The chances of a budding intrigue flowering into full bloom are slim. The odds of romantic love lasting are rare. Simply put, not every romance endures. Nor would you want it to!

Before you catch that other person’s eye, be aware that forces beyond your control take hold. The journey to a mature, reciprocal love relationship is complicated and mysterious. Nature’s tricks confuse and confound us along the way. Without taking time to explore the intrigues of attraction, you may stumble along love’s pathway and not know why. Once you accept that relationships from dating through marriage are risky business, you will be better prepared to ward off or face the demise of love.

In order to emerge unscathed from the flighty passions of infatuation, approach each new love interest with cautious optimism. Finding love is a process of natural selection. Enjoy it. Breakups are an inevitable part of it. Don’t fight them. The need to couple will ultimately help you find your own true love.

The Instant Attraction

That’s exactly what you have the flash of a second to catch someone’s eye. Fortunately, other well-documented stages that move an attraction forward involve a slightly larger window of opportunity. Nonetheless, attraction is fleeting and tenuous at best. Here’s how it works.

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At First Glance: What Gets Her Noticed

Don’t moan and groan. Facts are facts. This is what catches his eye at first glance and arouses interest.

A youthful, rounded, curvaceous female body

Blue eyes and blonde hair

Figures that emphasize buttocks and breasts (not too large)

A woman self-confident in her appearance who looks like she is enjoying herself

You can’t fight it. But you can understand it. And if you wishget what it takes to catch his eye.

At First Glance: What Gets Him Noticed

Women are equally superficial at the outset. Here’s what she picks up on:

A tall, dark man whose height makes him look powerful

Symmetrical facial features

Strong jaw and cheekbones

A muscular frame without extreme bulk

This is just the beginning. Don’t fret if your physique doesn’t match this description.

The Four Steps to Firm Up the Attraction

These have been tested out in bars, laboratories, and social settings around the world. They are the initial screening tests you use when feeling out a prospective love interest. Each successive step must earn a check mark in order to continue the encounter.

1. Eye-to-eye contact gets the ball rolling. A demure, flirtatious, seductive gaze adds the necessary encouragement.

2. The right smile is imperative. Mona Lisa’s won’t do. She isn’t wearing the pickup smile ethnologists have documented that works wide open lips and fully exposed teeth. Clenched teeth are a turn off.

3. The sound of your voice must be music to his or her ears. Melodious, high-pitched tones get positive responses. Low tones and matter-of-fact sentences are less appealing.

4. The slightest touching of the knee or an innocent rubbing of the shoulder registers pleasure in the brain. You must hit that nerve in order to advance toward phase two infatuation.

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Firefly Infatuation

The attraction has taken. You are giddy and euphoric. The fever pitched interest stirs up those romantic, passionate feelings indicative of infatuation. You are full of idealistic sentimentality and the desire for reciprocated love. Fearful of failing to acquire that, you are at once apprehensive yet uncontrollably carried away by emotion.

The light of the firefly infatuation is fragile. It flickers on and off until the course of romance is decided.

Revealing too much too quickly. In a moment you can reveal idiosyncrasies and intentions that turn the other person off before he or she has the opportunity to discover all of the things that turn them on. Taboo subjects when first you meet are past relationships, your children, if you have any, or the importance of commitment.

The conquest and sexual satisfaction. Now, this is tricky. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But based on sexual dossiers, Freud would claim that after sexually frustrated individuals satisfy themselves, they fly off to light someone else’s glow. Perhaps that is why the testosterone-rich men in a Massachusetts study frequently had poor relationships.

A mismatch with your love map. What turns you on and peaks your interest is not serendipitous. Sexologist John Money coined the phrase love map. It refers to the collection of items on your partner wish list that you gathered over the course of time. I will teach you how to create your love map in one of my next articles.

Part of the selection process and the purpose of dating once attraction takes hold is getting to know each other and seeing how you fit. More often than not, you find that nothing behind the pleasing exterior matches what you have longed for in a partner. If that other person does not make your heart beat, arouse you sexually, share your values, satisfy you emotionally, provide companionship, or stimulate you intellectually, the relationship’s over before it’s begun.

Racing Against Love’s Timetable

Love has its own timetable tied up with several chemicals in the body. These substances play a prominent part in the outcome of that first glance or an eventual parting kiss. Enough is known about these chemicals to demonstrate a strong cause and effect between body chemistry and emotion. There is insufficient information, however, to brew your own love portion.

The Chemistry of Love

Those who subscribe to the chemical and biological underpinnings of love tie their theory to four million years of evolution and the reproductive cycle. Instead of the undefinable magic of romantic love that requires thoughtful nourishment in order to arrive at mature love and children, these scientists say chemicals are the basis from which adult love is established. The release of ample amounts of chemicals stimulates progress through the following sequence:

1. Attraction

2. Attachment

3. Mating

4. Birthing

5. Early childhood development

6. Detachment

6. Detachment DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is the most prevalent hormone in the male and female bodies. It affects sex drive, sex appeal, and sexual performance. DHEA better be present to get the most out of that first glance!

