Looking for love and romance and finding your soulmate has affected humanity for as long as humanity has tried to find somebody who will accept who you are and love you for your faults just as much as your strength within a relationship.
Unfortunately, we get traction, appreciation, and love confused.
Also, being attracted to a person in a sexual sense or in the sense of admiring a person does not mean you are in love with that person, nor does attraction mean love, which can create confusion between the emotion of love and attraction.
As people, either men or women, we seek a connection with those around us.
We want to be seen, we want to be felt, and we want to be listened to, and this is expressed by other people appreciating our qualities and abilities, which makes us feel that we are being seen.
It’s this appreciation of who we are which can be mistaken for loving somebody, even though this aspect is part of what it means to love another person to appreciate who they are and what they do for one another.
In our lives, we all need to know other people appreciate us and acknowledge our existence, which is reciprocated in relationships that let people know they are loved and valued.
Being attracted to another person does not just mean loving that person’s physical characteristics; it can also mean loving aspects of that person’s personality and mind, which different people will find highly attractive.
Attraction can also be where we seek something that is missing from ourselves.
This could be a personal or physical quality, such as financial quality, within another person to meet our emotional and material needs.
Sometimes, attraction can come from an element of childhood trauma, which means in our adult lives, we look for the love that was not provided to us or the security not provided in childhood.
The stereotypical example is a young woman in her 20s dating a man in their 40s who is financially well-off and meets the emotional need of provisioning for young women, which takes them out of survival mode and helps them feel love and secure for the first time.
For a man, another stereotypical example is a man who comes from a single-mother household who saw his mother struggle and blames his father for his mother’s struggle within relationships.
He is constantly drawn to the struggling woman who needs a man in their life. The man is competing with his father to be the man of the household and proving to himself he is not like his father, nor is it like other men from his perspective.
The key to understanding attraction is not just about other people but also about yourself trying to meet the emotional and physical needs that can stem from our childhoods.
If you are reading this, unless you have had a terrible childhood or been in a coma, you would have experienced love in your life, the love of a parent, the love of the family pet or the love of a first girlfriend/boyfriend.
What we mean by and interpret as romantic love gets confused with appreciation, attraction and lust. All of these can be part of love, but they are not the leading cause of what it means to love and be loved by somebody.
True love requires understanding the person or people you are with to love them, not who you think they are but for who they are.
This is the same kind of love a parent has for their child or a child for their parent.
Any adult with parents understands that when becoming an adult and transitioning from a child to a teenager, a fully-fledged adult will learn to love our parents for who they are, not for who we hope they are.
People are messy and complicated; true love comes into being through mutual understanding of one another.