Attraction & Falling in Love: Which Factors Influence Our Choices?

Most people look for life-long partners or at least a committed relationship. But what determines our choice of partners? Why do some individuals attract us more than others? Psychologists and behavioral researchers have long been trying to find an answer to these questions, and it’s safe to say that they’ve come up with a number of valid observations.  

Finding a compatible partner can be an easy task for some, and a nightmare to others. If you are having a hard time establishing lasting relationships, reaching out to a relationship coach online can be of great help in understanding the laws of attraction. In the meantime, keep on reading to learn which factors determine our relationship choices. 

How Do Humans Choose Their Partners?

What Determines Who We Fall In Love With?

There are two main perspectives when it comes to the way we choose our partners – evolutionary theory and social role theory. Here’s what each of these theories proposes. 

Evolutionary theory 

The evolutionary theory of human attraction focuses on the idea that we are attracted to personality features, physical traits, and behavioral tendencies that increase our chances of reproduction and survival. 

From an evolutionary standpoint, women are attracted to men who can protect them and their children, hence the focus on economic status and power in the modern day and age, whereas men are attracted to younger, fertile women. 

Social role theory 

But, naturally, our biological build isn’t the only thing that influences attraction. In fact, our relationship choices are also dictated by our roles in society, which tend to shift over time along with social norms. For instance, the social climate of today is vastly different from that of a hundred years ago, with both men and women working full time and occupying increasingly more similar roles in society. 

This means that we may start to value the social and economic status of our partners equally, regardless of gender. The bottom line here is that shifts in our culture also have an impact on who we find attractive. 

Subjective reasons 

Although society and biology both play a significant role in attraction, our subjective internal processes aren’t necessarily rational and don’t follow evolutionary and cultural mandates. What’s more, our conscious will may often have little say in the matter. Ultimately, our heart tends to have a way of its own. 

What Determines Who We Fall In Love With? 

Within the social, biological, and subjective categories, there are several individual factors that can lead us to choose one partner over another. Some of them are: 

  • Compatibility: you may be more attracted to someone if they have similar values, beliefs, and interests to yours, although you might also be attracted to someone with intriguing differences
  • Familiarity: your chances of falling in love can be increased if you spend quite a bit of time with someone. This may be at work, in school, or other social situations. The more you’re familiar with someone, the more likely you’ll be to fall in love. 
  • Reciprocity: it has been shown that we are more likely to be attracted to someone if we feel like they like us back, although attachment issues may cause attraction to emotionally distant individuals
  • Being alone with someone: your chances of falling in love will be greater if you spend a great deal of time alone with someone, especially if other factors are at play too. 
  • Self-esteem: if you struggle with confidence and self-esteem, your standards may be lower than they should be. This can make you more vulnerable to falling in love. 
  • Excitement: generally, we tend to be attracted to intriguing, mysterious individuals. If a person excites you with their presence and behaviors, you’ll be more likely to fall for them. 
  • Family: our parents and siblings also have a say in our choice of partners, although you may not consciously be aware of their influence. While it’s common that children choose partners who fit their parents’ preferences, some may also rebel against their family’s expectations. 

Is Attraction A Choice?

While you might fall in love with someone based on unconscious subjective, social, or evolutionary factors, that is not to say that love is not a choice, although initial attraction may not be. 

Let’s say you feel a strong attraction to someone and enter a relationship with them. The initial infatuation may last for a couple of months, or maybe years. But once it fades, you will need to make a conscious decision to stay in the relationship and make it work. At the end of the day, love is both a feeling and a choice. 

We like to say that love is a verb. How you act and express yourself to another person can be loving – or it can be hurtful.  Being “in love” with someone will require a level of respect for one another. How you treat your partner – the one you say you are in love with – matters. 

Does Our Relationship With Our Parents Affect Our Relationship Choices? 

The relationship you have with your parents or primary caregivers can have a significant impact on your love life. Here are some ways in which your parents influence your relationship choices: 

  • Being raised by abusive caregivers can make you more willing to accept emotional abuse in your adulthood. For instance, if your parents fought in front of you while you were young, you’ll be more likely to follow suit. 
  • The relationship with your parents can influence your relationship with intimacy. If your parents or caregivers were affectionate with you and with each other, you’ll be less likely to be emotionless and distant in your relationships
  • Your childhood can also have an impact on how trusting you are in relationships. Inheriting deeply rooted trust issues from your parents can make finding a suitable partner or keeping one more challenging for you. 
  • Your craving for independence is also directly linked to your relationship with your caregivers. If your parents love each other but understand that time apart also matters, you’ll be more likely to seek out partners who value the same things. 

