This comment on one of my recent blog posts speaks to the very heart of my work on love and attraction:

Sheryl’s right – attraction CAN be grown! My husband has the qualities mentioned in today’s post in spades(!) + more… and that’s what kept me walking the relationship out, even though I didn’t (not even at the beginning and for 3 years after) feel the “spark” or that sense of “desire”. But something deep down knew that he was an oatmeal kind of love. The lack of excitement and repulsion is very possibly a defense mechanism. As I did the work and slowly unbricked my walls, surprise surprise… the spark showed up 😉  My husband has become THE MOST handsome man to me, in all his middle-aged, dad-bod glory 🙂 Nobody else is doing a double take, but man, his smile melts me faster than an ice cube in hell! All to say, attraction is a natural outflow of love finding a home.  

Let’s unpack these words of gold.

Repulsion is a defense mechanism.

If it’s taboo to admit that you don’t find your partner attractive sometimes (or a lot of the time), how much more taboo is it to admit that you find him or her repulsive at times? And who in their right mind would encourage you to stay with someone who repulses you?

I would.

And so would thousands of my readers and course members, like the one above, who have stayed on the path despite everything in the culture and every fear inside their head telling them to run. Like so many aspects of love and attraction, our culture operates on the first surface level, which means it takes every thought and feeling at face value. Feeling repulsed by your partner? Time to run. But when we pause and understand that repulsion is an outgrowth of our own fear of love and a defense against the risk of loss that real love poses, we can approach the unbearable feeling of repulsion with less reactivity. This baseline shift in mindset is the precursor for the Love Laws and Loving Actions that can “unbrick the walls” of fear and soften them to reveal the love and attraction that live underneath.

Attraction is a natural outflow of love finding a home.

Please read that statement again because it’s nothing short of brilliant. Attraction is a natural outflow of love finding a home. And here’s the thing: it can take a while for love to find a home. You’ve found a loving partner. You’ve found someone who you basically trust. But the feelings aren’t there. You don’t find her to be the hottest woman on the planet. You question his lack of ambition or education. You wonder if you’re just too different. You know he or she would be a great partner for someone else, and truthfully on paper everything looks great, but something is missing. And everyone knows that these magic secret ingredients – that sense of undeniable certainty and lustful attraction – are essential to long-term happiness.

Again, I hold a different view.

The first layer of love finding a home means you’ve found someone with whom you feel safe and with whom, underneath the fear and projections and doubts, you have a sense of home. But it’s the second layer that is more subtle and takes longer to cultivate: when fear softens and quiets enough, when you identify the roots of your projections and are able to name how powerfully the fear of loss of self and other lives inside the projections of “not enough”, then fear steps aside and love finds a home. Love finding a home means you’re able to love through action the one you’re with. And as the reader commented above, through this clear-eyed seeing, you fall in love and feel deeply attracted to your partner. Not every day and not all the time. But more days than not true attraction and sweet feelings of love hum through your days and nights.

Mark Nepo says it poetically, as always:

“In truth, it has never been about first meeting, though this can happen, but more about first coming into view. As a breeze spun out lets the water go clear, we finally stop talking, stop performing, stop pretending, and all tired out, we go clear, and the heart that rests in everything beats before us.”

All this to say that attraction can be grown.

Yes, attraction can be grown.

And it’s not so much growing attraction as it is shrinking fear and growing love. But how? This is what I teach in Open Your Heart: A 30-day course to feel more love and attraction for your partner. Miracles don’t happen in thirty days, but seeds can be planted, new habits can begin to take root, and when you water those baby seeds they grow into the garden of love that we all seek.

All of this takes time, but it can happen more quickly and less painfully – meaning with more patience and less anxiety – when you have the roadmap that guides you through the Love Laws and Loving Actions that shrink fear and grow love. My 14th round of Open Your Heart is now open for registration and it will begin on March 2, 2019. I look forward to guiding you and meeting you there.

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