Love

How To Change The Kind Of Person You're Attracted To

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How many times have you heard someone say "I can’t help who I am attracted to"? Have you said this yourself? I agreed with this — until I decided to look deeper.

If there was a room full of 50 eligible people, I would be attracted to the addict/alcoholic.

After a couple of relationships with these types of people, I didn't want to deal with that 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. 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 myself to figure out how to change the kind of person I was attracted to.

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.

Sometimes, it is 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 often attracted to people who remind us on deep levels of our parents.

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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.

How to change the kind of person you're attracted to

1. Describe your former loves to yourself.

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.

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2. Looks for patterns and similarities between them.

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 commonality was my exes having the edge that adrenaline seekers have. I found it to be irresistible. Another common trait that attracts me is confidence. Note what your own patterns and commonalities are.

3. Make a conscious decision to change the pattern.

Once you identify your patterns, it is possible to change them. If you know exactly what it is (people who enjoy adrenaline for example), you can look at the different ways of getting that same trait or feeling without the negative aspects.

To change your patterns, you might have to do some work on yourself so that you more deeply understand what you are looking for in that emotionally unavailable person or in that narcissistic person.

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 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.

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4. Create a relationship wish list.

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 help us choose more wisely.

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. I sought out and found someone who has that irresistible adrenaline edge, but isn’t an active alcoholic or addict.

We have been together seven years. If I can do it, anyone can.

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Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey is a psychologist and intimacy/sex coach who helps individuals, couples and polyamorous groups create their ideal last relationships.

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