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The Mystery of Romantic Attraction

Have you ever wondered why we are attracted to certain people? There is mystery certainly, but also a lot of psychology. Harville Hendrix Ph.D. in his book, Getting The Love You Want, talks about an image that is built into us as children. For instance, if one of our parents is emotionally unavailable, then we may be attracted to emotionally unavailable people. For one thing, it is comfortable because it is "normal" to us. We are used to relating to someone like that.

Also, in an effort to heal the pain resulting from having an emotionally unavailable parent, (i.e. hurt, anger, disappointment), we may be drawn to a similarly unavailable person in an unconscious effort to get from him/her what we did not get as a child. If we could get what we need from such a person, it might be very healing, but the odds of that are not high. When we don't get what we want, the old hurt/anger/disappointment etc. comes flying up directed at our romantic partner.

As mentioned earlier, we are often attracted to people who have some core similarity to a parent, or perhaps, the complete opposite. The more emotionally out of balance our caregivers are, the more out of balance we will be. Children are little "sponges", learning whatever is in their environment. If parents don't communicate well, then the children have no opportunity to learn good skills. They must learn as adults. This is what I teach in couples counseling, how to skillfully communicate with one's partner. I have seen many couples quickly feel better about their relationship once they start using the communication skills I teach them. 
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