If we were raised in a healthy relationship culture – one that held what Jungian analyst Robert Johnson calls “oatmeal love” as the ideal for romantic relationships – if we had grown up ingesting healthy models of romance that held friendship and safety at the core, we might associate attachment with sexiness.
Instead, we grew up with these equations:
Love = Longing
We Long for the Unavailable.
Therefore Unavailable and Dangerous = Sexy.
Let’s flesh this out (no pun intended ;));
Largely because of mainstream media, we grow up watching a depiction of romance that includes longing at its core. It’s not unusual to spend ninety minutes or longer watching a star-crossed couple “falling in love” then missing each other for the duration of a film, only to have sex in the final scene where we’re to assume they live forever after in heavenly bliss. We read romance novels with the same theme where there is a pursuer and a distancer, and if only, oh dear god, if only the distancer would ask me out, thinks the pursuer, my life would be perfect.
As a result of these messages, we teach young people that this is what romance and “chemistry” and real love are supposed to look and feel like. We teach them to chase after the high of infatuation and be turned on by longing. It’s certainly what I was taught.
I’ve shared before the story about my crush in high school, how I was obsessed with this boy for two solid years. I filled entire journals with my longing for him, how I was convinced that if were together, I would glide off into the proverbial sunset and all of my teenage angst – my confusion, my loneliness, my insecurity, and probably most of all my grief about the splintering of my family – would float away.
Then he asked me out. And he kissed me. And literally, in the blink of an eye, with that one too-wet, too-fast kiss, everything inside of me recoiled and the crush fell flat on the floor and slithered away.
The truth is that the kiss probably wasn’t “too wet or too fast”. More likely, that was how my fearful heart interpreted the kiss of someone who I was no longer chasing. I had no idea what to do when someone turned to face me. I had no idea what healthy love looked like or felt like. I had been conditioned to equate love with longing, so when my source of longing turned around and I was no longer in the position of pursuer, the feelings of infatuation died instantly.
But now I do know. For what has been mis-wired can be rewired. I learned, through the safe attachment with my husband and by practicing the Love Laws and Loving Actions that I teach in Open Your Heart, to open in the presence of presence. My heart, body, and desire have rewired in healthy ways so that I now move toward real love instead of toward dysfunction or unavailability. For it’s when we turn toward healthy and available love instead of reinforcing the habits and beliefs that cause us to turn away from it that we send ourselves the message, over time, that healthy love with an emotionally available partner is sexy.
How? You might be asking. How do we rewire? How do we learn to find real love attraction and secure attachment sexy?
Through following Love Laws and Loving Actions, like allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, naming our fear walls but not acting on them, and writing and documenting our true love story (not the one that we write when anxiety is in the driver’s seat), to name a few. Love is a feeling, but it’s mostly an action and an intention, which means that when we act in service of love, love grows.
None of this is easy, and it certainly won’t be rewired at the end of a 30-day course, but when you receive a roadmap you can plant the seeds that, when watered and tended over time, grow into the true fairytale romance, one rooted in friendship, lit by shared vision, and grown through daily attention. It’s then that we learn the subtle yet powerful art of softening and surrendering to our safest person in the world, and I’m here to tell you, there’s no greater gift. I’m also here to tell you that if I can rewire; if I can work through the fear-eyes that told me my husband wasn’t this-or-that-enough and now regard him as the sexiest man alive, anyone can.
If you would like to receive this roadmap, I invite you to join a group of like-minded learners for my 18th round of Open Your Heart: A 30-day course to feel more love and attraction for your partner. The next live round will start on April 10th, 2021, and I look forward to meeting you there.