Table of Contents:
How To Rewire Your Attractions To Find Real And Healthy Love
The 3 Keys To Transforming Your Dating Life – And Your Future
There are three skills that you can use to rewire your romantic and sexual attractions to be able to find and keep healthy love. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast as I teach you each one of these research-backed skills.
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating® and the Cofounder of DeeperDating®.com, a site where single people can meet in an online environment that’s kind, respectful, fun and inspiring. Every episode, I’m going to teach you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the real skills of dating are nothing more than the real skills of love. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts, a free eBook, and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and you’ll find a complete transcript of every episode.
I also want to say that you can find me on Instagram @Deeper.Dating, and I’ve been offering a lot of very short videos there that I hope are helpful as well. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature, and it’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you like what you’re learning here, I’d love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review, so thank you so much for that.
I’m really excited to jump into this now. I’ve been thinking so much about this issue of kind of rewiring our attractions. It’s an exquisitely intense, difficult, important process, and we are not given the tools to do that deep rewiring, but it makes all the difference in the world for those of us like me, and like many people I work with, whose wiring was not kind of set up to quickly and easily lead us to healthy love. I’m going to talk about three things that not only help you rewire in powerful ways and change your future, but heal your life in the process. I think it’s an amazingly positive thing, but it’s what they call a hard work miracle.
Develop a new taste for a loving relationship that’s good and healthy for you.CLICK TO TWEETI think Thomas Edison said that most of us don’t realize the key to success because it’s dressed in overalls and it looks like work. I love that quote, and this is work, but it’s nice work. It’s good work if you can get it. It’s the most beautiful work that there is, I think, for all of us who are really trying to bring evolution and mindfulness into our search for love, and are building a family in the world. I want to talk about these three steps that make such a powerful difference, that in my very long time as a therapist and a coach, and as a seeker and a student of intimacy, I’ve seen again and again are a very simple and direct and powerful path to what we’re looking for.
Let me start upfront by saying what these three steps are. The first one is this question that could, and should, shape your entire search for love from now on, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” Yes, there are a lot of other questions that need to be answered too, but this is the number one question. The second is to look for your attractions of inspiration and avoid your attractions of deprivation, and even make a pledge to do that. We’re going to do that in this episode. Each of you is going to have an opportunity to kind of make a personal pledge inside about this, which I have found is remarkably powerful.
The third one is a kind of complex one, and it’s about taking the time to build healthy, sexy, deep, authentic connection, to create that kind of circuitry, not to flee, and to build the tools to allow that rewiring to happen. I’m going to be talking about each one of these. Let me go back to each of these now. The first one, this question, this defining, organizing principle, this question number one, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” I think maybe the most misguided aspect of all dating advice is all the things we put before that question. Sexual attraction takes care of itself. It’s either there, it’s not there or it grows. All of those things are possible.
Look For Your Attractions
Other kinds of attraction as well are really rich and important, and they’re all essential, but the first question is, “Am I inspired by who this human being is? Do I feel safe with who they are as a being, and with who they are in the world, and with who they are with me?” Because that is the number one definer of how happy your future is going to be with this person. I truly believe that. We get taught that the first question is, “Am I attractive enough?” Maybe the second question or for some people, the first question is, “Am I attracted enough? Is the potential for lust there?” It’s a great and fabulous question, but the first question needs to be this, because it routes you in a different direction. There’s a subtle realignment. It gives you dignity. It shifts your field. It conveys a message of self-dignifying. That shows, people feel that, and also, it’s just a different way to orient.
I’m just so excited about people making that shift and having that become their primary question, and writing back to me or going to my website, DeeperDatingPodcast.com, and letting me know, and letting everyone know what shifts you see, because you will see shifts. It’s something we’re not taught. The people who find healthy love the most easily are the people who know this. It just really comes down to that, so play with this. Play with this tool and watch how it shifts you. Also, I’ll say another thing about that. When you make that your central question, you actually heal your own attachment wounds and evolve your attachment style to a healthier kind of version of itself. That’s number one, is to let that be your first question, and thinking about how that is going to shift your landscape gives me great joy just to think about.
Be with someone whom your soul feels essentially safe, loved for the future.CLICK TO TWEETOkay, the second one is, and it comes from the first one, and it is recognizing your attractions of deprivation and your attractions of inspiration, and making a choice to only pursue your attractions of inspiration. I think that one of the places that people who are pursuing this path of mindful dating is getting stuck in a relationship with someone who, again and again, you see is not able to meet your needs for integrity or essential availability or mental health or presence. You try again and again and again and again, and maybe you know consciously this person is not going to ever be the one for me, or they are certainly not now, but it’s just too hard to stop. I can’t tell you how much this is an issue for so many conscious wonderful people who are just sticky, sticky, sticky in a relationship like that, and this does involve a degree of withdrawal.
