What Is Romantic Attraction? Understanding The Urge To Seek Out A Mate

Updated August 14, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

At some point during adolescence or young adulthood, individuals may become interested in seeking out a partner. It might happen earlier for some and later for others, but romantic attraction is common. You may wonder where these feelings come from, though.  Does it stem purely from a desire for procreation, thereby continuing the species? Or are there other elements at work that should also be recognized?

The Most Basic Definition Of Romantic Attraction

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At its most basic level, romantic attraction is an emotional response that most people experience at one time or another. This feeling results in the desire for them to have a romantic relationship with a significant other. 

Sexual And Romantic Attraction

When you are attracted to someone in a romantic way, you may see them in their best light. This might happen despite their flaws. You may see potential in what the two of you could be together, and you might tend to downplay any of their negative traits. When you are interested in someone sexually, you usually become aware of it relatively quickly. You might not become romantically interested in them, though, until you know a little more about them.

This is not to say that romantic and sexual attraction are mutually exclusive. Sexual intimacy may be something that people value highly in a relationship. If you cannot see yourself being with someone sexually, for instance, then you might not want to be romantically involved with them.

Procreation

On a more cynical note, without sexual or romantic attraction, human beings might cease to exist. Like every other life form, our biological imperative is to procreate, and that might only happen if we are attracted to one another.

This may be why specific physical human characteristics are valued. Many women say that they would like to be with a taller man, for instance.  Some men are attracted to curvaceous women with larger breasts or hips. None of this is coincidental. There is a biological urge to seek out mates who might be good providers or who could be better suited to bring the next generation into the world. 

Companionship

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Arguing that the only reason people get together is that they want to procreate would be a vast oversimplification, though. There may be many other reasons, including  desire and the need for companionship. 

The idea of being alone may not be appealing to most people. Romantic attraction may represent the first step to finding companionship and/or starting a family of your own. Before committing yourself to a significant other, though, you may first have to go through the process of dating them. Generally, the process of wooing someone and being wooed is universal. You might say it is a dance that has gone on since the dawn of recorded history.

The Desire To Seek Out A Connection

 Seeking out a connection may tie back to the notion of desiring solidarity and intimacy. You may want someone you can talk to about your dreams for the future, for example. Perhaps you want to see if their goals might be compatible with yours. You may want someone with whom you can form a united front. Ideally, you will make each other better and challenge each other to grow.

The Desire For Excitement

The desire for romantic involvement with someone can rekindle feelings of excitement that might have been missing from your life. You might have been feeling a lack of stimulation or engagement in your day-to-day life, for example.

When you become enamored with someone, the beginning of a new relationship can make every day seem thrilling. If it's your first love, then that's always going to be special, but let's say that it's a situation where you're getting over a divorce or a long-term relationship. Finding someone new with whom you feel a connection can make you feel valued again. Your confidence might have taken a hit in your previous relationship. With this new person, you can feel as though you are desirable again. 

The Possible Dangers Of Romantic Attraction

New romances may form just as quickly as others end. As wonderful as the sensation of romantic attraction can be, there are also a few possible drawbacks that might be worth considering.

The most significant one that can come about is when you begin to assign your value as a person to a potential relationship. This can happen with some individuals who might be uncomfortable with themselves unless they are the object of pursuit or actively trying to woo someone.

At first glance, this may seem harmless enough. However, while being in a romantic relationship can be thrilling, it may also be important to be comfortable alone, at least for a time. Jumping immediately into a new relationship might not be the best thing for you if you're coming away from a long-term partnership or a marriage in which you were emotionally invested.

While romantic attraction is natural, if you immediately seek it out every time you find yourself single, you might have some work to do on yourself. Many people argue that when you are comfortable being alone, you are in a better position to be a good partner for someone. That may be because you are more centered, and you know who you are and what matters to you. 

The Better You Understand Your Romantic Attractions, The Better You Understand Yourself

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When you're younger, some of the romantic attractions that you feel might not work out in the best way. Some of the people you encounter might seem like they would be a suitable fit for you, but you could later find that's not the case. You might be attracted to certain personalities with whom you are incongruous.

As you get to be a little bit older and more experienced in the arenas of both romance specifically and life in general, you may be better equipped to identify a potential mate. Ideally, you will also still be able to experience the excitement that comes with a new romantic conquest.

What If Romantic Attraction Goes Wrong?

Sometimes, romantic attraction can start smoothly and then take a turn for the worse.  If you and your partner  want to save what you have together, you might wish to pursue couples counseling at that time. Remember that not every relationship will take a smooth trajectory, and sometimes talking with a professional about your problems can get the two of you back on track.

Still, it can be difficult to find time for an in-person counseling session if you’re actively pursuing a romantic interest. Dating is time-consuming, so it could be easy to miss appointments when they get in the way of your dating life. Online counseling provides a convenient alternative. With this form of remote therapy, you have access to a licensed counselor from the comfort of your home. You may also find it more comfortable to be vulnerable in an online setting, which may have a positive impact on your sessions. 

Much of the research supporting the use of online counseling has been focused on individual therapy. But a recent study found that counseling delivered via videoconferencing technology is effective for not only individuals, but for couples and families as well. 

Takeaway

Romantic attraction can often be a heady mixture of sexual desire and intrigue about the person you have become involved with. Some people find it to be among the most scintillating experiences that they will ever have. It may be wise, though, to exercise caution even if everything about the new person in your life seems to be ideal. After all, there is no perfect person. The sooner you can see the new individual in your life for who they are, complete with all their flaws as well as assets, the sooner you can tell whether you might be able to have a future with them. If you find yourself in need of relationship advice, support, or guidance along the journey, don’t hesitate to contact Regain

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