Time for Talk Tuesday. M3 has featured some of the original reasons we are attracted to Mate and how that attraction begins. How is it we move from those things we initially find attractive to the qualities which keep us in a relationship for a lifetime? This is your chance to talk back!
If you took the survey, you were introduced to some of the initial attractants which get Mates together. If you did not, weigh in with your choice now.
As you can see from the results here (or in the comprehensive results from the poll and the offsite survey), intelligence tops the list of initial attractants. Does that mean no-so-smart people never find Mates or they are doomed to marriage with someone else who is equally not-so-smart?
First Things First
You would be hard pressed to find someone who was not physically attracted to Mate in the beginning stage of the relationship. They may not admit it, but the chemical attraction was there. That overwhelming feeling of a warm heart is the intense in love feeling. Most couples report it lasts about seven to eight months. Is that when they fall out of love?
Ironically, no. They do not fall out of love, provided they actually fell in love…are not just bound by the chemical attraction. During the initial attraction, attachment occurs. The couple get close to one another, and each Mate invests emotional capital in the other. As the chemicals recede, the brain reengages the critical assessment mechanism (social judgment). You begin to see Mate for all of the other qualities, not just the initial ones.
First impressions are revealed as merely perceptions. You discover the aptitude Mate has in quantum theory does not extend to replacing the toilet roll on the empty spindle. You become more critical of the original things which attracted you to Mate, but you are also weighing other qualities.
You were not originally attracted to Mate’s parenting skills. As you contemplate the longevity of your relationship, you realize the way Mate treats children is endearing. You find this is not only an asset for the time when you have your own children, but also represents the way Mate will likely treat you in periods of need (when you will appear more childlike).
This quality moves to replace some of the irritation created by being perched on the bowl without loo paper. (Do note the use of the word some.)
When you first began dating, Mate’s ability to be practical went against the chemically-induced spontaneity of a budding relationship. If you managed to get past the initial irritation of a Mate who wanted to plan a spontaneous trip to a neighboring town for the weekend, you may well now appreciate that level of practicality.
While every relationship needs some spontaneity to create whimsy and fun, it still has the need for some business decisions…like budgeting and scheduling. When you are saving money for your first house, you find Mate’s practical ability to spend schedule vacations which do not break the bank amazingly attractive.
Pragmatism, Wisdom & Problem Solving
When the only thing you were having was a conniption because you could not get a co-worker to take your shift so you and Mate could go to the amazing concert 150 miles away this weekend, you could not appreciate Mate’s ability to say, “There will be other concerts.”
This lack of emotional investment made you angry because you saw Mate’s tranquil attitude as demeaning the value you placed on sharing the event. In a few more years, when Mate effectively argues against the adoption of an alpaca as a suburban backyard pet, you may well appreciate Mate’s ability to separate the emotion from the impractical reaction to seeing the poor thing in need of someone like you to care for it.
One thing which never seems to emerge in the beginnings of relationships is epic battle situations which surface with regularity over the course of marriage. In your haze, you abandon negative emotions and withstand trial much better. Once it wears away, you see the long-reaching implications of some things you accepted during courtship, like toxic relationships with Quaint or siblings.
Having Mate be able to identify problematic people in your lives and devise an exit strategy is a quality which should never be undervalued.
Wisdom is associated with experience. While you may have frowned on any mention of Mate’s past, especially that of Mate’s past relationships, you come to value the wisdom of failed ventures, near misses and past successes. You learn the benefit of Mate having learned what not to do in your relationship.
Wisdom can also include common sense. It has been a long standing debate that common sense is innate, instinctual. Because wisdom leads to better reactionary choices, one can argue common sense is a combination of instinct and the practice of making wise choices. Do you want a Mate who can come in out of the rain?
If you were not initially attracted to Mate’s bank balance, you will certainly be quickly acquainted with Mate’s ability to handle money responsibly. Whether Mate is the one making (or having inherited) the money or the one charged with handling the assets (home, car, children), money will affect your relationship.
The ability to handle money responsibly is a necessity to a successful relationship. Most couples complain of fighting about finances. Money is cited in many cases for divorce, although, in reality, money was not the issue. Ironically, lack of money was also not the issue. Irresponsible handling of money was the issue.
Mates do not want to financially struggle for the longevity of marriage. The stability created by steady employment and money flow alleviates worries for the future and helps soften the blow of unexpected expenses, like accidents.
Think back to the initial qualities which caused the initial attraction to Mate (or the qualities you are seeking in a Mate):
- How much different are those qualities to the ones you want Mate to have in the long run?
- What other qualities does Mate need to have to last a lifetime?
- If you had one quality you wish your Mate had, what would it be?
- How do the differences in the qualities you and Mate possess make your relationship work?
- Why is it necessary for our attractants to evolve?
Here is your chance to Talk Back. Let’s get Talk Tuesday underway. The floor is yours.
As is our custom, tonight’s post went live at 1900 EDT (GMT-5), so it can be read in advance of our discussion. If you cannot stay until 2000, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. We will be discussing this in real time from 2000 until we are finished! If you would like to cover a specific topic with the M3 Readers, feel free to use the inbox.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer