Why You Choose Who You Love

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you choose who you love

You always choose the person you fall in love with. It’s a decision. It’s your decision. Whether your relationship is great or you are stuck with a toxic partner, you chose to love this person. It also means that you have the option to walk out or fix your relationship. Your love map guides you to choose who you are going to be in love with.

“Choose love not in the shallows but in the deep.” – Christina Rossetti

Love Is Always A Choice

“Real love isn’t just a euphoric, spontaneous feeling—it’s a deliberate choice—a plan to love each other for better and worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.” – Seth Adam Smith

You can choose to love a person to who you aren’t attracted. You can get attracted to a person you aren’t in love with. Attraction is magnetic. I have been attracted to different kinds of people for different reasons. Sometimes it was their sense of humor, sometimes it was their personality while sometimes it was just how hot they looked.

When I am attracted to someone, I usually don’t control this urge to approach them or be with them. Attraction is normal. It’s healthy. The problem begins when you start confusing attraction with love. Although you may not control who you are attracted to, you certainly can control how attached you get to someone and how much you invest yourself. 

Falling in love is a choice. Come to think of it, you never fall in love. You simply give in to your emotions. What you need to realize is that a real, mature, and adult relationship not only needs love, it also needs trust, commitment, understanding, acceptance, and a lot of time and energy.

You decide to love someone because you decide to invest yourself in the relationship. It’s a deliberate decision.

Related: Love Is A Choice, Not An Uncontrollable Feeling

Love Demands Attraction, But Attraction Doesn’t Need Love

“Attraction is beyond our will or ideas sometimes.” – Juliette Binoche

————-

The club opens up to the dance floor, and the flicker of her eyes connects with mine as the flashing lights shimmer on her, consumed in the darkness.

My heart started racing. My head started pounding. It felt as if my mind was a missile and she was my target. I can’t recall ever having such an intense experience. It was like a tsunami of sexual desire destroying the town of my thoughts. I was so overwhelmed with the things happening inside.

The moment I sat down next to her, everything else disappeared. We talked, laughed, touched, and danced. I don’t remember her friends or mine leaving. The world around us didn’t exist.

The sex was amazing; the intensity of our passion drove us wild for the next 48 hours. She even ditched her friend who she had flown into town to see. I’ve never felt so infatuated in my life. Even though she wanted to cancel her flight back home to Italy, our time was bound to end. I always wonder what would have happened if we stayed in touch. If I would have pursued her seriously.

Years later, I can still vividly recall our intense passion. I have yet to find that in another woman, even women I’ve fallen in love with, so I started to wonder – why her? What caused my mind to transform into a targeted missile, locking onto her as the coordinates?

What was this energy pulling me towards her? Why was I instantly attracted and love-struck by someone I had never seen or spoken a word to before?

Was it simply raw sexual attraction? Or was it true love?

Her coordinates were as close as I have ever experienced – down to the precise points on what Love researcher Helen Fisher calls my Love Map. (1)

love map

Follow Your Love Map 

“To choose love and jump in not knowing, with a lot of unknowns, is a brave act.” – Mara Brock Akil

From cave paints to ancient maps of Greece and Asia, through the Age of Exploration and even into our present time, people have created and used maps as essential tools to help them define, explain and navigate their way through the world.

Out of all the forces that guide the type of people you choose to fall in love with, the most influential is your personal history – the melting pot of your childhood, teenage, and adult experiences that have sculpted and re-sculpted your likes and dislikes throughout your life.

Related: Why I Chose To Love You

All of these experiences melt together to form what is called your Love Map – the unconscious psychological expectations that navigate you to falling in love and settling down with the “one.”

We spend our lives swimming in a sea of moments that sculpt our romantic choices. Maybe it was your father’s odd sense of humor or your mother’s way with words. Your aunt’s love of sailing and your uncle’s obsession with crabbing. Maybe it was your sister’s interest in riding horses.

Maybe it was how your family used to silence, how they expressed intimacy and anger. How your family handled money. The amount of laughter in the house. Whether you had animals growing up or your religious education and intellectual pursuits.

