It might just be the last taboo: admitting you don't find your partner physically attractive anymore. In a culture that worships physical beauty and encourages you to place attraction somewhere near the first spot on a list of non-negotiables when choosing a marriage partner, admitting that you don't always find your partner attractive is considered blasphemous and a valid reason to walk away. How Do You Keep A Marriage Going?
When clients and e-course members broach this topic with me, it's with a great deal of trepidation and guilt, as if they're committing a cardinal sin. My first line of action is to reassure them that it's normal and more common than they think. They only have to access the numerous threads on the e-course forum to see that they're far from alone in this area. It's not something that's discussed in Cosmo and Vogue, but it's a line of thought that's alive and well in the psyches of thousands of women and men. Real Love Versus Infatuation
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My second line of conversation is to begin to break down the flimsy definition of attraction that our culture propagates. Because our culture is obsessed with image, we define beauty only as what is apparent to the camera's eye. It's skin-deep, or less than skin-deep if you consider the amount of makeup, airbrushing, and photoshopping that is involved in creating a magazine photo.
We carry this definition of beauty into our intimate relationships and assess our partners through this lens. We may consciously say, "I don't expect him or her to look like a magazine photo," but we nevertheless define attraction by the superficial criteria that we've absorbed since birth. How can we do otherwise? Cultural conditioning runs deep and it's only with a great deal of awareness that we can re-wire these habitual ways of seeing. Peace For The Anxious Mind: A Thought Is Just A Thought
So, if attraction isn't based on physical appearance, what is it about? It's about essence. It's about the person you see when all pretenses fade away. It's about the light that emanates from his eyes or the radiance of her smile. It's about seeing soul instead of personality. It's about the sustaining beauty of true nature instead of the fleeting beauty of a pretty face.
It's about what draws you to your partner, what connects you, what makes you say "yes" to him or her and "no" to everyone else. It's about that place that feels like home, when you can sit next to each other immersed in engaging conversation or content in comfortable silence.
I often encourage my clients to eliminate the words attraction or chemistry from their vocabulary. I mean both buzzwords and anxiety-spikes. Instead ask, "What draws me to my partner?" Let's understand attraction like a magnetic pull instead of in terms of superficial beauty.
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