Page then leads us to recognize ways we might have entered relationships based on our need to shield and protect our gifts, rather than share them — what he calls attractions of pain versus attractions of love.For example, if we’ve been told we’re too intense, do we choose relationships that force us to stifle our passions so as not to reveal this alleged weakness?These attractions are based upon a (basically) consistent quality of shared kindness, generosity, and emotional availability. We don’t feel consistently bigger or smaller than the object of our affections.In some basic way, we feel what the 12-step programs call “right sized.” But most of us have never been taught that these relationships have a trajectory of their own.We know we don’t want the pain of past relationships, but nothing else seems as exciting. We can measure the very quality of our lives by the relationships of mutual inspiration we've cultivated.
It may seem that they are not as exciting at first, but in fact, they are much more so.Perhaps, thinking back to our childhood, we hear echoes of the same accusations.But that would be utterly against the tone of the book. Best of all, I've found that this approach, which I call “Deeper Dating,” actually favors people in their late 40s, 50s and older because at this stage of life, we are much less willing to waste our time in the pursuit of unhealthy relationships.You’re on the path to a relationship that can sustain a future of love. Yet, as I describe in my book It’s easy to become attracted to people who can almost commit; people who treat us wonderfully and then diminish, demean or ignore us.I've found that four conditions often forecast the advent of real and healthy love. These relationships are usually highly charged and gnawingly addictive. We try to be funnier, more successful or more in shape, so that our desired one will finally want us as much as we want them. At a certain point, (and usually as a result of tremendous pain) we begin to lose our taste for relationships that chip away at our sense of self-worth.