Love at first sight is a popular turn of phrase when people are seeking a partner, but is that the best — or only — way to be attracted to someone? In Madison LeCroy’s case on Southern Charm, she was forced to defend her attraction to Austen Kroll (watch for yourself here), because it hadn’t been lust or love at first sight. Could a slow simmer make for a hotter connection versus a sudden bolt of lightning, because the former factors in more considerations than just the physical appearance of a partner?
Personal Space spoke to Steve Ward, CEO of Master Matchmakers, about the different ways attraction can grow and develop into a (sometimes) lasting relationship, despite unfavorable first impressions.
Non-Physical Qualities Can Be Attractive
According to Ward, “It is very common to become physically attracted to someone that you were not initially attracted to.” Those cases “occur when you misjudge someone’s personality, confidence, intelligence, competence, conversation skills, etc.”
Ward added that sometimes following an initial impression, you come to know them better and “realize their more attractive attributes.” Also, basing a connection on physical attractiveness alone can be a disservice to the relationship, because “physical beauty eventually fades, but a romantic connection never grows old.” So, a relationship that blooms into an attraction from other qualities can be even more powerful.
“As long as you maintain that connection, you’ll always be attracted to each other.”
Sapiosexuals & Demisexuals
While delayed attraction can happen to anyone, some people need time to assess their potential partner’s qualities before they become sexually desirous. A sapiosexual is sexually attracted to intelligence and needs to establish how smart their partner is instead of focusing on their physical appearance. A demisexual is someone who needs to form an emotional connection with a person before becoming sexually attracted to them. Therefore, those people would be more likely to have a friendship turn into a relationship, before they experience the chemistry or romantic sparks.
Madison explained on the Southern Charm After Show that she felt like Austen was her best friend. Ward noted that “romantic relationships that develop after a friendship was established" actually have a “greater likelihood of working out because of the known history, candidness, and comfortability both people have with each other.”
In addition to someone’s intelligence or establishing an emotional connection, there are also shared interests that can solidify into a romantic connection. Meeting a person who shares the same values, religious or political beliefs, interests, or hobbies can all be turn-ons. Ward explained, “Attraction can certainly grow over time when the person reveals characteristics or attributes that you never noticed before,” especially because “virtue and character are very attractive qualities that you won’t notice at first sight.”
Even if you are not the type of person to go out of your way to connect with new people, “do not be surprised by discovering you are attracted to a person you unintentionally connected with.” Ward explained that “quite often you only come to realize your attraction to another individual after you’ve reflected on your behavior, choices, and feelings concerning this other person.”
That could have been the case with Madison, because as she shared, once she got to know Austen, she became aware of his endearing qualities and even noticed his dimples. The verdict? Even though Madison and Austen are no longer together, that doesn't mean their attraction to each other wasn't genuine based on her negative first impression.
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