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the laws of attraction

What makes us like one person over another?  Is there really 'love at first sight', and what happens when we feel an instant attraction for someone across a room?  Is it all physical and sexual energy?

The short answer to these questions is that while we may fall for someone's eyes, or voice, or legs, that is only the hook to get us in.  We are being sold the package but that may have no relationship to the goods inside.

My theory, and it's not just my own, is that instant attraction is usually misleading.  I tell my students that, when they feel this particular pull, they should run the other way because it's almost certainly going to be someone who will hurt them.  I do not believe in love at first sight — it's more likely to be need at first sight.  However, to appease all you romantics reading this, I'm sure there are couples around (one or two worldwide!) who thought 'this is the one' when they first saw each other, and who went on to develop positive relationships.

For my money, that initial feeling is more romance or lust, rather than love, which has to be forged and developed over time, but let's face it, there is still no definitive notion about what love is.  What I'm sure it's not is that 'wow' impulse that makes us want to take someone straight to bed, or jump off the nearest bridge just to see them smile.

Unfortunately, many of us are attracted to people because they awaken in us a deep, sometimes submerged, need to connect with a past pain or association.  Very often, they represent one of our parents — typically the one with whom we had problems and unresolved issues. How can we resolve these problems unless we meet similar people who will play the same games with us, press the old buttons and relive for us the hurt, frustration and needs of the memories that still echo in our hearts?

The best example I can give you is of the case of the child who, when she was growing up, saw her father constantly beat her mother.  She is quite likely to grow up and marry a wife-beater so that she can change the pattern somehow.  Maybe this time, the husband/father will love instead of hate, nurture instead of violate.  Many women spend years in marital hell before they succeed in emancipating themselves from this emotional bond.  Only we can liberate ourselves from the pain of our childhood — and it can take a whole lifetime.  Once we do, we no longer tolerate abuse and we are truly free to love in a way that doesn't hurt, disappoint or betray.

So, my warning is to be very wary of 'falling in love' too soon and, more importantly, trusting too soon.  It's not called 'falling' for nothing.  Certain hormones are released in the early stages of love and they can cloud our judgement, especially when sex enters the picture.  We all know how logical below-navel thinking is!

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