“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."
~ Brené Brown
It is not often where we find someone who makes you laugh, you have a lot of common with and you enjoy being around.
When you do fine someone like this, but you don't feel attracted to him, this can become confusing. It makes sense that you continue to see him and be friends, while also checking in with yourself often to see if anything changes for you in terms of feelings of attraction.
The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and be honest with the man.
It is very common for feelings and attraction to develop over time and starting out as friends can be a good foundation for a relationship; however it is not fair to lead him on, even though this is most likely not your intention.
If he has told you he has feelings for you; it is important that you are honest with him in what you may or not be feeling. It may be to hard for him to continue a friendship if he knows he wants more.
Respect his feelings and he should respect yours as well.
If you continue a friendship and just see if your feelings change over time; try and be aware if this inhibits either of you from exploring other possible relationships that might be a better fit.
If you do develop an attraction over time, enjoy the excitement of a new relationship. Don't force it though if it's not there at all and it's been a little while, chances are he is just not the one.
Trisha Swinton, LPC, LMFT – www.trishaswintoncounseling.com
If you find yourself in a situation where you are casually dating a man but you aren’t attracted to him physically, it’s important to evaluate your values system and deal breakers.
Attraction can build over time, especially if your values align with someone. It’s important to give a new relationship enough time in order to see if there is “something there”. It reminds me of “Beauty and the Beast”. At first glance, she was clearly not interested or attracted to him. In fact, she was scared of him and angry with him. Over time, they got to know each other, they had a few experiences together and she learned that there was “something there she hadn’t seen before”. She started to appreciate the small things and all the small things ended up being enough in the end. She fell in love with him. Now, real life isn’t a fairy tale but it’s a good reminder to allow yourself enough time to see if your feelings will grow and develop.
Another important matter to consider is your deal breakers.
Is physical attraction one of your deal breakers? There is nothing wrong with saying that it is a deal breaker for you. If being extremely physically and sexually attracted to a man is of high importance to you, so be it. If physical appearance is a deal breaker, it will be important for you to walk away from any relationship where you are not physically attracted to him.
A deal breaker means that it’s a deal breaker, it’s a no go for you. Women often create lists of deal breakers and find themselves making exceptions. In the long-run that creates anger and frustration, especially when women want their man to change the very thing in the beginning they should have walked away from. If physical appearance is your deal breaker, it’s time to move on.
Check in with yourself and decide if this is something you want to pursue.
Explore your feelings about this person on an emotional level. Discover what is important to you in a relationship and then go for it. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to love. Follow your heart and you will often end up right where you are supposed to.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting.
It's the hope of finding that one true partner. When you’re a little girl you dream of celebrating your wedding day. Those dreams of romance continue into adulthood. However, what you don’t dream of is what it takes to get there. That’s where the fantasy ends.
In the movies falling in love looks easy but in real life picking a compatible mate takes work. So how do you know when you’ve met the right one?
In healthy relationships, it takes a significant amount of time to assess compatibility.
If you don’t “feel it right away” most people assume it’s not a match. But that would be wrong! Equating instant attraction with compatibility is your first mistake. This is where most people get confused. You think that if you don’t have instant chemistry with a person it’s a not a match. Not true.
Physical attraction is an important aspect of a relationship.
Without it you’re basically roommates and that’s not very romantic. But chemistry is much deeper than physical attraction. Sometimes, it takes time to develop.
Being attracted to someone isn’t all about physical appearance. There are many other things to consider, such core values, emotional availability, how he treats himself and those around him. Those characteristics can spark an attraction over time.
For instance, when values are shared, an emotional connection starts to build. You spend more time together. Give it time. Nice abs and a full head of hair are great but if he’s self-centered and aloof, life with him will be challenging to say the least.
Be careful not to make the assumption that nice is boring.
Sometimes, an attraction develops because the person shows a kindness that’s rare. Typically the “nice guy” is trustworthy and dependable. They may be attractive physically or not. Broadening your definition of what's attractive invites new possibilities that may surprise you.
Take your time to see if an attraction develops.
If it doesn’t, you’ll be able to trust your decision. If you walk away too soon, you might look back and wonder what could have happened. You just never know what’s possible until you try.
Michelle Farris, LMFT – www.counselingrecovery.com
First of all, please understand that there’s no hard and fast rule about what to do if you like, or even love, someone and there’s no sexual chemistry between you.
