Relationship Attraction

Relationship cannot happen without attraction, right? I can remember studying how this relationship attraction happens, as a young man, and now there is even some research that illustrates the very powerful process of relationship attraction.

(Do you remember all the books about how to read nonverbal communcation from the 1960's)?

So how did you know that relationship attraction was or perhaps is happening?

What is it that would indicate to a young man that he is seen as attractive, or impel a young woman to want to invite a classmate to her house, or to call him.

(I am writing from the perspective of 61 years, and a few relationships, including my marriage, so that is why I speak to youthful attractions).

Describing the signals sent to me about relationship attraction, which can be exceedingly subtle, is not as easy as describing how I felt when I received them.

The feeling I experienced after being seen as attractive, and getting that message, which is most visible to me in the eyes, is a feeling of excitement coupled with pleasure, and the feeling crossed the threshold to consciousness fast.

And it was strong, certainly strong enough to impel an invitation for coffee, or more.

But remember we are still at the first 1/18th second or so of sending and receiving relationship attraction.

The following information is from Psyblogs and speaks to how relationship attraction is negotiated.


Contrary to many previous findings, attraction was predicted by patterns of synchronization and not simple mirroring of body language. What emerged were rhythmic structures of movement synchrony - patterns of bodily movement people adopted. In common with previous research, Grammer et al. (1998) found it was women who tended to start and control these patterns. Indeed, the more interested a woman was in a man, the more complicated these patterns became.

Effectively, then, potential couples test their compatibility nonverbally by constructing symphonies of body language, with women as conductors. Considering the complexity of this description, it's clear why 'movement synchrony' never makes it to the glossies, although it's probably much closer to the truth of how nonverbal attraction is negotiated."

So we may not be clear about what the signals are that humans send to each other that indicate readiness for relationship, but once the tipping point is reached, Helen Fisher,Ph.D. is sure clear about what happens in the brain.

Three powerful parts of the reward system, each with an associated hormone, are activated and lives change fast and forever.

The romantic relationship is said to last for up to three years, so those three reward systems, the lust, love, and trust systems and their associated hormones of andgrogen, oxytocin, and dopamine are going to be going full steam for awhile.

Fisher has looked at fMRI or functional magenetic resonance images of just 'in-love' brains to make her determinations about how romantic love works, and has even determined that successful couples have similar fMRI images to those of just in love couples many years later.

So those glorious days of infatuation do not need to fade away, although the anxiety component is replaced with activation of brain areas associated with calmness in the mature couples.

Fisher's Relationship Attraction Personality Types

Fisher's study of her data has led her to posit that we fall generally into four personality types, and we have the best chance of relationship success with a compatible type.

To find out what Professor Fisher is talking about, please give her personality profiling quiz a spin at

My thought would be not to waste all those subtle relationship attraction signals on someone of a different personality type, although Robert Epstein has written recently about how couples in arranged marriages in India are able to build marriages that are successful about 95% of the time, while our marriages fail 50% of the time even with the intervention of the Fairy Godmother.

So perhaps there is no need to study relationship attraction, just relationship building.

Those couples in India may have met once before they are married, and they are able to build relationship without the Fairy Godmother.

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