Why do we click with certain people in a relationship?
Being a relationship coach, I get many emails and messages from people reaching out for some advice, as well as people who want to take a deeper look at their relationships with some coaching sessions.
Some commonly asked questions are:
- How do I know if they are the one for me?
- How do I know what to look for in a partner?
- How can I make them love me more/again?
- What can I do as I am having second thoughts about my relationship?
There are obviously many more, but these ones are fairly common.
Romantic attraction can be as complex as we are… and we are because we are human beings.
There are no guarantees when it comes to love and finding the right person for you and you can’t make someone love you or make yourself love someone else. No matter how hard you might try.
There will always be an element of the unknown when it comes to love and romance, but there are things that we know that can attract you to someone else… and give that relationship the best chance of not only surviving but being a wholly fulfilling experience.
Science dictates that opposites, in fact, do not attract when it comes to healthy relationships. For it to work on this level, there needs to be a commonality in different areas. A meeting of personalities, preferences, interests, values and principles. But, being too similar, however, can be a big issue as being too different.
As one couples therapist, I watched a video on it – the sweet spot is when the couple has a bedrock of similarity.
There are enough similarities that work together, but enough nuances that complement the relationship and bring something to the relationship that the other doesn’t.
Examples of these differences are that one person is more creative than the other or is slightly more introverted than their extroverted partner.
One thing that is essential in a healthy and secure relationship is that each feels the other is committed to them. A sense of security, feeling safe, that the other person has you – that you can trust them. Believing in the relationship has been seen in certain studies to be the key factor in predicting the overall quality of a relationship.
I have spoken and written before about the physical attraction, the chemistry side of why we are drawn to one another and even though it can mislead us, (listen to my podcast episode titled 'What is Love?'), it can’t be overlooked as an important part of a fulfilling relationship. As connected beings, physical contact makes us feel… well, connected. And a sexy spark can be a key ingredient to the success of an intimate relationship.
There are also four defined theories as to why people fall in love and are linked to how rewarding, fulfilling and comfortable we feel when dating somebody.
- Reward theory argues that attraction stems from dates that satisfy people’s basic needs for self-enhancement, connection, or self-expansion etc.
- Evolutionary theory argues that women are attracted to ambitious, industrious partners, while men are attracted to beautiful, chaste or innocent partners.
- Attachment theory argues that people with opposing attachment styles are attracted to one another.
- Instrumentality theory argues that attraction depends on whatever goals people most hope to achieve via dating.
And I am sure that, by this list, it is going to be a mixture of them all. There are also other things at play here, that I talk about in my 'Five things you need to attract and create a healthy loving relationship'.
These are: attraction style, relationship beliefs, relational patterns and resistance.
One thing I coach that is a definite when it comes to attracting the right person for you or creating a healthy relationship is:
If you can’t be yourself in your relationship, then you are not really compatible with the person you are with.
Being authentic means that the people you meet will either be attracted to you for who you really are, or they won’t.
Giving up on any part of yourself in a relationship essentially destroys what you are trying to build or save. Being inauthentic is also unsustainable, draining and can lead to resentments, frustrations and all manner of negative outcomes.
Compromise is a word I hear a lot in relationships and I don’t necessarily subscribe to it. To most, compromise will mean giving something up that you don’t want to or is against what you need. When giving in a relationship, it needs to come from a good place. I am doing this because I want to, because I love you and it makes me happy to do so. If you don’t feel this or are doing something out of desperation, or to meet a different need, then it just isn’t sustainable.
It is important that, no matter what, you hold onto who you are. With a caveat being that you are happy with who that is in the first place and have worked through the issues that may be unhealthy for you to continue with.
Never believe that you need to please someone into liking or loving you.
A relationship will only be as fulfilling, as successful, as committed, loving and connected as it could be if both parties live it authentically.
Another thing I work on in coaching is the Law of Attraction. Now, think of this as you will, but it does work and there is also some real science behind it.
You need to consider what you want, what you need in a relationship and focus on bringing that towards you. Be patient and keep your eyes on the prize.
Your reticular activating system (RAS), will always focus on what you want to bring towards you on a subconscious level and filter out what you don’t focus on.
One psychologist put if like this:
"Imagine, for a moment, this someone you are looking for is a bus, and you're waiting at the bus stop. You keep seeing bus No2 and bus No5, but you're looking for bus No1. It can feel frustrating and time-consuming, but you must wait because all those other buses are headed for a destination other than the one you want.
So, it’s best to wait for bus No1 because it will get you to where you want to be and so worth the wait."
Focusing on the best thing for you is key. If you go to the park looking to avoid the dog poo, then all you are focusing on and looking out for is… yes… the dog poo. So look for what you want, not for what you don’t want.
Did you know that you do not need to be perfect for someone else either? Well, maybe a perfect fit, but not a perfect person.
There is an attraction in imperfection, it draws us together. There is a shared quality of being imperfect, a humanness to it we pick up on subconsciously. It makes us relatable.
It is widely known that we judge others in a way we judge ourselves, as we accept others as we accept ourselves. It is OK that we have issues and struggle at times and are even unhappy with parts of ourselves as long as we are prepared to work on those and making them acceptable. We are all the same and these ‘flaws’ are in everyone. Accepting our own, makes it easier to accept those of others.
Again, a caveat. Don’t accept what isn’t going to meet your wants and needs, however.If the imperfections cause you issues and the other person isn’t going to work on them, then you can accept they have them, but not accept them into your life if they don’t suit you.
Finding the right partner
So, what are some tips when it comes to finding the right partner?
Well, understanding what we have attracted in the past, why and working on those things is a great start if you’re single and looking for a relationship moving forward.
There are a few things here to look at:
I have already mentioned attraction style, relationship beliefs, relational patterns and resistance. We also have safe spaces we like to return to and can create this outcome before we even begin seeing someone. If this, for example means being by yourself is safe, then you are going to choose someone that makes you want to return to this space.
Along with this is the person that we want, which I have already covered here too.
You can look at these things whether you are in a relationship already, too.
If the person you are with doesn’t match with what you want and need in a relationship then it may be time to sit down and think about how you can address this with them.
So, what could be on your list? I suggest that they are the fundamental things that you want in someone, not the music or movies you like, although this is a bonus, but deeper things such as their personality, goals, vision, values and principles.
Physical attraction can be important, but this is something that will change as we get older. Being attracted to someone deeply is key and as we know attraction comes in many forms.
Choose someone that:
- Is willing to know you and get to re-know you as you change through life.
- Someone who has got you and you can get them right back when needed.
- Can be strong and yet sensitive when required, who can be open emotionally and solve issues as they arise. Have what is called a strong internal locus of evaluation – or values themselves from within and doesn’t require a lot of external validation.
- Someone who has worked on themselves and is emotionally intelligent about who they are and about who you are.
- They can be flexible and forgiving, can listen and hear with empathy and understanding.
- Understands that life comes with loss, is aware of how to be in these moments and can self soothe as well as soothe you.
- Makes you feel safe and secure both emotionally and physically.
You will have your own ideas of what it is that you need, but these are the common ones that come up with my clients and ones I also see as significant to get the minimum of the 80% that you deserve in your relationship.
Anything less than that and there are things to be addressed and you have some work to do. If you feel you need support navigating your relationship, you can reach out to me via my profile below.
Be good to yourself.