Your decision is unique to you and dependent on a number of factors. There is no right or wrong in this area, but it’s likely that one choice will make you happier in the long run than the other.
#1: Don’t rush to make a decision.
Take your time without feeling as if you need to know what to do about the situation right off the bat. The fact is that sometimes attraction grows and sometimes it doesn’t. A good friend of mine says she often only felt attraction to someone after he showed that he felt it for her. Obviously, you don’t want to get involved in a relationship in which you’ll be unhappy lacking sexual attraction to your partner, but that doesn’t mean you want to make a rush to judgment.
#2: Recognize how important sexual attraction is to you.
Some of us are strongly sexual beings and others aren’t. Where are you on this continuum? This will depend on your age, health, other interests, and what else you have in common and like or love about a potential partner. Maybe you’re at a point in life that you’re sexually attracted enough to someone although he might not be the hottest guy you’ve ever dated. It might be that you’re looking for other qualities at your stage of life and chemistry simply doesn’t matter that much to you any more.
#3: Don’t confuse attraction with a “bad boy” attitude.
Many women only feel sexually attracted to men they can’t easily have or men who give off a hard to get nonchalance. These men rarely make good life partners. You may have the best sex in the world with them, but they’re unlikely to meet your emotion or intellectual needs. It’s best to get these kinds of men out of your system before seeking a life-long companion. It’s also important to understand that part of their intense allure for you is their bad-boyness. Don’t measure most men against what you felt for them. They are in a category all by themselves!
#4: Distinguish between non-attraction due to permanent or temporary characteristics.
If he didn’t wear jeans and a flannel shirt with dirt-caked boots all the time and you saw him shaved, with a great hair cut in a suit, might you feel more chemistry with him? Alternately, if he didn’t look so buttoned up all the time, and occasionally took off his tie and those perfectly polished loafers and didn’t shave for a day or two, might you feel differently? It’s important to understand if your lack of attraction is due to something that is changeable. If so, try to get it changed and see how you feel then.
#5: Find out if he’s teachable.
Some guys are just such gentleman and so wonderfully caring that you never need to be anxious about how they feel about you. If you’re used to chasing a man rather than have him chase you, you might equate attraction with the chase.
Or, sometimes men simply don’t know what to do to turn you on and need to be taught. If you really like or love someone and he has all the qualities you’re looking for in a life partner, at least see how he does in the love-making department. He might not come on strong sexually until sex is what’s happening. If that’s when he lets go, you will simply need to see what kind of a lover he is before making up your mind about him. He might be thrilled to have suggestions from you about what makes you happy and his desire and willingness may be what end up enhancing the chemistry between the two of you.
It’s fine to ask friends and family what you should do about lack of sexual attraction.
By all means, listen to their experiences and be open to their advice. On the other hand, recognize that you will need to make up your own mind about whether someone might change or whether being attracted enough will work for you. One caveat: if you only ever feel sexually attracted to men who make you unhappy, and never feel turned on by nice guys, it’s time to explore this pattern with a therapist to give you a better chance of finding someone to whom you’re attracted and who is also good for and to you.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
“There must be a stronger foundation than mere friendship or sexual attraction. Unconditional love, agape love, will not be swayed by time or circumstances.” – Stephen Kendrick
What is most important in a relationship?
Is it physical attraction or mental and emotional attraction? Many of us often find ourselves in relationships where we are highly attracted to our partners physically. The physical chemistry is hot and steamy and we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other. Then there are those of us who can talk to our man for hours on end and never get bored. Our dreams, goals, and what we want out of life just seem to mesh in a way we can’t even explain. So which is more important, sexual attraction or emotional attraction?
The definition of love is an intense feeling of deep affection.
The definition of lust is a very strong sexual desire.
So really what it comes down to is, are you looking for love or lust? Long term relationships last because they are built from a foundation of common ground. There is a friendship, an easiness, a true emotional connection. They are relationships where the sex is icing on the cake and not the whole cake. Lust on the other hand is a connection on a surface level. You may not be able to keep your hands off each other, but what happens when you have to leave the bedroom? Do you have anything in common?
Knowing what is right for you is really just knowing yourself and what you value in a long term relationship.
Looking back on your past relationships is a great indicator for what does and what does not work for you. If in the past you have only dated people you are highly attracted to, look at what caused those relationships to end. What were your favorite parts of your past relationships? Are you looking for a long term committed relationship, or are you looking for something hot and steamy right now?
