NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Relationships: Confusing Sexual Attraction with Love

Confusing Sexual Attraction with Love
During the early stage of a romantic relationship, many people confuse sexual attraction for being in love. Sexual attraction can be so strong during the initial part of a dating relationship that you can get swept away by the power of these feelings and believe yourself to be in love. This is certainly not to say that you can't be both sexually attracted and also genuinely love someone. But the point is that, whereas sexual attraction can occur in a second, mature love develops over time.

Confusing Sexual Attraction With Love

Starting a Relationship Based Only on Sexual Attraction

Often, people start a relationship based on the heady feelings of sexual attraction--believing that they love each other.

This isn't a solid foundation for a relationship. When the sexual passion begins to wear off a little, these people often find they either have little in common or that their feelings aren't strong enough to sustain the inevitable ups and downs of a mature relationship.

Learning to Distinguish Between Love and Lust
It takes time to get to know one another. I often tell individual clients and couples that it can take at least two years of dating to get to know each other well enough to know if you're compatible enough to be in a relationship.

It's right around that time that the initial heady, sexual attraction decreases somewhat (as compared to the initial passion). So, being aware of this, it makes sense to take your time to get to know one another.  Over time, you learn to distinguish what might only be lust from love.

This helps you to avoid making life plans with someone you don't really love and the disappointment you might feel when the sexual attraction begins to wane.

Sexual attractions can be fun. Often, love can develop from these sexual attractions. We can't always know in advance when this will occur.

There are also many couples who develop deep feelings of mature love who also maintain the passion in their relationships. This is a wonderful thing! Many other couples need to make more of an effort to maintain that sexual passion, but that's a subject for another blog post.

Be Aware, Be Patient, Allow Things to Unfold and Develop 
The point is that, early on, we want to be aware that strong feelings for someone at the beginning are not the basis for a committed relationship. Be patient and allow things to develop and unfold before making a commitment. In the long run, you'll be glad that you took your time.

About Me
I'm a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my websiteJosephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.