Dating for Success: Building Attraction

In order to develop a happy and healthy relationship, physical attraction is necessary. However, it is only the starting point. It is the match from which deeper and profounder feelings of affection and love are lit. And indeed, as time progresses, it is meant to become more than mere attraction to the purely physical aspects and features of the other. You find depth and meaning with them and long to build something secret and special that only the two of you can create.

Your feelings become a reservoir of purpose and passion which fuels ever-expanding and increasing levels of love and forges an exciting future for the both of you. In the process of developing this attraction, it is common for some degree of infatuation to set in. When this occurs, dating becomes confusing and convoluted, but it does not mean doom. So long as the initial feelings of infatuation serve as the spark to the relationship, but not the foundation, you will be able to see the bigger picture and remain on track towards healthily examining your relationship. To give an analogy, infatuation is akin to twigs and love to logs. To start a fire, it is necessary to have twigs which can easily catch and start a fire. However, they die out relatively soon after they have been lit. What will last long and grow larger and larger are the logs. The initial spark of infatuation therefore serves a purpose, but only if it leads into logs of love, which have the capability of carrying a lifetime marriage. Otherwise, the romantic infatuation will die out soon enough, and there will be nothing deeper and greater to hold your relationship together. How though can you test to see if you feel genuinely “attracted” to the whole person, including, but going beyond their physical appearance? Ask yourself: Do I look forward to the next date with him/her? Do I wait to see if he/she is the one calling? Do I enjoy conversation with him/her? Do I feel proud to be seen with him/her in public? These are all good indications that you already feel connected to your date and that you want to continue experiencing this emotion. These strong feelings develop at different rates for each individual. There is no set time by which you must feel attraction, and if you do not, you should unequivocally move on to date someone else. It can take quite some time for those feelings to come forth and take root, and time and patience is necessary. Oftentimes, you will discover that something was impairing you from developing strong feelings for another, and in due time with the right person, those emotions will surface. Equally so, it can take a while for you to realize that you are in fact not attracted to them, and ought to move on. Eve, a gifted and attractive teacher, had no shortage of dates to go on. At age 24, she had been introduced to a handful of men, though none of them ever progressed passed two or three dates. Until Efraim came into her life. She proceeded to go on a fourth date with him, something rare for her. As to what it was about Efraim that sparked her desire to see him more and more, she asked herself that very question. She came to realize that until now, she had kept her emotions in check and refrained from becoming overly enthralled with a person, so as to avoid making a wrong decision. She hadn’t allowed herself to date the other boys with an open and free heart and mind, but had been restraining any commitment and thereby focusing on what she did not like about them. With Efraim, such an attitude no longer prevailed. Eve allowed herself to progress further and further by promising herself that she would take the relationship one step at a time and refuse to rush into commitments that were expected of her. With this mentality, she was able to calmly examine all parts of Efraim’s personality that she liked and did not like and focus on the good. He was someone she felt comfortable to be around; his face exuded kindness and sensitivity; and he was thoughtful. She began to develop a deep attraction for him as a person, and went on to get married. The progression of building attraction for someone (on all levels, and especially physically) can come in various ways and at various times, but at some point, you will be able to ascertain: I am attracted to him/her? The answer to that question is imperative to your decision in moving further or not. Shoshana had all the characteristics Yitzchak was looking for. She was a true baa’las chesed who spent her time engaged in communal activities and helping others. Her career choice as a physical therapist only corroborated her already existing love and commitment to assisting others. Her culinary skills were as well exemplary, and Yitzchak had already gotten the chance to taste the delicious results a few times. As time moved on and their relationship become more and more focused on marriage, both Shoshana and Yitzchak began reflecting on their feelings for building a future with one another. Every qualification seemed to fit. Except one for Yitzchak. He was not attracted to Shoshana. Yes, she was very nice and would certainly build a beautiful Jewish home. But he never anticipated dates with excitement and never longed to see her when they were apart. And so, they parted ways and moved on with life. It is not uncommon for boys and girls alike to feel pressure to please parents, teachers or friends by dating someone who ostensibly matches them, but when probed deeper, does not fit them well. Multiple teachers may repeatedly tell you, “I think Dovid will be a perfect match for you!” but after dating him, you feel otherwise because you are simply not attracted to him. Do not allow what other people tell you in the arena of attraction to influence you. This is one question which only you can answer. One hundred people may find him/her attractive, but if you do not, then you do not. You would be marrying them, and so, only your personal opinion is what matters. Many boys and girls will seem to match you on paper, but you are not marrying a paper, but a human being. If the feelings of attraction and affection are forced upon you, it may last for a short time, but more often than not, you will continue to live with the feeling that something vital is missing in your relationship and it will hamper your long-term happiness. Attraction is as well what builds emotional connection. If you would choose to marry someone you lack strong feelings for, then your unit of marriage will continue to lack the emotional vitality it needs and difficulties will erupt. Marrying someone you feel in sync with, both physically and emotionally, will ensure that the relationship you begin building will be on the right track, which will lead to a life of satisfaction and contentment.

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