Dating and Relationship Advice

When I first came across the iris Dating app, I was skeptical that it would work for me. I believed not only that it was shallow but that I didn't think attraction was relevant to me in my own personal romantic relationships. I didn't want someone to pursue me just because they thought I was pretty. I wanted to get married and didn't feel the need to be attracted to my future husband, at least not physically. I thought that I "only" needed emotional compatibility and so wasn't even looking at people in terms of whether I was attracted to them or not.

Attraction is not what I thought

As it turns out, that was because I had not been meeting very many people that I felt physical attraction to. That was in part because I wasn't looking for that, but it was also because I had not taken the time to get to know myself or my preferences. This self-reinforcing pattern had landed me squarely in the belief that I just don't experience physical attraction. My lack of physical attraction also stemmed from the wounds that come from lack of mutual attraction. As many of you have likely experienced, it really hurts to feel drawn to someone who does not feel the same way about you. So my "I don't need physical attraction to form a healthy relationship" story was also routed in self-protection. (Speaking of self-protection, I don't think I'm the only woman who has had the feeling that physical attraction can feel dangerous.)

What attraction actually is

And then I experienced the magic of attraction gone right. A potential partner treated me with more respect and honor than I'd ever been treated with before on multiple occasions. It got to the point where I felt safe enough to ask him what their motivation was (out of curiosity not out of low self-esteem or defensiveness), and they told me that the way the first time seeing me made him feel compelled him to be on his best behavior. It was not to earn my trust so that he could relax later; he described it as being inspired by beauty to act in a way worthy to be in its presence.

The power of mutual attraction

It feels awkward to write those words about myself, but I wanted to make this story personal because of how powerful this experience was. I went from practically shunning the idea of attraction to deeply respecting its power. Attraction has the reputation of being shallow, but that's because it's been misunderstood: true attraction calls people to be the best version of themselves because it's not about consumption, but rather honor. And when this is mutual - when two people feel that level of attraction towards each other - it paves the way for the emotional dimensions of a relationship to align. If what someone is feeling towards another causes them to treat them badly or take them for granted, it's not attraction. Mutual attraction means mutual honor and respect.

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