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Is Attraction A Choice?

Are you tired of failed relationships and being let down in love? No matter what the reason for your relationship struggles may be, speaking to professionals can help you heal your core wounds and transform your love life. 

PIVOT is here to help you navigate the dating world with confidence. You can find deep and meaningful insights in our individual coaching sessions, as well as our evidence and expertise-based relationship workshops. Reach out to a PIVOT Advocate today! 

Emotional Distancing: What It Is & What Causes It?

You weren’t emotionally distant when choosing your partner and in the beginning of your relationship. Something must have happened during the course of the relationship that has caused either you or your partner to become emotionless. Once you start holding back your emotions, you start allowing anger to enter the relationship, which is a recipe for a quick end.

It’s not healthy to allow emotional distancing to fester in the relationship. You want to be aware of what emotional distancing is and what causes it, and try to detect the reasons behind you becoming emotionally distant. It’s always best to consult an experienced relationship advocate to help you, however you first need to know what and why it is happening to you.

What Is Emotional Distancing?

Emotional distancing, or emotional detachment, is the inability of an individual to completely engage with their own feelings, or the feelings of others. Severe emotional distancing can start interfering with a person’s social, emotional, psychological, as well as physical development. 

Emotional distancing can be temporary, in response to a stressful or unpleasant situation, or ongoing, which appears in people who suffer from attachment disorders. Whatever kind of emotional distancing you’re experiencing, you should try and find professional assistance to help you cope with it and overcome it.

Common Symptoms of Emotional Distancing

Some of the most common symptoms of emotional distancing, be it in a relationship or with loved ones, are the following:

  • Suffering from low self-esteem
  • Becoming completely ambivalent
  • Exhibiting very bad listening skills
  • Constantly challenging intimate relationships
  • Not opening up or having great difficulty doing so
  • Experiencing lack of verbal, physical, or sexual contact

What Causes Distance In A Relationship?

What Causes Distance In A Relationship?

Emotional distancing in relationships can be caused by several different factors. Determining the cause behind you or your partner becoming emotionally distant is the first and vital step in overcoming such emotional problems. Here are the most common causes of emotional distance in relationships:

  1. Alone time: Sometimes, it all begins with a benign reason as craving some alone time. If you or your partner do not have sufficient time to dedicate to yourselves, you should try discussing it and finding some time for you and you alone. 
  2. Emotional distress: If you or your partner have recently suffered severe emotional strain, it can be what triggered the act of emotional distancing. Experiencing extreme emotions can lead to an individual withdrawing and becoming emotionally distant for a time.
  3. Love lost: Sometimes, you or your partner are no longer as emotionally invested in your relationship as you used to be. Losing interest in the relationship, not putting enough effort and avoiding intimacy are different factors that can lead to problems with emotional attachment.
  4. Avoiding and pursuing: Sometimes, you can start feeling that your partner is too needy, or vice versa. This leads to taking an emotional step back which, in turn, leads to your partner pushing even harder for answers and explanations, which quickly turns into a vicious cycle of pushing and falling back, climaxing in complete emotional detachment.
  5. Criticism: When you or your partner begin to experience emotional distance, it can quickly become really hurtful. One of you will then start to become overly critical of the other, leading to emotional withdrawal and further emotional distancing. This withdrawal will make you feel even more distressed, which will lead to even more criticism, without an end in sight.

Whatever the causes and the reasons behind emotional distancing, it’s paramount that you consult an experienced relationship advocate to help you get through it all. Otherwise, you and your partner risk imprinting further emotional damage onto each other.

What Does It Mean When You Distance Yourself From People?

Sometimes, the cause behind becoming emotionally distant is simply a lack of excitement in your life. As simple as this may sound, the feelings you’re experiencing are still hard and difficult to deal with. 

