Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Four Motivating Factors Behind Romantic Attraction

By Te-Erika Patterson
Empress Magazine

If you ask anyone you know how they ended up in a relationship chances are they’ll shrug and say, “It just happened” or “I fell in love”.

But, according to recent research published in the Social Behavior and Personality Journal, there are four distinct motivating factors that influence your desire to become romantically involved with someone. It’s as though you have a need that you want someone else to fill. When you find someone who fills that need, then love can bloom. However, when the need is unhealthy, it can be detrimental to the relationship.

Take a look at these 4 motivating factors and their effect on the relationship.

One of the most important motivating factors for women who fall in love is the desire to escape from loneliness, anxiety and helplessness. Someone in a distressing situation like single parenthood, may be more likely to have a strong desire for a relationship to escape the pressures of making decisions and taking care of a family alone.

The woman who seeks a romantic relationship for this reason may become dependent on the relationship because their mate is seen as a solution to their problem. If the relationship doesn’t last, the person may seek out another relationship to fill the void creating an endless cycle of attachment, not to the person but to the idea of not being alone when faced with a problem.

Identity Enhancement
Take a minute and list a few of the qualities that you would want in your partner. He could be wealthy, creative, and ambitious or even an entrepreneur. Then use that same list and check off how many of those same traits that you have. Chances are, you fall short of having all of the qualities on the list and there’s a reason for that.

While these women believe that these traits are generally desirable, the desire for a mate who has traits that you don’t possess may be an indication that your motivating factor for romance is to enhance your identity. Being with someone who is smarter than you are or more successful than you are in any area will surely boost your knowledge because by being around them their good habits and traits will rub off on you.

The downside to pursuing a relationship to enhance your identity is the inclination to develop a more manic attraction to your lover, often losing your sense of self in order to become more like the person you admire.

Aging and Social Pressures
You don’t feel old, but your parents and friends may tell you that you are. You look around and notice that everyone is coupled up but you and you convince yourself that you have to find someone to be in a relationship with. Aging and social pressure is another motivating factor that influences romantic attraction.Women who initiate relationships for this reason often overlook the passion and physical attractiveness factors that many other women think are important. Instead, these women seek qualities like financial stability and good health to ensure security.

Sexual Desire
Many women satisfy their sexual desires by pursuing a romantic relationship. Having a consistent sex partner satisfies these women although if this is the motivating factor, they are less likely to engage in companion related activities that are not erotic such as going out to a movie or doing group activities with friends.Although men are generally stereotyped to be unattached emotionally to sexual experiences, there are men who would find this type of relationship to be unfulfilling.

Reference: Jacobs, John R. (1992). Facilitators of romantic attraction and their relation to lovestyle. Social Behavior and personality. 227-234.

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