Just Because You’re Attracted to Someone, Doesn’t Mean They’re Good For You.

In Advice and Encouragement, Dating, For the Guys, For the Ladies, Marriage, Relationships, Single by Debra Fileta34 Comments

“To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”. 

That’s the title of an online article going around, from The New York Times. I’d repeatedly seen this title pop up in my Facebook NewsFeed, and as I do with most titles that sound unrealistic- I ignored it. But last week when someone asked me for my thoughts on the article, I read it for the first time.

In short, the author describes an interaction she had with a gentlemen that led them to fall in love with each other. The interaction was based on the research of Arthur Aron, who succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory, using a series of 36 questions. The author concludes that falling in love is something you can create, and in a sense, control – with the right environment, of course.

So, is it possible that love isn’t as complicated a we make it? Can two people really create an environment that fosters true love?

Yes and No. Here’s why.

1. Because 36 Questions may foster the feeling of intimacy, but feeling intimate isn’t the same as being intimate. The article talks about creating “intimacy” by going through the list of questions. I don’t doubt that answering 36 personal questions feels intimate. But just because you FEEL close to someone, doesn’t mean you actually are. True intimacy isn’t just a feeling- it’s an ongoing experience. It’s a constant give-and-take. It’s two people who have committed to seeing the other person for who they REALLY are- on good days, and on bad days. Just because you feel intimacy, doesn’t mean you actually have intimacy, because true intimacy requires an intermingling of lives- heart, soul and mind. So many times in a relationship we chase after false intimacy, whether by going too deep too fast with someone emotionally, physically, or even spiritually. But true intimacy takes time, takes choice, and takes commitment- because it has roots that run deeper and deeper with each passing day.

2. Just because you’re attracted to someone, doesn’t mean they’re good for you. I definitely agree that healthy relationships start with some level of attraction, but just because you have attraction doesn’t mean that everything else in the relationship lines up. Here’s the thing: desires can’t always be trusted. Just minutes before writing this article, my own desires were leading me astray. I’ve been really working on eating healthier foods, but the ice cream in my fridge was calling my name. But sometimes, you have to say no to your desires and instead say yes to what you know is for your best. According to this article, by creating an atmosphere that fosters chemistry, two people can create a strong attraction and therefore fall in love. But how long will it take us to realize that attraction isn’t everything? Attraction is a good first step, but it’s just the first step. Because sometimes in life, we attract or are attracted to healthy relationships. But other times, we’re drawn to things that aren’t so good for us. And oftentimes, our desires can lead us astray. But the healthier we become as individuals, the healthier the relationships we’re drawn to. In fact, that’s the entire premise behind my book, True Love Dates. It’s important not to let our desires lead the way in relationships, but instead, to balance them with what we know is best for us.

3. Because even though love starts with a feeling, it doesn’t end there. One thing that’s deeper than feelings, is choice. And eventually, real love has to move into something more significant. There are so many components of choice when it comes to creating a healthy and meaningful relationship. From the initial choices of knowing yourself, to working on becoming your best self, to the choice of entering into a relationship that’s good for you, to the choice of committing to love. Because real love is a commitment, it’s not something that we fall into by mistake. Instead, it’s something we choose, and continue to choose, for the rest of our lives. Like the old D.C. Talk song says, “Love is a verb”.

So often “falling in love” is described as a one-dimensional feeling or experience. But it’s a definition that falls flat, because it fails to take into consideration the deeper aspects of will, choice, and wisdom involved in finding love.

As much as I appreciate the romantic story described by the author of the New York Times post “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This”, I think it’s terribly misleading, because it offers a formula for falling in love, without an accurate definition of what it really means to fall in love.

Love is so much more than chemistry exchanged between two people at a bar.

Love is deep. Love is commitment. Love is selfless. Love is costly. Love is life-giving. And ultimately, love is a choice. Because maybe anyone can “fall in love”, but more meaningful then that, is when we choose to stay in love.

[Additional Resources: Want more about choosing the right partner, and finding love? Check out my book, True Love Dates.]

 

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

Comments

  1. “As much as I appreciate the romantic story described by the author of the New York Times post “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This”, I think it’s terribly misleading, because it offers a formula for falling in love, without an accurate definition of what it really means to fall in love”. Deb, i strongly agree with you, people lack accurate definition of what it means to fall in love. For that reason, people fall in love today and fall out of love tomorrow. Until we get accurate definition of what it means to fall in love, we will continue and not get it right.

    1. Author

      YES!!! So true Vincent! As quickly as we can fall into love, we can fall out of it….and there is so much danger there. Christians are buying into that mentality, and it’s destroying relationships that should be based on covenant and commitment.

      1. I agree with your insight, Deb. Just found it an interesting take. I think the key words are definitely Covenant and Commitment, which renders the idea of “choosing” to love. Love as more of a decision to show love rather than a “feeling” of love. I think that’s why I think the article had any interesting points at all – it’s not everyday that secular society suggests in any form or fashion that love is a decision.

        1. Author

          I agree!!! It’s interesting how they talked about choice, isn’t it!! I also found the article really interesting, and I bet the author has a really great heart as well. May God continue using these things to draw us and our entire society into true love with Him. I’m glad you shared it, it’s a good conversation to have 🙂

        1. Author

          Yes!! Especially since the readership is actually 54% male! Maybe they just don’t share as much via comment 🙂

  2. Thanks for reminding that love is a choice! And I’ve noticed it too, that the healthier we become, the more attracted to healthier relationships we’re drawn to. Spending time with God and also reading your articles has helped me change perspectives on relationships. Thanks a lot!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Ian!! So true! And That is exactly the premise behind my book- the healthier we are, the healthier we will attract- and I think it’s because humans are magnetic in so many ways…we draw people that are like us. Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. Hi,

    You’re so right! I thought I was in love but not true. I started too fast emotionally and physically. I’m always the one giving and trying to compromise. There’s no connection with the heart, mind and soul. It’s empty. I’m lying to myself even though I know is not good for me but I just want others to think it is fine. He will never try to interact with me or interested about me except physically. Everything is centered about him, he doesn’t care how I feel or think. It’s just my feeling but is not good enough for me.

