Fatal Attraction: Relationship Slayed By What Sparked It

When a relationship is killed by whatever had sparked it, that’s a fatal attraction.

Living in a culture that sexualizes male dominance, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a friend of mine was once drawn to the “take charge,” male dominant qualities of one of her lovers. So attracted that she married him. A few years later she left him for the same reason. Many women romanticize male dominance only to find that it’s not so much fun to be bossed around and never get your way in real life.

Or, we might look for someone to balance us out. Another friend was attracted to the free-spirited artistic quality of his ex-wife. She seemed a nice counterweight to his ordered, mathematical mind. But after a few years her carefree ways morphed into chaos. Complimentary souls won’t necessarily complete us.

Some women are attracted to men who show a deep interest in them. A boyfriend’s obsession and jealousy makes her feel really loved. But after he starts beating her because other men looked her way, she eventually sees he has a possessive, abusive personality.

The most common fatal attraction involves friendliness. One 20-year-old found her boyfriend’s humor and sociability appealing when they first met. Now, asked about his least attractive quality, she points to his friendliness, saying “He often flirts with others.”

Physical attractiveness can also become an unexpected turn off. A forty-one year old man had initially been drawn to his girlfriend’s sexy, exotic Asian looks. He had also liked her outgoing, flirty personality. But over time that all became a problem as he came to see her as “disloyal and mercurial.”

The list goes on. A woman is attracted to a man’s sense of humor but later complains that he’s never serious. A man is drawn to his partner’s nurturing nature, but comes to see her as smothering. A woman admires her husband’s ambition, but then sees him as a workaholic.

There is a real tendency to become disillusioned with qualities that initially attract us.

I guess there can be too much of a good thing.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 3, 2012, in gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, women and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. What people need to do is figure themselves out, figure out what they’re weak for, what they are attracted to and why, then pay attention to their choices in a partner. Then, take their time and get to truly know a person before diving in bed with them.

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