Long term relationships are hard, particularly long distance relationships. There will always be temptations to cheat, because there will always be attraction.
Why do men cheat? Why do women cheat? How to stay loyal in a relationship? Answering these questions all comes down to understanding what is happening in your brain and body when you’re attracted to someone else.
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Dan has 3 bestselling non-fiction books available in both written and audio form:
- The Naked Truth, his latest release, shows you how radical honesty builds self-confidence and relationships
- Nothing to Lose explores how to build confidence from the inside by correcting the programming in your brain
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- Overcoming Your Fear of Rejection… Permanently!: covers the psychology of “rejection” and what actions to take to make yourself immune to the fear of it
Full transcript (unedited)
Welcome back to Ask Dan anything. And today we have another question from my man Yuan. It’s a hypothetical question. Usually I don’t answer hypotheticals because I prefer people to talk about their real life. But this question actually comes up quite a lot, particularly for people in relationships. So I thought I’d give it a crack. So here it goes, says, if you’re in an exclusive relationship with someone, then you meet someone else that you’re very attracted to. And the feeling may be mutual, what do you do? Would you let go of a potentially great connection? Because you’re already committed to someone else? Or vice versa? Yeah. So I wanted to use this question as an opportunity to talk about the definition of three important words, when it comes to socializing. The first word is attraction. The second word is connection. And the third word is relationships. I think people blur the lines between these words and lose track of what they mean, and a deeper psychological sense. And because of that, they’ve become very confused socially. That’s what I want to talk about today. So let’s start with attraction. Attraction is a feeling of interest, sometimes sexual in another person, that’s all it is a feeling. And the other person does not have to have any particular qualities for this feeling to occur. And evolutionary psychology terms, attraction is not a choice, you have no choice about who you’re attracted to. All these triggers go off in your mind, it’s deeply subconscious. And you’ll know this from your own experience. I’m nobody likes me, you just don’t know why you tell yourself a story about why you’re attracted to them. But that story is often contradicted by the next person you’re attracted to, there’s really no sense to attraction, it’s just a feeling. Now that’s different from connection. Okay. And this is where a lot of people get confused. They think because they’re attracted to someone that they also have a connection with them. And the reason they believe this is because they attach a fantasy to their feeling of attraction. So they look at someone they feel attracted to them. And then they observe that person’s behavior and think, oh, we have a real connection. When you don’t, the person is not being real with you does not have an authentic, deep, vulnerable connection with you. You don’t know fuck all about them, really, you’ve just made up a bunch of shit and attach that to your feeling of connection attraction. So a connection is that click a connection is when you both authentically express yourselves to each other, and create a feeling of safety to increase that expression of honesty. And then you find that it’s so easy to do that the two of you just get onto those wavelength, where you’re like, Fuck, yeah, fuck, you know, you really feel that connection with each other, and it’s not faked. When you feel attraction towards sometimes towards somebody, you’re going to feel a lot more compelled to like them as a person as well, which can be confused with a connection. You know, there’s a lot of research to show that we treat attractive people with more likeableness, even though they haven’t earned it. For example, there’s plenty of research to show that the more attractive a person is the more lenient of a sentence they’ll get when they go to court. So we need to know that when the difference between attraction and connection is the authenticity of the expression with each other, you can be really attracted to someone who’s totally fake with you. But you can’t connect with someone who’s totally fake with you. If you feel connected to someone who’s being fake with you, then you’ve been deceived by your attraction, your attraction is trying to make you believe that this person is worth mating with. That’s essentially what’s happening. So attraction is not connection. And connection is not a relationship, or relationship is an agreed partnership. Okay? A relationship is a set of boundaries for the longer term, about your connection, about the exclusivity of it about the amount of time that all the logistics that you’ll spend with each other about the rules and regulations of respect. Its boundaries being applied to the way you connect with each other. It is not the connection itself. I can have a deep and meaningful connection with somebody I’m never going to see again, I do not need a relationship to have a connection. But if I want their connection to go long term without a causing major problems, we need to know what the boundaries are between us. Essentially a relationship is about assertiveness. It’s about setting the rules as to how you want to interact long term. A friend of mine talked about a long term relationship and he I think he put it best he said, you know me and my wife they had had two kids together three kids movie. He said me and my wife have been together 20 years we did not love each other for the entire amount of time. And then some weeks where we don’t want to be together, where the connection is broken, where we’ve just lost that click, the relationship keeps us going through that because the relationship isn’t a partnership agreement, we’re there for each other, and for the kids will take care of each other, even if we don’t feel connected. Even if the love dips out every now and then. Now, for a lot of people might pull back at them and think, wow, if you don’t feel love for each other, you should end it. But love comes and goes, connection comes and goes. Some days, you’re connected. Some days, you’re not some days you really love them. Other days, you’re like, why am I with this person? And that comes and goes, the relationship will keep you going through those dips. When you come back to loving each other again, you’ll be I hear what will we worried about. But when somebody thinks that connection is a relationship and the relationship, they have an argument, things just the person’s having an off week, someone’s on their period, or somebody’s stressing out about work. That thing oh, there’s relationships over. So know that connection is having a little break. That’s all. So coming back to the original question, if I’m attracted to another person, or if I have a good connection with another person, that doesn’t mean, I need to consider sacrificing my relationship with my partner. Okay, because if you’re deeply connecting with someone you haven’t confused attraction for connection, you’re working on real connection with someone, other your attraction other people won’t compete with, there will just be a brief fleeting thing. And then you’ll come back to your partner and go, Wow, look at this connection that we’ve built together and look at this relationship that we’re forming. I mean, my brief attraction for someone else just cannot compete with it. Now all that being said, if the connection is broken for a long time, if the relationship is all you’ve got, and the connection sucks, and the attraction is gone, then rather than trying to decide, should I be with them or be with someone else, just don’t be with them into that relationship. In the relationship completely to see if there is a connection and attraction still happening. And if not, then it’s good that you in the relationship, then you’re free to connect with other people and form relationships with other people in any way you see fit. But if you find it hard to resist the attraction of people while you’re in a relationship, then maybe the relationship isn’t the one for you. Or maybe you’re getting these three different things confused, and you need to get some journaling and some discussion going to figure out what’s really going on. So you aren’t I hope that answers your question. No, I would not sacrifice a great relationship to connect with someone else. No. Being in a relationship does not stop me from connecting with other people. And know being attracted to someone doesn’t mean I’m necessarily connected with them. If you guys have questions about this kind of stuff, and you want to hear me rant about your lives, send them through to firstname.lastname@example.org and subscribe to the YouTube channel. And I’ll see you guys next time.