    1. Author

      You have so much insight, Gracy. Thank you so much for sharing your story- I hope this article challenges you as you figure out the next steps that are best for your life and relationship! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Love is a choice. This is such an important fact in the discussion. You get to make that choice. This understanding will ultimately lead to what you allow others to do to you and how you relate to others how you appreciate being treated.
    ” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes should not perish but have everlasting life ” John 3:16.
    Love is moved to act purposely. When you know that the power to choose lies with you then you can act in a manner that will lead to healthier relationships.
    Thank you Debra.

    1. Author

      Love this scripture, Jessy!! Thank you for your encouragement and for commenting!

  5. I wrote about this article on my blog, too 🙂 I found it interesting that Dr. Aron’s original research wasn’t even about love — it was focused on how quickly two people can feel close to each other. The study participants who fell in love were an unplanned side-effect. He even talked about how it seemed “unlikely that the procedure produces loyalty, dependence, commitment, or other relationship aspects that might take longer to develop.”

    I agree with your comments about the article “To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This.” It did seem too focused on initial attraction and feeling. The thing I found most interesting about her article, though, was the observation that love can be a choice. If carried beyond an initial feeling of falling in love, that idea could be used to foster continuing love in a relationship. I’ve heard several people, including my mother, apply this to marriage by saying that instead of abandoning a committed relationship if we just don’t feel “in love” anymore, we can choose to foster intimacy and act in a loving way.

    1. Author

      So interesting, Marissa!! A lot of people define love and attraction as one thing – and it’s so misleading…and ultimately, love is a choice, but I think we have to start by defining love as more than a feeling, like your mom says 🙂 So good!

  6. Do we always fall out of love at the same speed as we fall in love? I really wish it is not the case for every couple. My four-month relationship with my bf has a very good and constructive effect to my life and we are looking forward to a future together; however I think we might bond “too deeply too soon” judging by the length and depth of our relationship. My bf and I both agree with you that love is a choice; but reading your wonderful article makes me worry a little bit secretly.

    1. Author

      I think dating is the best time to figure out if this is a relationship you want to choose “for life”. I don’t think we are asked to choose commitment until the day we say “I do”. This is the best time to see if the relationship is healthy and strong.

  7. Thank you Debra once again. God bless you real good for this generation. I appreciate God for your life.

  8. Hello,thanks for the write up.I actually have a guy who i`m dating presently ,We love each other but i observed he doesn`t give me money or gifts ,since we started dating .I always try my best to give him something when ever he comes visiting me .I don`t know why he has never given me a gifts ,may be he is trying to observe the kind of person i am or may be because i`m working and he also works too as a Medical doctor .Pls Debra i need your advice .

    1. Author

      Gifts are one way to show love, but there are other ways as well including commitment, encouragement, time, service, kindness, selflessness, etc. May God continue to give you wisdom to see this relationship for what it is as you move forward. Blessings to you!!

  9. So so true. I have had to explain this to lots of young men and women times without number, but some still end up in very bad relationships. This is what the world teaches but God’s love is unconditional and He expects that His children will learn to share His kind of love especially in romantic relationships.God bless you Debby for sharing your heart.

  10. I was led to this site from someone that so interjected themselves into our family life, it helped destroy and undermine all of us and helped lead to the breakdown of our once more than happy family. We had 3 wonderful boys that are now grown men with their own families, and to this day the harm from the divorce affects us all, over and over, 25 years later. Now they decide to be committed, when illness strikes yet the damage done by the triangulator is irreparable. This is a utopian sort of love and is great to strive for, unless it includes dividing, conquering and the tearing apart of others. God’s words are clear on marriage as well; one man, one woman forever, even if divorce comes. We on this side of it have had 1/3 -1/2 of our lives spent in turmoil and havoc, always praying for relief for the kids’ struggle with the divorce. For the divider, sometimes it never ends.
    The outcome for the children, is to work harder than ever to stay committed to their family units so something as devastating as what they have had to live through, and still do, will never come their way. The kids don’t deserve it. Ever.

    1. Author

      Divorce is always painful. So sorry to hear your story. May God continue His healing power in your life.

  11. Timely article in light of my current relationship and beginning to doubt God’s Will for me and this person to be together. Yes, I love him…but is he really right for me…

    1. Author

      I pray that God gives you the wisdom you need as you move forward. Thank you for sharing your story with us!!

  12. such a wounderful nd inspiring write. You v been a source of blessing, ur oil will not dry IJN.

  13. I totally agree that love is a choice ! I mean we r not forced to be in a relationship , we r not forced to continue living with a partner but when it comes to choosing who we r going to fall in love with believe me it’s not a choice .. we ll be forced to care to get hurt to be so fragile so unusual so weak .. I hate loving people cause all i get is pain .. But if we r strong enough we r going to stop these ugly feelings .. But sorry i m strong enough to give up on my one sided love .

  14. Hi Debra,

    I’m dating with someone for seven months now. for the first five months everything going well until the last two months the mother come-up with disagree to our relationship. (I haven’t met yet or talk on the phone with the mother). And his busy schedule at work make our communication doesn’t going well. I try to understand the situation, but I want him to understand me also. o yaa we are on long distance relationship. I would be thankful if you can give me some advise. Thank you God bless you 🙂

Leave a Comment