November 28, 2023

Jewish Matchmaker Journal: Dating Before Attraction

Attraction usually takes center stage as the primary factor that determines who we choose to pursue romantically. We're told to follow our heart, listen to our instincts, and let physical chemistry be our guide. But what if we challenged this perspective and considered dating someone before we felt physical attraction? Surprisingly, there are valid reasons to explore this unconventional path.

Dating someone before attraction offers the chance to form a deeper connection, fosters personal growth, challenges preconceived notions, and allows love to grow gradually. It can also lead to a more enduring partnership based on shared values, interests, and emotional chemistry.

A Deeper Connection

While intense physical attraction can be powerful, it often clouds our judgement as to whether or not we’re actually compatible with someone. When that intensity naturally subsides, we may discover that we don’t really have much in common. Suddenly we’re arguing over little things, the intensity of attraction fades, and we begin “falling out of love”. If we’re not married, this usually signals the end of the relationship and we go looking for that intense spark with someone else. If we rushed into marriage and divorce isn’t an option, we’re stuck in an unhappy reality. Many don’t understand that the cocktail of chemicals that creates that powerful initial attraction will subside at some point, and something more substantial needs to be there to nourish and support the relationship.

When we date someone we aren't initially attracted to, we open  ourselves up to the possibility of forming a deep, meaningful connection at the beginning, and letting attraction grow later. When we’re not overwhelmed by chemistry, we can take our time getting to know someone. We go beyond their appearance, beyond instant attraction to discover shared interests, values, and goals that foster an emotional bond that is longer-lasting and more sustainable than instant fireworks.

Challenging Your Assumptions

Dating before attraction can help you better understand your own preferences and priorities. You get insight into what truly matters to you in a relationship and what you are willing to compromise on. This self-awareness is invaluable. There is a certain thrill in discovering that someone you initially weren't attracted to actually possesses qualities that captivate you. It's a revelation that can lead to unexpected joy in a relationship that defies conventional expectations.

We all have certain preferences and types, but sticking rigidly to them can be limiting. If you’re drawn to a specific type, you probably eliminate everyone who doesn’t fit that mold. And if you’re still single and wondering why, that mold might be the reason. Get out of your comfort zone and get adventurous about who you are willing to date. When you venture outside your comfort zone, you challenge your preconceived notions and grow as an individual. It also forces you to look beyond the surface and find qualities in a person that have long-term appeal. Broadening your criteria makes you more open-minded and more likely to actually meet a great partner.

The Eye of the Beholder

Attractiveness is highly subjective. Someone you might not find attractive at first glance may become incredibly appealing once you get to know the person. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the true beauty of a person emerges as you delve deeper into their character.

Physical attraction is not solely based on looks - it is significantly influenced by personality, mannerisms, and shared interests. Dating someone to whom you aren't initially attracted doesn’t mean you won’t become attracted. Through spending time with someone, you see the beauty of their character, their humor, their intelligence, and their kindness. You’re not just caught up in a whirlwind of emotion. When you pay attention to the reality of who a person is, you may find yourself drawn to their personality in ways that you never anticipated. As you get to know someone on a deeper level, you may find that they physically become more attractive to you.

Instant chemistry may draw you in, but shared values and common goals are what make a relationship last. When you date someone before attraction, you may discover that you share important values, beliefs, and life aspirations. These shared values, beliefs, and aspirations are ultimately much more fulfilling than instant chemistry, can increase your attraction for someone, and are the foundation for a long-lasting and satisfying partnership.

Love Grows With Time

Attraction isn't static; it evolves and changes. Attraction can fade, and attraction can grow. It’s important that we understand this fact - attraction ebbs and flows. There must be something deeper that sustains the relationship when attraction is at a low point.

Physical attraction is only one facet of overall chemistry. A deep emotional connection and shared interests generate a different kind of chemistry, one that is equally as powerful and fulfilling. This chemistry can be as, if not more, satisfying than mere physical attraction.

Love doesn’t actually happen at first sight. Love develops gradually as two people get to know each other. By giving a chance to someone you aren’t initially attracted to, you open the door to the possibility of love blossoming in the healthiest way - over time. This is love that is based on depth of character and compatibility and leads to a more profound and lasting connection.

The Take-away

While physical attraction is an important factor in relationships, it's just one piece of the puzzle. The real attractiveness of a person lies in the unseen qualities that make him or her unique and lovable. By being open to dating before attraction, you allow for the possibility of discovering someone truly amazing and perfect for you - someone you might have otherwise overlooked. Love has a way of surprising us when we least expect it, and dating beyond attraction can be the catalyst for exactly that kind of delightful surprise.