In twelve-step programs, they have a beautiful concept whether you kind of believe in God or not. They say, “Withdrawal is emptying the cup of your own self-will so that God can fill it with their will.” What does that mean for people who don’t particularly follow that kind of, you know, way of thinking is that we have these hardened patterns of clutching for love in places we’re not going to find it. I think of it like a little kid who’s got a piece of colored sharp glass in their hand, and they’re squeezing onto it so tight and their hand is bleeding, but they won’t let go because it’s pretty and precious, and people who have done so much work on themselves still struggle with letting go of relationships like this.
Here’s what I want to say. Do not assume that you can do this without help; a therapist, a friend, a circle of friends. It’s painful. I remember a time that I had to do that, and someone very wise looked at me and said, “Ken, it’s going to feel like amputating your arm, but you have to do it.” It was so helpful to hear that acknowledgement of how much it hurts, and the reality that I had to do it, and I did do it. I did end that relationship, so it’s not easy to let go of our attractions of deprivation. It’s beyond not easy.
Here’s another thing that fits with this. If you’re having a non-sexual relationship with someone that deep down you think you’re kind of still in love with them, even though you’re dating, even though you’re still finding people hot and attractive, a significant portion of your libido is still focused on them. It’s like trying to get out of gravity zone without enough rocket fuel, because we need all the rocket fuel we can get to do this incredibly complex metamorphosis of making a stranger into home.
We fool ourselves thinking that we could often stay in touch with someone, even like have a friends with benefits kind of relationship with them, but if deep down, you’re still kind of in love with them or hoping they’ll fall in love with you, you are dramatically decreasing your chances of ever being able to really find healthy love and go with it, because you won’t have enough energy to do the hard work of rewiring that’s required for finding and nourishing new healthy love in almost all cases.
I encourage all of you, at this point, even right now, you might even take a moment and really actually do this as a ritual, or just think it in your mind, that you’re going to make a conscious choice to say no to your attractions of deprivation and yes only to your attractions of inspiration. I’m going to read to you the contract that I have in my online course that I have people sign, and you can kind of just listen to this and see if you can give yourself a yes. It’s called My Commitment to My Future Happiness and Love. Here’s what it is and you can kind of just listen and say yes as you do, as you listen.
“I commit out of my own self-love and my desire for a beautiful, loving relationship to develop my awareness of my circuitries of attraction to deprivation, and to protect myself from the damage and harm that those circuitries cause. Wonderfully, I also have the circuitries to be attracted to inspiration. Now, I’m making the commitment that those are the only attractions I will follow. From now on, I will only pursue my attractions of inspiration, and I will say no again and again to attractions of deprivation. I will only be with someone with whom my soul feels essentially safe, loved and supported. No one else. For my future and my dream of a love-filled life, I now make this commitment in love and respect for my vision.” See if you can kind of commit to that.
If it’s ringing true, whether you made the commitment or not, if it’s ringing true, hold that close because this is really like maybe the single central greatest piece of dating wisdom that I know. This is the choice. This is the pivotal choice. I really do believe that. Let’s go on to number three, the third step. That is this incredible process of rewiring. Let’s say that you, and I’m going to share a story about that for me, so let’s say you are someone who, again and again, has been attracted to relationships that weren’t that healthy and weren’t that good. There is a new kind of way that you’re going to develop a new taste. The groundwork for that is the two steps we just talked about, but then there’s still more work, because what you’re going to find, and this is an amazing thing, is that when you do steps one and step two of what I described, your field will shift.
Respect your vision, allow love to come to you, and then make the commitment.CLICK TO TWEETYou will start to lose your taste for unhealthy relationships even though, trust me, that taste won’t go away, but it will diminish. You will increase your desire and awareness of attractions of inspiration, and you’re more likely finally to find mutuality with people like that. I swear it’s true. It’s an amazing and beautiful thing that gives me great hope. I think it’s the most hopeful thing that I know and see, and it’s big. It’s why this is such a journey of self-healing, as I say all the time.
When that happens, you’re going to meet somebody, you’ll meet people, you’ll find these things happening, and you’ll find they may be less spicy because, let me tell you, unavailability is a really filled, delicious, spice-filled, umami-filled flavor. It really is, and that spice is going to be missing. Now, that does not mean there aren’t glorious spices of a person who’s sexy and attractive and accomplished and amazing and a turn-on and caring, and all of these glorious, glorious things.
