We all know what it feels like to walk into a room full of people, including at least a few eligible men. Why does one always immediately grab your interest? Your breath quickens and your heart beats faster. As you stand there, the aura around your chosen one vibrates and glows brighter and brighter while the others fade to a barely noticeable shade of grey.
What is that? Is that chemistry, physical attraction, or conditioning? If you know nothing more of one person than another, why does one stand out? That special one whom appears to radiate an almost electrical charge that pushes your pulse to near stroke level? You know it happens, but you don’t understand how one person manages so efficiently to manipulate your chemistry while another leaves you with no reaction whatsoever.
Unlike last year’s fashions, most of us never outgrow the burst of excitement that erupts when a potential new heartthrob appears. Suddenly all the layers of cynicism peel away and there you are emotionally exposed, filled with hope, ready to share your heart and start anew. Is that chemistry, physical attraction, or conditioning? Why does it always feel so great, even though we know we have been burned in the past?
I had always thought chemistry and physical attraction were much too hyped up, although I must admit to falling victim to both. I’d meet someone and be drawn to him instantly without a thought as to why. The initial euphoria carried me blindly into the next phase, and I left the crowd behind without consideration. Down the road, as the relationship unfolded and reason returned, I often got angry at myself for not being more cognizant of the signs that I had given my hormones control over my life.
Whatever possessed me to follow this guy off the cliff? Why didn’t I realize that this was not someone with whom I was going to be able to build the kind of life I wanted? Clearly this relationship had “doomed” written all over it, but I followed my hormones and paid full price.
There are no discounts at the learning club. Time lost cannot be refunded. In my life, I have had to accept the consequences for making bad choices, and I’ve never blamed others for my decisions. But at some point, I could no longer ignore the pattern of circular behavior that always led me back to the same point, the beginning of going nowhere. I learned at some point that I needed to redraw my love life, rearrange my mental furniture, and stop stumbling on the same obstacles. I needed some relationship feng shui.
Madonna sang, “Physical attraction. It’s a chemical reaction.” But is following that “physical attraction/chemical reaction” always a wise choice? Can you trust it? Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that you ignore the men you instinctively find attractive in favor of those who actually repulse you. What I am suggesting is that the next time you meet a man you find attractive and decide to follow your hormones to the ends of the earth, take a minute to have a conversation with yourself about what is really happening.
Yes, your hormones are kicking in, and you’re getting that tingly all over feeling. But is there any other part of you that may be trying to send you a message? What is your gut telling you? Are you getting any warning signals telling you to slow down? When you talk to him, does he say anything that doesn’t jibe with your sense of values? It doesn’t take long to figure out whether you and he want the same things out of life. If you have two cats and a dog, and he tells you that he once had a goldfish but he brought it back to the store because it was too much work, he may not be interested in helping you walk the dog on those cold winter nights, or empty the kitty litter on his way to work.
Put as much emphasis on your values and your interests as you do on your chemical and hormonal responses and you may find that you are making smarter choices about the men you allow into your life.