What Emotional Attraction Really Is (And Why Relationships Can’t Thrive Without It)

When you're emotionally attracted to a person when you somehow feel like you've known them forever.

woman and man looking at each other Fototocam / Shutterstock

You might have experienced this before, where you meet a person and you feel a deep emotional connection to them.

You don't even have to feel sexually attracted to them to feel what you're feeling, and you might be wondering what that's called.

Well, whatever it is that you get the sense of a deep connection to someone you just met, that's called emotional attraction.

But what is emotional attraction, exactly?

You're emotionally attracted to a person when you somehow feel like you've known them forever, or the two of you are captivated by each other's heart, mind, or humor.


According to Urban Dictionary, emotional attraction or to be emotionally attached is "the elevated feeling of attachment, comfort, trust, and friendship after being in a relationship with an individual for a period of time."

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Relationship expert, counselor, and therapist Lisa Rabinowitz likes the Gottman’s Institute definition of emotional attraction, which is “being attracted and not just to your partner's body, but also to their hearts, minds, and dreams."

"Sexual attraction is important, but emotional attraction deepens the connection between partners and is important for long-term relationships," says Rabinowitz.


Emotional attraction can form a deeper emotional connection and is a different type of attraction than sexual attraction.

When you have an emotional attraction to someone, it doesn't just mean you are attracted to someone's intelligence and conversation, but the two of you have a special bond because you are connected in a special and undeniable way. The two of you see your attraction grow the more you get to know one another. 

For men, emotional attraction can be very tough as it can sometimes take a while for them to form an emotional attraction to a woman. However, according to relationship coach Keith Dent, when a man does find an emotional attraction to a woman after they spend time with her, it can be unshakeable.

"You just want to talk and be with that person because there is a sort of excitement and peace that comes when you feel emotionally attracted to someone," Dent explains. "It's a fragile situation for men because you want to make sure you hold onto it, but you don't want to go overboard either in fear of losing the power in the relationship."


What are the signs of emotional attraction?

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1. You feel like this person "gets you."

This is probably one of the clearest signs that a person is emotionally attracted to you because they will just be able to get you and understand you so easily. It will be like secure nature and you might even feel like you've known this person for way longer than you actually have.

According to hypnotherapist Keya Murthy, emotional attraction is a feeling you feel and you might not know why.

"You know this person and you might share common interests or come from different worlds and have no common interests," Murthy says. "Emotional attraction has an awe factor involved."


2. You can't stop thinking about them.

This is also another sign that you have formed an emotional attraction to someone because you don't want to stop talking to them because when you're not with them, all you're thinking about is actually talking to them and wanting to get to know more about them. 

3. The two of you have conversations that never end.

The only time you need to stop the conversation between the two of you is when you become so tired that you need sleep. That's because the two of you could talk all day and all night long if that was possible. The two of you always have something to talk about with each other and the conversation never gets dull. 

4. You love their qualities and personality. 

When you have an emotional attraction to somebody you are also attracted to things that they have which you yourself might lack or wish you had. There is a high level of emotional attraction and interest there.

"There is something about the other person that you admire and so does the other person in you. This admiration comes from things you feel you lack. Emotional attraction has a complementary element attached to it," says Murthy. 


5. The two of you can be vulnerable to each other.

This is even more important in romantic relationships, but even in friendships, being vulnerable and open with each other is so important for the relationship to thrive.

When the two of you have an emotional connection, vulnerability comes easy and can help the two of you feel mentally attached to each other. 

"At times you are mentally and emotionally attracted to another and there is little or no sexual attraction attached to it. Signs of emotional attraction are when you can tell what the other is feeling without them saying it and you are right about it. There is an intuitive component to emotional attraction. You make room for the other person to express their emotions and all you feel is vulnerability, no judgment, and a lot of compassion," says Murthy. 

In relationships, emotional attraction is essential because physical attraction can be fleeting — however, emotional attraction is constant and can last for a very long time. 


But if a relationship has both emotional and physical attraction, it will be very strong. 

"Emotional attraction is reflective of a deep connection with someone where you feel truly seen and heard, and that's something that's essential in a relationship and in a partner," says Murthy.

You can tell if someone is emotionally attracted to you by asking yourself a couple of questions:

Do you genuinely care for this person you are attracted to? 

Do you feel like you've known them your whole life when you just met them? 

Do you lose track of time when talking to them and feel at ease when they are around?

If the answers to all those questions are yes, then it's pretty clear you are emotionally attracted to whoever you were questioning. 


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How can you cultivate emotional attraction?

1. Focus on the now, when the two of you are together.

In order to increase your emotional attraction to someone, you can be in the now with them, focusing on being present and open. All you have to do is give them your undivided attention. 

2. Keep eye contact with them.

The eyes are the window to our souls, right? So by keeping eye contact with someone, you can easily create an emotional attraction to them and it can be meaningful.


Through making eye contact, you can make sure you have a strong emotional connection that is genuine because each of you is willing to listen to what the other has to say and be involved in the conversation.

3. Enjoy shared interests together in shared experiences.

Another great way to form an emotional attraction with somebody is by turning your shared interests into shared experiences with each other. It might be doing something you love to do by yourself except with someone else this time. 

4. Don't be afraid to share a lot about yourself.

People find that sharing things they normally wouldn't with other people is scary, however, by being raw and real with people, you can actually form an emotional attraction with them.

When talking to them, you aren't cautious of sharing anything because conversation feels so natural with them and the two of you can trust each other. 


RELATED: Why It's So Important To Feel Vulnerable In Your Relationship

Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers pop culture, love and relationships, and self-care.