The time spent with your best friends. What your grandfather thought was girly. How the community you lived in viewed justice, loyalty and kindness. What your teachers admire and disapprove of. What you saw on the TV and in the movies.

These, along with thousands of other subtle moments, mold together in a unique pattern to form our individual interests, values, and beliefs. By the end of our teenage years, each of us has created an index of aptitudes and mannerisms we are seeking to fall in love with.

Your Map Decides Who You Love

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose – and commit myself to – what is best for me.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Everyone’s chart is unique. Even identical twins, who have similar lifestyles, religions, and interests, tend to develop different styles of loving and choose different types of partners. (2)

It’s the subtle perceptions and slightly different experiences that shape their romantic tastes.

1. Love Maps are highly complex. Some people pursue a partner who agrees with what they say, while others live for a spirited debate. Some seek a prankster, while others want predictability and order. Some prefer to be entertained, while others wish to be intellectually stimulated.

2. Most of us need partners who support our dreams and passions, help us overcome our fears, or share our relationship goals. Some of us choose a partner for the lifestyle we wish to lead. Some wish to have complete devotion to their partner while others crave to be challenged so they can grow intellectually or spiritually.

3. Most Love Maps are subtle and difficult to read. You may have grown up with an alcoholic mother and become used to the unpredictability around the house. So you made a promise that you’d never marry a woman who drank. So you didn’t marry an alcoholic; rather, you married an unpredictable, helter-skelter songwriter.

A match suiting your largely unconscious Love Map. Often men and women don’t know their own love maps, which is why a woman can look perfect on paper –your interest, sense of humor, etc. – and still, be someone you are not attracted to.

Understanding Love Dynamics

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

There are a lot of theories attempting to understand the driving forces in love and relationships, and many offer compelling ideas about why we choose one person over another. But all theories are based on the fundamental belief that each of us has a unique personality that was crafted by our experiences and biology.

It’s these unconscious identifiers that guide us into falling in love with one specific person. There’s something specific that caused that intense magnetic energy to the stranger in the dark nightclub.

Related: 5 Signs Your Casual Dating Is Moving Towards Serious Love

Our Love Maps begin to develop in infancy as we were subjected to countless environmental forces that influenced our emotions and ideas about the world. Once we enter school, we begin making new friends and even have crushes that further mold our likes and dislikes. We continue to expand this Love Map as we develop more intense feelings as teenagers.

And as we surf the waves of life – and experience a few romantic disasters – we trim and edit this mental map. We label cliffs that we don’t want to fall down again and highlight the beautiful lakes on the map so we can revisit.

So when you walk into a room of potential lovers, you’re carrying a mostly unconscious biological, cultural, and personal preference that can spoil or spark romantic passion. This becomes even more complex, because the people we choose to date have an enormously varied Love Map, and some kinky fetishes as well.

Choose Love

“If everyone chose love, this world would be magnificent. Always choose love.” – Betsy Landin

It is my belief that our experiences, combined with our biology, sculpt the fundamental characteristics we seek in someone that we fall in love with. So grab your snorkel and goggles and dive just below the surface to get a glimpse of our unconscious ocean; the ocean that determines why you love who you love.

Loving someone is about making choices. We magnify the good and ignore the bad. We look for reasons to love our partner even more. Love is taking the effort to appreciate your partner and trying to do your best to make them happy.

You choose to invest your time, energy, and attention into this person just so you can see them smile. You choose to look at this person every morning when you wake up and realize how lucky you are to be with them, even though you’ve been together for 10 years.

That’s love. That is a choice. A choice to feel happy with the person you love.

Did you know you can choose to fall out of love, just like you can choose who to love? Here’s a great video you need to check out:

References:

1. Psychologist Marcel Zentner calls this chart the Ideal Mate Personality Concept.
2. Walker, N., and P. Shaver. 1994. The importance of nongenetic influences on romantic love styles: a twin family study. Psychological Science 5(5): 268-74

If you want to transform conflict into the material to build a stronger and more connected relationship then read Kyle Benson’s conflict blueprints here


Written By Kyle Benson
Originally Appeared In Kyle Benson
The Love Map: Why You Choose Who To Love
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