out any nagging concerns that could be distracting you from your current relationship.

Examine the horrifying scenarios you come up with, and then ask yourself, "Is something like this guaranteed to happen? Can something better happen? What would it be?" And focus on that. Some people are happily married all their lives. Is it possible that you and this fellow could be two of those people?

Finally, you say that your attraction is growing for him. So give it time. What's the rush? Maybe your attraction for him will keep growing. Or maybe you'll decide that he'd make a great friend, and your relationship will turn out to be a dress rehearsal for something else.

Again, give it time. By all means, work on loving yourself more. (And if we all work on being more loving in general, the world will be a better place.)

Take your relationship day by day. Enjoy it. Let it become what it will be. Above all, stop worrying so much about it.

Have fun.

-Terry

4 comments:

Romantic said...

The word "settle" can have negative conotations for some people. It is about the fear of commitment and a feeling of is this all there is.

Dont think of commitment in terms of settling, think of it in terms of beginning. Look upon entering into a commited relationship as the start of a journy and ask yourself if the person you are with is someone you want to share that journey with.

The start of a longterm commited relationship is just that, a start. settling sounds to much like an end.

Susan said...

Terry and Confused:

I found myself in a somewhat similar position when I first started dating my boyfriend. Now, don't get me wrong -- I liked and enjoyed so many things about him, we got along very well, I thought he was cute -- but I couldn't figure out why I didn't feel that spark I was wanting/hoping for. You know, like the kind that swept me off my feet with the 2 bozos I dated before him...

...the bozos who were not "bad" people but had too many problems of their own to know how to be in a drama-free relationship.

The problem was that THAT was what I thought relationships were all about.

But with this one I told myself to just go one day at a time, to just "be" and enjoy what was happening between us -- and how well he treated me, which, frankly, no one ever had done before so consistently. I found myself becoming more and more attracted to him. It didn't take very long, maybe a couple of weeks before I was convinced that I did deserve him -- and that maybe my other relationship experiences were simply a way to give me a point of reference so I could recognize a truly great relationship and guy when I found one.

Confused, give it adequate time and just go with it to determine if it is "right." You may find that it gets better each day as you learn from each other and grow together.

Terry said...

Romantic and Susan- Thank you for sharing your excellent insights!

Anonymous said...

I strive to put a positive spin on the word "settle". When we choose someone to "settle down with" we nest and start to build a life together. We make a choice to be with one person and only WE are able to determine the unique pros/cons of our choice.

NOTE: All of the above is theoretical since I'm currently single. :>