Attraction is not just for Christmas, it’s for life

December 28, 2012

If you are a new couple your attraction levels are still probably quite high. For older couples, in some cases remaining attracted to each other as we age, can be a challenge.  If you consider the processes of attracting, when you meet someone new , you are attracted to the other person and you attracted your partner to you. How did you do this?  What processes were present when you were attracting your partner? How did you dress, how did you speak, what type of words did you say, how did you use touch?  These are sensory processes (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) that form our internal maps of the world. The sensory processes are then coded in language and interpreted by the other person as being intimate, charming, understanding, loving, listening, being funny, all the essential ingredients of attracting, that through exploring which will lead to loving.

Attraction is the same type of word as relationship, a nominalisation i.e. where in language a verb is transformed to a noun. In life this equates to a process turning into an entity. Whilst this language is feature of everyday life, it brings about the ultimate illusion that both the ‘attraction’ and the ‘relationship’ are actually ‘things’ rather dynamic processes. Again, if you language the way you relate and are attracted to each other in the same way as you do to describe things such as a table, you will find everything as flat and non changing as the table you eat your dinner off.  To ‘do’ , is the verb in English that is so abstract it covers most processes. So when you were attracting each other, you were both doing certain things. In English we have a tense called the progressive which works well in ‘process orientated language’.The progressive (also known as the participle) adds the ‘ing’ to the verb. So what were you doing when were attracting each other? How were you looking, sounding, touching, smelling and tasting. All of these are ultimate sensory processes that contribute to the amazing process of attracting.

In many cases the process of attracting a partner is out of conscious awareness. A large number of people find themselves quite surprised when they find themselves attracted to someone who they consider not be their type. In fact attraction can be illogical, the well known phrase ‘I am always attracted to the wrong type of person’ is an example of how complex the process of attraction is. In the mind there are conscious and unconscious processes operating simultaneously.  The conscious is our attempt to understand the world and be logical; the unconscious is our responses to the raw data we are continually assimilating through our senses. For example, in the process of attracting, someone’s natural body smell is processed subtly and sometimes below the level of conscious awareness but influences how you are attracted to another.

When you attracted to someone you feel a physical rush. Your heart speeds up and you experience a chemical shift in your body. A potent cocktail of chemicals is released from the brain into the body which include adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine. To give you an idea of the potency of these chemicals, people take stimulant drugs to get a similar high evoked by the release of the chemicals.  Putting it another way, when you are attracted to another person, you are on a high.

Have you heard the saying ‘he/she is like a drug?’ When someone describes their lover in this way, they are most likely referring to the ‘high’ they experience when they are in the company of the person they are attracted to or love.  If this is you, it’s absolutely fantastic you get a high from being attracted to your lover. The problem many people face in a longer term relationship is they forget how they were attracted to each other in the early stages of the relationship. As the relationship matures people neglect to do the things that made them attractive to their partner in the first place. Without attraction the chemical rush that makes being together exciting, isn’t there and can lead to people seeking the chemical rush elsewhere. Having said that ‘attracting’ each other will soon develop to ‘loving each other’ which is much deeper process and is the ultimate way we bond together. However remaining attractive to your lover is a key aspect of keeping the relationship fresh.

Neuro Linguistic Programme is a field that helps decode the subjective experience of different individuals. For example each of us uses our senses to experience the world uniquely and form different internal language to form our own internal maps which is our perception of reality. What one person labels as a ‘high’ produced from some external event such as sky diving, another person might label as fear. In NLP we have a saying each person ‘operates on a map of the world and not the real world itself. We also have a saying ‘respect each person’s map of the world’. In the process of attracting this translates to each of person having a unique process almost like a code for being attracted to the other.  In a relationship that matures it’s important we respect their map of the world and remain attractive to our lover. Attraction as a process, (to attract/attracting) will change as the relationship matures and elements of the early processes will remain. In NLP the sensory processes are called representational systems, so we input data from the outside world through the visual, auditory, kinethethetic, olfactory and gustatory systems to form our metal maps (see this link to view)
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Input Channels

Visual:  how your partner looks and looks at you.
Auditory:  how your partner sounds and the words they use
Kinesthetic: how your partner touches you, hugs you, the feeling of the their mouth when they kiss you
Olfactory: your partners aroma, how they smell to you
Gustatory: the taste of your partner

We use VAKOG representational systems to experience the world and internally re-represent the world. Your experience is an ongoing series of representations. In early NLP we used to think of our experience of representations as sequential, meaning that one system would be present at anytime then followed by another. We now tend to think of experience as synaesthesia that is more than one system present at a time. So whist you are seeing your partner (input channel) you simultaneously have internal sensations (kinaesthetic). You then label the sensations (Auditory internal) as attraction. On the basis you are attracted to this person you send out verbal and non verbal messages to the other person with the conscious and unconscious intention of attracting them to you.
Whist our input channels are occurring simultaneously, it is possible you will have an unconscious preference for one of the channels when it comes to being attracted to another. This in the context of attraction is your dominant system; in terms of VAKOG it’s the channel that has the most value. That’s not saying the other channels do not contribute, it is likely they do.  Consider what was most important to you when you first were attracted to your partner. ‘Was it that they looked or looked at you?’ ‘Was it the way they spoke, sounded or words they used?’ ‘Was it the way they felt or used touch?’ ‘Was it how their aroma, they way they smelt?’ ‘Was it the way they tasted or tastes that were evoked in you?’

In my book ‘Your Relationship is not a Table’, I have designed a number of exercises for people to unpack and establish the processes inherent in their psyche when it comes to relationships. There are several important stages present in a relationship and attraction is a key aspect. Be attractive to each other and you will enjoy the deeper part of the relationship which is ‘loving’.

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