I promise you, you will ultimately not miss the spice of unavailability. You will ultimately not miss the spice of arrogance, but in that first phase, if you’re not used to these kind of healthier relationships, they might seem boring in a way, or the thing that is so amazing is that available people are much more dangerous and frightening than unavailable assholes, no matter how sexy the unavailable assholes are, no matter how much you feel in love or obsessed with those unavailable assholes, because someone who’s really wonderful and really sees you, having them not work out hurts in a much more profound and existentially dangerous way.
It’s why we protect ourselves against available people, and we do that so often by telling ourselves they’re boring, or that maybe they live 50 miles outside of the range that we think that they should live at, or they’re 2 inches too tall or 2 inches too short. You know, whatever those things are. We use all sorts of things. I speak about the wave a lot which is, you know, that kind of like spasm of fear that makes us become disinterested in someone.
Also, with an available person, with an attraction of inspiration, there are tools that you can use to deepen magic attraction in intimacy. Those tools revolve around getting kind of naked in deeper ways; sharing more of your needs, asking for your needs to be met, giving more, nurturing more, touching the deeper places of sexuality, the deeper places of tenderness, the deeper places of passion, sharing scary things, sharing deep vulnerability and authenticity. Those things are rings of fire. They’re terrifying but that terror, and research backs this up, increases Eros, and increases aliveness, and increases connection and desire. If the person, when you share that vulnerability or you stretch or reach out like that, catches you, holds you, sees you, that increases joy, sexiness, warmth, intimacy, and this deep sense of goodness-based happiness that is just so kind of explosive and quiet and beautiful all at once. That’s where you want to build your home.
I just want to share a story about a kind of, so there’s lots to this rewiring piece. We’ll talk about it in other episodes, but I just wanted to share just some points about that. I want to share a story. It’s about someone I dated who I had to do rewiring with. This is someone who we had been speaking on the phone for quite a long time but not meeting in person, and then we finally met in person, and I’ve told this part of the story before. I saw him and he was wearing like a thick gold chain and Elizabeth Taylor cologne for men that really smelled strong. His face was not what I pictured nor quite, you know, what he had described or showed me.
I was kind of horrified and I was like, “Oh no, this is so not going to work,” but I did kind of some of the Deeper Dating® techniques that I teach in the book. I checked in with my inner self and I felt not disinterested, but in fact like warm and connected. I thought, “How am I going to negotiate this one?” I wasn’t attracted, but I was falling in love with him. I did continue to fall in love with him, but I was not attracted. There were parts of him that I was attracted to, but not enough, and I knew that I wasn’t going to fake this or do that to myself. I had spent too many years like telling myself I couldn’t be gay and be attracted to who I’m attracted. I knew I was not going to go down that route, but I knew that I was falling in love, and I knew this was an amazing man.
I remember being with my friends, I was out at the beach, and I just kind of began to cry because I felt like I had found potential love, and I wasn’t big enough or able enough or deep enough to be able to do that because he wasn’t my type enough. There was such a deep grief in me and actually, I went out to the beach, and I kind of made a pledge. I said to myself, “I’m not leaving this beach until I get an answer.” I prayed and I asked and I prayed again and again and again, and I cried and I really had this commitment, and I don’t know when it was. I think it might have been hours later. All of a sudden, I felt this peace inside, and the message was, “This is going to be taken care of.”
It was really an amazing experience. It was a mystical experience. Literally, it felt like the weather changed, and definitely the weather changed inside of me, so I went home and went to sleep, and in my dreams I had the first sexual dreams about this person. I actually felt the tendrils of turn-on begin to happen. The message that I got was, “Don’t worry about the physical attraction, it’s coming and it’s going to come. Worry about the fact that this is not someone who is right for you for some other reasons that I won’t get into, but they were really clear reasons that this was not a safe relationship to get into,” but the sex came, the turn-on came, and this kind of very amazing experience. I learned that this sex stuff is more malleable than I thought. That attraction grows differently than I was taught, and differently than we’re taught which is like, “You’re not attracted right away? Swipe left. You’re attracted? Swipe right,” but there’s such deeper stuff going on that we don’t touch.
I just wanted to share that story because it was an example of rewiring that I had to do there with this person and many times after that, which I can talk about in the future episodes. What I want to say is, do any of these hit your heart? Does this person make me feel safe in my soul? Making a commitment to only choose attractions of inspiration and say no to attractions of deprivation, and to be able to do this deep and rich work of rewiring in the presence of a healthy relationship. If you get big yeses inside, I celebrate that. Ride those yeses. Feel those kinds of quiet explosions of, “Yes, this is what I want. This is what I believe,” and let it begin to download in you because it changes your field when you do that work. Thank you so much for listening. Blessings on your journey, and I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode.
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