You can control your attraction patterns. Here's how.
How many times have you heard someone say "I can’t help who I am attracted to"? Have you said this yourself? I said this until I decided to look deeper.
If there's a room full of 50 eligible people and only one is an addict, I would be attracted to the addict/alcoholic. But after a couple of relationships with active alcoholics and addicts, I didn't want to deal with that awful relationship dynamic again.
The problem was, these were the people I was attracted to. To be clear, I wasn’t attracted to the alcoholism or the addiction or that awful behavior.
I would be attracted to someone and then I would find out that he was an addict or she had just come out of rehab or he was the child of an alcoholic.
So I set out to figure out how to change this pattern.
My first step was identifying that we all have attraction patterns. Most of the things that make up these patterns are subconscious. The people we are attracted to often feel familiar to us. We can find it almost impossible to explain why, but they just do.
Often, there are things about the person that remind us of our families of origin. We often are attracted to people who remind us on deep levels of our parents.
In my case, neither parent was an addict or alcoholic but there was addiction in the wider family. When I analyzed this attraction further, I identified that it wasn’t the addiction I was attracted to... it was the adrenaline-seeking aspect.
If you want to know how to stop liking someone, take these 4 steps:
1. Describe your former lovers in detail.
It may be hard to believe that you have a common pattern. Your past loves are all so different! But, are they really?
Try describing each ex in detail — physically, personality, good habits, bad habits, things you loved, things you hated, hobbies, jobs. Make it a really detailed description.
2. Highlight the patterns and note the big, enduring ones.
When you finish, have a look at and make a note of how many similarities there are. Highlight any big similarities or ones that would not have been obvious.
For me, the edge that people who love adrenaline (like addicts and alcoholics) have has been irresistible. Another common trait that attracts me is confidence. Note what your big patterns are.
3. Do the work you need to do to understand your attraction patterns.
Once you identify your patterns, it is possible to change them. If you know exactly what it is (people who enjoy adrenalin for example), you can look at the different ways of getting that same trait or feeling without the negative aspects.
A lot of our patterns date back to our attachments in early life. To be able to change these patterns, you made need some therapy and/or some coaching.
Lots of our attraction patterns are based on our biological drives. For women, attraction changes over our cycles. When we are at peak fertility, we tend to find more masculine qualities more attractive.
Smell and taste are also crucial in terms of attraction. You can change attractiveness by adding a scent you find enticing.
4. Change your patterns.
Though initial chemistry can almost compel us to focus on one person. Taking a step back and looking at the wider pool of possible partners can make a better choice more likely.
Sexual attraction can be nurtured and grown. All you need is a spark. Spending time with the person and focusing on them more deeply can fan that spark into a flame. If the flame doesn’t catch, then simply let go and move on.
You can control who you're attracted to by learning how to grow those sparks and not restricting yourself to the attractions that are overwhelmingly compelling. You can also control your attractions by applying logic to your relationships.
I create a relationship and partner wish list with clients where they describe all aspects of their perfect relationship and perfect partner. Once the description is created, I have them prioritize aspects, identify deal breakers for relationships and identify ‘must haves’.
Clients refer to this detailed blueprint when they meet new people to remind them to inject some logic and planning back into the partner choosing process.
At 46 years old, I changed my lifelong pattern and found someone who has that adrenaline edge but isn’t an active alcoholic or addict (and doesn’t carry on the negative patterns that go with that package).
We have been together 7 years. If I can do it, anyone can.
Dr. Lori Beth is a psychologist and intimacy/sex coach who helps individuals, couples and polyamorous groups create their ideal last relationships. You can sign up for her newsletter and find out more about her adventures on her website and check out The A to Z of Sex podcast on iTunes. Write to her with your questions by clicking here.