Many people have a checklist of sorts when searching for a partner. Sometimes we make exceptions for that list when some boxes get checked off, while other boxes are non-negotiable. We know it’s a recipe for a fling when we encounter an irresistible person who only meets us on a small number of levels, and other times we know right away that someone has potential to be a longtime love.
Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author whose most recent work is The Dang Factor, intimately understands each level of attraction and generously clued us in on the intimate details.
“In every relationship, there are different types and levels of attraction,” she started. “In a perfect world, it would be wonderful to find a partner who satisfies all levels and types of attraction.” A “perfect world” makes it sound unattainable, but realistically, it’s precisely what we strive for when finding our next sweetheart. “The more attraction boxes you are able to check in your relationship, the better your chances are for a long and successful partnership.” So get to checkin’! Here’s what to consider.
Editor’s note: Although this article uses male pronouns, the advice applies to all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Hello! Duh. “Sexual attraction is the most powerful component of your relationship and, by far, the most important level of attraction to achieve. A sexually close couple can overcome the hardest of obstacles in their relationship.” While crucial, it’s not everything.
“The level of peace, comfort, and security that comes to you when your partner nurtures you is indescribable. It is very easy to be attracted to a nurturer. When our partner nurtures us, we feel connected. When we are nurtured, we feel safe and secure. He runs his fingers through your hair. He tells you how beautiful you are. He sends you a text to let you know he has dinner covered. He rubs your feet. He leaves you sweet notes.”
“The old saying, ’marry your best friend,” is spot on. The friendship attraction is like girl time, just with your guy. It’s being able to talk to your partner as if you were talking to your best girlfriend—about anything. Having a partner who is also your friend is true icing on the cake of love.”
“When we are attracted to our partner as a companion, we share many of the same interests and activities. We may be attracted to him because we share a love of travel, or cooking, or happy hour. Ideally, the companion attraction should line up with the friendship attraction.”
Sports and Recreation Attraction
“Sports attraction is an attraction to your partner because he loves and participates in the same recreation activities as you. Sports and rec attraction forms a bond that develops out of a common love of something. Sports bonds create unity and fuel an attraction to each other. Friendly competition and pushing each other to excel are great byproducts of a sports attraction.”
“A professional attraction is an attraction to the brainpower of your partner. It is an attraction to the drive and professional ambition of your partner. This level of attraction is important because it is the driving force behind the respect you ultimately have for each other.”
Afont reminds us that while we might have our very own nuanced checklist, these categories are the lifeblood of lasting love. “It’s important to keep these in mind as you navigate through the world of dating, or work to fine-tune a lacking category in your current relationship. What may be lacking in one attraction category can be balanced out by an extreme attraction in a different category. Ultimately, with time, effort, and commitment, every level of attraction can be satisfied.” Of course, no need to over-analyze if something is working perfectly right now, but they’re certainly something to consider in order to have your needs met.
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