These three words may appear to have the same meaning and just be different variations of the same idea. They’re similar, but not the same. And, the sooner we learn the difference, the easier time we will have in life. Especially when it comes to dating and even finding a potential partner.
Consider when you’re actively dating.
Step One – Attractive
I’ve been active on internet dating for a few years. On the page where you can search, there will pop up a small picture. I don’t search for you if you don’t have a picture. Call it shallow but I want to look at your face and say, yes, this woman is attractive. I have a picture and I want you to look at mine and say the same thing about me. If not, no sense in wasting each-others time.
So, we now have a baseline. Looking at a picture or seeing a stranger at a party, I can say if I find them attractive or not. This does not mean however that I will be attracted to them or that there will be attraction between the two of us.
But, finding someone’s picture or looks attractive is a start.
Step Two – Attracted
Being attracted to someone is step 2. For me at least, this requires getting to know the person more intimately. By intimate, I don’t just mean sex. Not just physically either.
Instead, being attracted to someone is more about the deeper stuff. Can they hold an interesting, intelligent conversation? Were they honest in their profile compared to how they are in person? Are they kind, polite, attentive, warm, fun and funny? I see many attractive pictures on my dating site. But, when I look at their description and read the same thing about being a strong, independent woman who is in the best years of her life who likes drinking coffee and taking walks, I want to throw my laptop out of the window!
What’s wrong with a strong, independent woman who is in the best years of her life who likes drinking coffee and taking walks? Nothing really, but if that’s all you can write, you are just like 95% of the other women out there. I want to see YOU in your profile. I have looked at pictures of women who I thought, yeah, she’s attractive. Then I read this dynamite profile they’ve written and BANG! I already find them more attractive and become more attracted to them.
Whether online or in real life, becoming attracted to someone happens when you get to know them better.
The difference between attractive and attracted
Being attracted to someone is more about WHO they are than what they look like. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they can rock their post kids 40+ something body. That they move with a feminine grace and smell intoxicating. Those things are VERY attractive. But the package can’t be the only attractive thing. If so, I won’t be attracted to them and that will eliminate our chances of building attraction.
Step Three – Attraction
So, what’s this about building attraction? Yes, the next step. Attraction is something between two people. When I was 20 or even 30, the rush of hormones I felt through my body when getting to know an attractive, intelligent, interesting woman could mask itself as attraction. However, I’m now over 50 and most of the women I date are near or at that milestone as well.
This is a key difference. Not only are our bodies different in that we are no longer steered by our hormones (hopefully anyway). We are also more mature, spiritually and emotionally (again, hopefully). Part of this maturity means that we use our life’s experiences, for better or worse, in making the decision if there is an attraction between us. True, there is still a chemical reaction that takes place when we meet certain people. But this is more helpful in guiding you towards someone you think is attractive and helping you decide if you are attracted. The attraction part can be, at this phase in our lives, built, cultivated and given the chance to grow.
We need to stop considering how attraction happened when we were younger. Back then we were more under the influence of how the chain reaction from the chemicals inside of our body was affecting us. It’s different now, not better, not worse, but different.
The best date ever!
I once had a date with a woman who I found to be attractive. We spent almost 6 hours walking, talking, laughing and really enjoying each-others company. At one point she told me it was the best date she had ever been on. At the end of the date, she told me there wouldn’t be a date number two. In her words “Let’s face it, there isn’t that attraction.”
Fair enough. I asked her if she thought I was attractive and she replied, yes, very. I asked her if she felt that attraction wasn’t something that probably needed a bit of time to see if it could be built? Could this happen as long as you felt someone was attractive and you were attracted to WHO that person was once you had met? She said she was attracted to me, but didn’t feel that click. My response was along the lines with what I am writing here.
That I believed as long as we both found each other attractive, were attracted to WHO the other person was, that attraction, at our age, was something that perhaps would take a little time. We have so many defenses at this point in our lives that I feel it can potentially block attraction from being felt right away. If we only dated people we “clicked” with immediately, we could be missing out. She thought that was an interesting idea, but still only wanted to be friends.
Give attraction a chance!
I’m not talking about forcing something that’s clearly not there. I’m not recommending continuing to see someone you don’t find attractive. I’m certainly not saying, that even in our 50’s, we can’t feel something special happening inside our bodies or want that feeling. But attraction can be built and when it is, that feeling WILL be there. It may not be exactly the same as when you were 17, but that doesn’t mean worse, just different.
I’ve had a few women friends who became more attractive to me the more I got to know them. Over time, with some of them, we developed an attraction for one another that was not there when we first met. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Just don’t throw in the towel so soon.
The next time you’re out on a date with someone whose appearance you find attractive. Whose personality, spirit and soul you are attracted to. Give it a chance to allow the attraction to build. I’ve only been deeply in love once in my life. Though I found her attractive from day one, it took getting to know her to feel attracted to her. That grew deeper the more I got to know her. It took time for the attraction between the two of us to build up to where it was undeniable. This resulted in the greatest love and relationship I’ve ever had. Even though we are no longer together, I am more convinced than ever that attraction comes in steps. That it can be cultivated and grown to create that magic feeling you had when kissing the first person you ever loved.
Give attraction a chance. You’ll be glad you did!