At age ten, we chased each other around the merry-go-round and through the swing set. At age thirteen, we held hands; at fifteen, we kissed. From sixteen to twenty-five, we experienced the joy and agony of teenage dating; now what? We skinned our knees, chapped our lips, honed our selection skills, had our hearts broken, and somewhere along the way found our game, all in the name of love. As we were outwardly developing our flirting and dating skills, something under the surface was also developing, our individual rules of attraction. Every boy or girl we chased, every hand we held, every lip we kissed, and every dating triumph or faux pas we experienced played a role in constructing our natural preferences and refining our personal tastes in the opposite sex. We prepared all our lives to be able to commit along the continuums of connection in a love relationship. But, do most of us really know how and when to connect?
We connect with other people along the three primary continuums: intellectual, emotional, and physical; no surprise there. In a love relationship, the entire process of connection, from that first glance through dating to discovering true love, is a complex affair. Throughout the rigorous ordeal, we use our own customized rules of attraction while an internal struggle for control of actions and decisions rage within between the various levels of our inherited intelligence. Like a three-headed hydra, our instincts, perceptual, and conceptual intelligence continually analyze input from our senses and vie for control over the process. There are three essential requirements needed to walk the path of true love.
Step 1: Know yourself, accept yourself, like yourself.
A revelation of self is the best gift you can give to you. It is my most sincere hope that The Artful Science of True Love helps you learn something new and useful about your individual mind and the uniqueness contained therein, which is your gift to the rest of us. Appreciating yourself is the strength of the base of the pillar of true love. The greatest quote from the greatest philosopher to have ever lived is testimony to this gift. There has been nothing better said by anyone in over two thousand years.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates
Step2: Only Accept a Strong Mutual Physical Attraction.
“Men hunt, women trap” was yesteryear’s vogue dating warning issued to many coming-of-age teeny-boppers. The wisdom of grandmother’s cautionary words delivered at the first sign of handholding may have helped keep adolescent crushes in check but did little to provide sanctuary for adults seeking to avoid bad relationships. Grandma’s implied assumption was a mutual physical attraction, which is not always the case among adults. Some common pinch hitters for physical attraction include gold, gospel, glory, convenience, and sex. Traps are the cruelest of true love buzz kills because they frequently involve a lesser partner relationship that is, at best, adequate or more likely harmful for at least one partner. Think of it this way, a love relationship without mutual physical attraction is really a business relationship. If your love relationship is devoid of a strong mutual physical attraction, it is a safe bet that, at some point, one of you will be heading to the cheating side of town.
When we substitute physical attraction with any of these traps in a love relationship, a required keystone of true love goes missing, physical connection through instinctual intelligence. This can be subtle but is usually constant. Further, this phenomenon will manifest most dramatically immediately after having sex where one partner may feel like a prostitute and the other like a john. Both may feel a little dirty and disgusted and it’s a good bet that post love making affection is going to be absent or forced. I guess that when someone pretends to be physically attracted to their partner when they are really attracted to their money, status, compliments, availability, or obligated through their own beliefs, they solve a short-term want and create a long-term problem for themselves and their partner. There really are no victims here, only propagators and enablers and both partners receive some form of compensation for their trapped status in a love relationship whose foundation is not built on mutual physical attraction.
Step3: Be Prepared to Expand Your Emotional Comfort Zones and Your Intellectual Horizons.
We all have natural comfort zones within our minds at each level of our active intelligence and for every area of social interaction. These comfort zones are the product of familiar neural pathways that are established through experience and education over the course of our lives.
Within our physical, emotional, and intellectual comfort zones, social tasks that naturally line up with social abilities will induce comfort and relaxation. When we encounter a social situation and we feel normal or the circumstances do not produce fear or anxiety then that experience can be said to fall within our comfort zone. If we find ourselves in a social situation outside of our comfort zone, at any level of active intelligence, we typically experience some level of anxiety. Our comfort zones provide us with the ability to welcome or reject situations based on input from our senses. For our instincts, this is pretty straight forward. Input: That hurts or that feels good, he is physically attractive or he is not physically attractive. Reaction: Move closer or move away. For the input into our conceptual and perceptual intelligence the reaction model is similar but less straight forward.
Emotional and intellectual comfort zones determine our tolerance or inflexibility when dealing with personality preferences, behaviors, interests, and opinions of others. If we accept broad based differences in others with ease and comfort then we have a large comfort zone in that particular social area. If narrow or slight differences in others create intolerable discomfort then we have a smaller comfort zone in that social area. This same definition holds true for lovers along the lines of connection under the physical, emotional, and intellectual continuums. In addition, when we think in terms of right and wrong we tend to narrow our comfort zones. If we open up the options from only right and wrong in a given area to accept that there are other methods, approaches, points of view, behaviors, etc… that are not necessarily wrong, just different, then we can expand our comfort zone in that area. Expanding our comfort zones and providing a safe environment for our partner to do the same is essential for the connections of true love to form. For a step by step guide on seeding the connections of true love for you read the new book, The Artful Science of True Love, available for order or download here.