Distancing yourself from people close to you, be they your partner, your family, or your friends, is never easy, and you may want to try to do something to change it. Here’s what you can try to do when you feel that your life has become stale and that it’s causing you to take a step back from the important people in your life:

  1. Get a pet

    The affection pets show can help promote emotional bonding, and their natural excitability can help you find the excitement you’ve lost.

  2. Drives and walks

    Start taking long walks in beautiful settings, or start taking your car for drives through interesting and exciting scenery. Try to promote interaction with the environment to stop yourself from feeling dull and isolated.

  3. Learn a skill

    Try finding a new hobby, challenge yourself in fields you haven’t tried before, try to learn how to play an instrument. Find something to become engaged in, and let it embellish your daily life.

  4. Find new friends

    Sometimes, you need a fresh friendship to take you out of the rut you’re finding yourself in. They can show you new experiences, open you up to new events, and show you a completely different side of life.

  5. Consult a professional

    Finally, if all else fails, consult an experienced advocate who can help you cope with and overcome the emotional problems you’re facing.

Why Am I Distancing Myself From My Partner?

If you notice that you’re starting to emotionally distance yourself from your partner more and more, it’s time to take a look at some of the reasons why that might be happening. There are three main reasons why you might be distancing yourself from your partner:

  1. Prolonged distance: Couples go through different emotional periods together. Sometimes, they feel more distant, while sometimes they feel close to each other. However, if you stop spending time together, enjoying engaging activities, or start spending prolonged time away from each other, you can become more and more emotionally distant unless you change these habits.
  2. Unresolved conflicts: Experiencing conflicts in relationships is normal. However, you should always try to resolve those conflicts and not leave matters unfinished. Unresolved issues can cause long-term resentment, which can lead to severe emotional distancing between you and your partner.
  3. Poor sexual connection: Finally, if you’re experiencing a prolonged period of sexual inactivity between you and your partner, this may be a signal that you’re growing further and further apart emotionally. 

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What Is Emotional Distancing?

Losing emotional attachment to your partner or loved ones is never easy. Becoming distant in a relationship is hard on both parties involved, and it can exert horrible emotional toll on both partners. 

However, there is a way to solve such intimacy problems in a relationship, and it is best to start working on resolving your emotional distancing issues with an experienced relationship advocate. 

PIVOT is your safe sanctuary where you can get in touch with your inner self and learn how to connect with your partner all over again. We organize relationship retreats and workshops for you and your partner, while you can choose to have individual coaching sessions with a team of our experienced advocates. PIVOT is here to help you feel again. Contact us today!

Finding A Compatible Partner: Is It Better To Be Different Or Similar?

Sometimes, we have no control over choosing our partners. We meet someone, fall in love, and the rest takes care of itself. However, sometimes the relationship takes a sour turn, and we transition from idealizing our partner, to becoming codependent on your partner, to completely distancing ourselves from our partner. Not all relationships have a happily ever after.

And, if you’ve experienced one or several unhappy endings, you might find yourself questioning your ability to find a compatible partner for yourself. There is no room for despair, as choosing poorly happens to everybody. You can always try to consult a professional relationship advocate, but you should first try to learn how to try to find a suitable partner for yourself.

Is It Better For Couples To Be Similar Or Different?

In romantic and other types of relationships, it’s not uncommon for partners to share the same personality traits. On the other hand, there are individuals who have different, that is, complementary personalities, yet they work perfectly well together. 

So, do you choose a partner who has personality traits similar to yours, or do you try to find the perfect partner that complements your character?

The answer is that there is no definite answer, as there rarely is when it comes to the matters of the heart. There are pros and cons to both types of partners – those that are a bit different than you, as well as those that you find to be quite similar.

The Appeal Of Opposites

Some people prefer to be with a partner that shares character traits different from theirs. This allows them to grow while in a relationship, look up to their partner, and try to adopt the features they think they lack. 

Also, some individuals perceive relationships as teams, and they find it favorable to have varying strengths and weaknesses that contribute to the complementary nature of their relationship. If you find you function perfectly with a partner who is your opposite, then you have your answer.

The Significance Of Similarities

However, research suggests that it is similarities rather than complementary personality traits that help couples persevere. The University of Kansas performed a study that included 1532 couples. In 86% of the cases studied, couples that were similar in nature lasted longer.

