Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You Can't Choose Who You're Attracted To...But You Can Choose Whether Or Not You Act On It

One of many moments of truth when dealing with a woman is the moment when I tell her about this blog and my experience being the Gateway Boyfriend. This last time, it was over the internet.

She wrote:

It sounds like women who are wounded come to you and you heal them with sex.

Which isn‘t ENTIRELY true--the sex isn’t so much part of the healing process as something that happens naturally on its own--but also not totally inaccurate either.

I thought: put it like that, it sounds kind of fucked in the head.

I often look at the women I’m attracted to and the women who are attracted to me and wonder how it is we find each other. I find myself especially drawn to women who are hurting, sad or who have been damaged in some way.

Those qualities aren’t always a foundation upon which to build a stable relationship. They aren’t a guarantee of failure necessarily, but there’s something to be said for learning to read red flags.

I’ve learned though that wanting to take away a woman’s hurt is not a good reason to get involved with her. I don’t have to save every woman in the world. They're capable of saving themselves. I’m not some tragic romantic hero despite how I might market myself on the internet.

Now, these aren't the only things I'm attracted to--I also have things for plaid skirts, soft lips, and extensive vocabularies--but the difference is those other attractions don't have the same potential to turn into something unhealthy.

It also doesn’t change the fact that I’m attracted to women who have suffered (*). It’s also possible that attraction will never change, that I will always be vulnerable to it.

Which is PART ONE of Today’s Lesson: We are not always in conscious control of what attracts us.

Neither is anybody else.

What does that mean? Well, firstly, it means we don’t need to blame, shame, or judge ourselves or anybody else for liking what they like.

It’s tough when we are passed over by someone we like for reasons which seem arbitrary, shallow or even downright unfair. It’s not easy when we see our friends falling for the same jerk in different skin over and over. And when the person falling for the jerk is us...well, that's even harder to face.

That frustration is normal, but it doesn’t change facts.

Secondly, accepting that attraction is not always under our control frees us. Knowing we can't necessarily choose what we're drawn towards means we no longer need to judge ourselves or accept the judgement of others.

Make no mistake, those judgements are out there. They come out of the mouths of friends, family, and people who may or may not have your best interests at heart. We even judge ourselves: What is wrong with me that I keep falling for these kinds of guys/gals?

They're in the media. Many magazines and movies seem to want to tell us what we should find attractive. Even a lot of dating advice wants to describe the person we should be dating (Kind, trustworthy, a good listener who gives us the exact right amount of space, among a laundry list of other virtues).

Such advice also seems to hint that we are bad people for being attracted to anything else and ignores the fact that a) if this ideal partner actually exists in the real world, he or she is a rare breed and b) even if we were able to find them, some of us would find such a person exceedingly bland.).

You are not a bad person for liking what you like. People can’t control what turns them on. Many times we don’t even know why or how we become attracted to someone. When it comes to our hearts, we are all unreliable narrators.

This brings us to PART TWO of today’s lesson: We reap the consequences of our choices.

We might have limited control over our attraction triggers. But we have a little more control over if, when, and how we act on that attraction. And like it or not, we are responsible for those decisions.

Yeah. That’s the hard part.

Blaming ourselves, the world, or our partners seems so much easier.

It won’t change anything, though, and it won’t make anybody happier in the long run.

And that, ultimately, is what we want. It doesn‘t matter how attracted you are to someone if being with them leaves you feeling unhappy.

Attraction is not the same as compatibility.

Choose happiness. Choose freedom. Choose accountability for your life.

Just don‘t expect yourself to be able to choose who you‘re attracted to.

How aware are you of what turns you on? How well do you notice when you are attracted to someone? Try to separate what you THINK turns you on or what you believe you SHOULD find attractive from the things you actually respond to.

The best way to do this Practice is not at home thinking about it, but out in the world. Go for a walk. Talk to some strangers. Pay attention to any fluttery feelings at work, play or school. Where do you feel attraction in your body? What do you find attractive?

You don’t need to act on your feelings. In some cases, it’s probably a good idea that you don’t. But the more aware you are of what you respond to, the more you can make your response to it a choice instead of a reaction.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

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