Psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey is back with a new four part video series on relationships, the first installation of which focuses on the "nuts and bolts" of the science of attraction. Why exactly are we more attracted to some people and not others? What makes us convinced that so-and-so is our soul-mate? Is it magic? Though the experience of meeting and connecting with someone you feel you're destined to be with may cast a strong and intoxicating spell, psychology more than magic seems to dictate why we love who we do. Dempsey explains:
The reason [for our attraction] is that [that] person is reflecting something back to us. They represent a composite of a number of caregivers in our lives...It's not really a soul-mate situation. In an instant our subconscious is clocking a variety of things about them like their hand movements, their eye contact, the way they breathe, how frequently they blink, their body posture, so many things all at once that says to us, "we know this person." We know this person. There's something very comfortable and familiar about who they are and they also gives us an opportunity to finally be heard and seen and loved in a way that we felt like we didn't have when we were younger so we can finally get our needs met and we can finally heal.
Of course, meeting who we perceive as being "the one" is never the end of the journey. Dempsey explains the particular pitfalls that can await gay men in both engaging in relationships and in feeling like we should abstain from them:
As gay men because we have that more severe wounding that can happen for us we're then going to be that much more tender, we're going to have a hyper sensitivity to all kinds of things and interactions with our partners and it can just feel like so much more of a risk for us to love. This is an opportunity for us to be able heal for sure but the way in which we go about doing it now being aware of why we're drawn to the person that we are is going to be different.
Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...
If you're interested, check out Dempsey's other videos on shame, comparing and despairing, gays who are judgmental, and the need for validation.