However, it has to be noted that similar couples are in no way identical. Each person is different, and we all share different values, beliefs, and desires. It is about finding the balance between being similar enough to withstand the tests that inevitably occur in relationships, but to still possess some crucial differences that allow both you and your partner to prosper in the relationship.

Do Opposites Really Attract?

Do Opposites Really Attract?

It may be possible to provide a simplified answer to the questions of whether opposites really attract and conclude that people benefit from choosing their romantic partners based on their own preferences and feelings. However, delving deeper into the matter reveals that, at least statistically, the opposites-similarities conundrum is a bit more complicated.

Experientially, there are four major zones of couple compatibility that influence how sustainable a relationship will be in the long term. It is these crucial differences between partners that can influence the long-term viability of a relationship.

  1. World views

    If you and your partner share diametrically opposed views on life, it is difficult to imagine a non-conflicting, harmonious relationship. This doesn’t mean that differing ideas on life are a big no.

    Having a partner who is different in areas of life that are not considered crucial for the survival of a relationship can help keep things stimulating. However, differences in money management, raising children, political or religious views can lead to strong arguments and, ultimately, end the relationship.

  2. Basic activities

    Choosing a partner who predominantly likes to engage in activities similar to yours is one of the pillars of a successful relationship. This allows you to share quality time together enjoying fun and interesting activities.

    Again, this doesn’t mean that you need to become joined at the hip. Each partner can retain a couple of independent activities that will help them retain their own personalities in a relationship.

  3. Sexual relations

    Varying sexual drives between partners can be a cause of some of the biggest problems in relationships. If one partner desires sexual activity a few times a week, while the other is content with a couple of times a month, it will be difficult to attain relationship bliss.

  4. Basic temperament

    Similarities in temperament are also crucial for a lasting relationship. While smaller differences in temperament are desirable to keep things fresh, extreme differences such as a very introverted and a very extroverted partner will ultimately see their differing social appetites cause problems in their relationship. 

Can Two People Be Too Similar?

When two people in a relationship are very similar they can allow their relationship to become stale. When the two partners share too many personality characteristics, it can lead to an overly predictable relationship, which takes the fun out of it.

Also, being with an overly similar partner for a long time can lead to both of you becoming too comfortable in a relationship. This can get you stuck in a rut, causing you to start drifting apart. 

However, all this sounds a lot worse than it has to be. Relationships between similar individuals last longer and are a lot more sustainable in the long run. They just require some work, as all relationships do. Try to recognize the “slow” periods of the relationship, and put in some work to get things going again.

How Do I Choose A Compatible Partner?

Choosing a compatible partner is not easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things we all face in our lives. Some get lucky, while others put in a lot of work into their relationships, only to find them end with tears. But how can a person choose a compatible partner? Is there really a checklist that can help us achieve relationship bliss?

There isn’t. That being said, there are several things you can change in the way you approach your romantic interests that can help you find a partner that is compatible with you. Here’s what you can do if you keep finding yourself in poor relationships:

  • Don’t rush into committed relationships.
  • Make sure you share important views on life
  • Try to find a partner that you can be yourself with.
  • Don’t substitute sexual attraction for relationship potential.
  • Stop looking for the same qualities in your romantic partners.
  • Don’t expect your partner to change in order to abide by your standards.
  • Try stepping out of your comfort zone and try to get to know different people.
  • Finally, don’t hesitate to seek help from an experienced relationship advocate.

Learn About Yourself & Other at PIVOT Relationship Coaching Retreat For Singles

Can Two People Be Too Similar?

Perhaps you’ve been in multiple relationships but you’ve never managed to find the person who is completely right for you. Maybe you’ve never met someone you wanted to form a relationship with. Whatever the reason, seeking help with finding your significant other is nothing to be ashamed of, and experienced PIVOT advocates are here to help you find love.

Our dating module has helped many people have successful outcomes with dating.  We also have a PIVOT Dating with Purpose Series which is a four week course with a small group that can help write a profile based in reality!  

Our specialized couples workshops and retreats are great for assisting you with finding your match, while our individual coaching sessions alongside a team of experienced advocates can help you learn more about yourself and what you’re looking for. We’re here to help you out any way we can. Contact us today!