Looks fade, people change, but at the core of who we are, we mostly remain the same.
Also, as time goes by and we build an even deeper connection and intimacy with our partner, we often find that we are more attracted to them than we once were. It can also work the opposite way, as we get to know someone on a deeper level, their beliefs, values, and views on life we can find them less fitting for us and therefore less attractive.
Eye candy is nice and fun to look at, but it often stops there.
So when we have found a deep connection with someone and want something long term, looks shouldn’t be the biggest factor. Also, take some time and look at what you are comparing this person to and be honest if your expectations of a long term relationship are realistic. We all want the whole package, but often it is difficult to find someone who fits the mold of our Mr. Right. Don’t settle for someone who just doesn’t do it for you, but you may want to think twice before you pass up a great caring guy for the cute jerk!
Kimberly Speer, CLC, ELIMP - www.destinybydesignlifecoaching.com
Many women go through a casual dating cycle where they go out and date someone and actually have an enjoyable time, find themselves liking the person and yet there is a nagging voice inside saying, “I’m just not attracted to him.”
It may be his demeanor, the physicality, things he says, how he says them, etc. You question if it is worth it to you to spend more time with him. You may be considering going out with him again just to see if he may grow on you.
As a therapist, when I counsel women on dating, I address the topic of going with their intuition.
You get a hunch if you think you may want to see him again. PAY ATTENTION. There is no right, wrong, good or bad way to determine if you want to see him again.
If you want to give your date more time to get to know him, there is no harm in seeing him again and keep it casual.
How can you really know that much about him especially only going out with him one time?
You will learn more about him if you decide to give it another go.
You have nothing to lose and you may feel the better you get to know him, the more attractive to him you will feel. Regarding physical attraction, while it is important, it is one component of the total individual. You need time to get to know the essence of who he really is. If you enjoy his company and you have fun together, does he have a sense of humor, does he seem to want to get to know you? What are his passions, hobbies, interests? Do you feel you have things in common with him that would hold your interest to have a second date?
Dating someone and getting to know him doesn’t have to be exclusive.
Be honest and forthright. If you decide to continue to go out with him a few times and you still don’t find him attractive, let him know you enjoy his company and like him, however, if you don’t feel a spark of chemistry, it may not be in your or his best interest to continue to go on dates. I think most people who begin dating realize they will have opportunities to date others especially if they are using a dating service. It’s important to be up front that you are exploring the dating scene and are not ready for anything more if you are not. Again, honesty is an important and best policy as dishonesty can lead to drama and unpleasant situations that are unnecessary.
Whatever direction you decide to choose, know that you can learn from meeting others and dating will help you know what qualities you want and what you don’t want with a partner. You usually will learn something about the person and yourself.
Connie Clancy Fisher, ED.D. – www.drconnieclancyfisher.com
Too good to let go, not good enough to keep. He’s nice, but I want more than nice!
If you find yourself in this dilemma, it helps to make a list of pros and cons. What are all the things you like about him? What are the things you don’t like? What is your gut telling you? If you end up with five pros and five cons, then what do you do?
Once you have your list, rate how important each is.
Suppose you rate ‘handsome’ at a 10, fun loving at 7, respectful at 8, thoughtful of others at 6, a good kisser at 3, then add them all up. In this example, if I added right, the total is 36. The cons are he’s ‘controlling’ at -9, we just do what he wants -6, he puts down others -3, and I don’t like the kind of work he does -5. The total for negatives equals 23. That determines which way we are leaning more heavily. Then look at how tolerable the negatives are for you.
Don’t stop when you’ve listed everything.
Ask your friends who have met him about the qualities they see in him. If he hasn’t met any of your friends or family yet, what does that tell you?
If you think you can change his negative qualities, think again.
What you see is often the best version of what you get after entering a committed relationship. As women, we so quickly fall into that trap. “If he really loves me,” our brain reasons, “He’ll change for me.” You might think I’m the exception to the rule, but after you say, “I do,” when it comes to change, he says, “I don’t.” Our subconscious will tell us all kinds of stories that gets us hooked.
In evaluating your relationship, rates the pros and cons, get input from others, and listen to your gut. What you see is what you get.
Charlene Benson, LPC, NCC - www.bensontherapist.com
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