Not even social scientists deny the importance of sex. If forced to give a definition of love, Ellen Berschied, Ph.D., psychology professor at the University of Minnesota, said she would whisper It’s about 90 percent sexual desire.

PEA, or phenylethylamine, the love hormone, is released when one becomes aroused and causes a pleasurable sensation. This amphetamine-like high is associated with the stages of attraction in animals and infatuation in humans. Should you need to add a little of your own PEA to love’s elixir, it is found in chocolates, diet soft drinks, and artificial sweeteners. But no matter how delectable and delightful the pangs of attraction and mating are, for the most part the body does not want to maintain this heightened level of excitement and headiness associated with infatuation and sex play.

Endorphins and oxytocins create a desire to be close to a potential mate and promote attachment. In the very practical realm of mother nature, the comfortable state of attachment lasts long enough to ensure procreation and the survival of offspring.

When chemicals associated with attachment dissipate and are not replenished by a resurgence of PEA, papa bear enters the detachment phase and trudges off through the forest.

Few Animals Mate for Life

motivational quote

Monogamy is not a fact of nature. Just the opposite. Three percent of mammals are monogamous. Primates, including humans, can boast a slightly higher rate of monogamy, coming in at around 12 percent. Birds tip the scale entirely in the other direction. Ninety percent of this species are monogamous.

Being monogamous means having one mate at a time. If a monkey seeks a sexual encounter with someone other than his or her mate, researchers call it an extra-pair copulation. You and I refer to it as cheating!

Serial monogamy seems to be the prevalent pattern among humans these days. One mate at a time, true. More than one over a lifetime, yes.

When Time Runs Out on Love Potions

Love potions lose their fizz over time.

Only a quarter of infatuations last. Strongly predicated upon sexual desire, infatuations hardly have a chance particularly for men in their 20s who are testosterone-driven during this decade. Furthermore, the entire cycle of attraction through detachment has generally been determined to last around three years, no more than four.

The question then becomes What takes the place of a love potion?

Spinning in Control of Love

Love is strongest in pursuit, friendship in possession.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We know that romantic love is part attraction, part infatuation. We also know that there has to be more to love to make it last.

The technical term for the enduring love you want is companionate love. The formulation of this mature love is founded upon desire for companionship and intimacy. Love potions won’t do the job here. Still, for lasting love you must buck the biological timetable.

The most helpful model to explain what companionate love is, how it grows, and what keeps it going is the wheel theory. Created by sociologist Ira Reiss in 1960, it is still widely adhered to and amended by experts. There are four essential elements that must be developed in sequence and then repeated without end in order to sustain it. This spins the wheel of love and allows you to take charge of the destiny of your relationships.

1. Rapport. Rapport is the development of a harmonious relationship that provides comfort and pleasure. Each individual brings something to the relationship and carries away something of the other person. Rapport is never one-sided. Both the man and the woman must feel they benefited from the connection.

2. Self-disclosure. In order to create a feeling of closeness and a bond with another human being, you must begin to exchange information about yourself feelings, dreams, aspirations, fears, hopes, disappointments, and successes. This abets mutual understanding and appreciation. Without self-revelation, you would be hard-pressed to fulfill the requirements of the next element.

3. Mutual dependence. If the seeds of lasting love are truly beginning to sprout, both a man and woman begin to enjoy fulfilling the needs of one another. Mutual dependence is not a state of dependence. Rather, mutual dependence is exhibited by engaging in mutually satisfying sex, being each other’s cheerleader and coach, and approaching the world as helpmates. Your happiness is enhanced by, and to a degree dependent upon, your partner sharing your life.

4. Intimacy. If you are successful in building rapport, revealing your identity, and accepting and giving support, you will have arrived at a wonderful new juncture in a relationship. The secrets you exchange, the knowledge you have of one another, and the experiences you partake in together provide a familiarity that is luxuriously comfortable and pleasurable. A connection between the two of you arises that each wishes to keep because it is so satisfying.

Do You Have to Be Dizzy in Love?

Not necessarily. But let’s address what happens if the wheel slows down, stops spinning, or goes in reverse. The slowdown is natural; we can’t always give our love relationship the attention it needs. The big problem can be going in reverse; crumbling rapport, secrets, total independence, and a demise of intimacy signal serious trouble.

One sure way to get the wheel in motion and very possibly avoid a breakup is by returning to the stage of infatuation. There is no substitute for the playful, frolicking, tingling high you get at this stage to revive interest.

Experiencing Breakups Is Inevitable.

It should be clear by now that breakups are a risk to everyone who ventures out into the world of love. There is no formula that will calculate how many you should expect to have.

Too few breakups. Some men and women have less difficulty finding lasting love than others. However, if you aren’t suffering through any breakups, you probably haven’t gone exploring, expanded your horizons, or exhausted every possibility. Get out, seek adventure, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Too many breakups. If you have too many breakups notched in your belt, you either aren’t select enough, give your heart away too easily, could be a love addict, or are too reliant on sex determining who you partner with. Employ a little more caution before you leap into a relationship!

Statistical Odds of Breaking Up

A few numbers to keep in mind are:

Most romantic relationships die within 18 months to three years.

At least 40 percent of couples who live together break up quickly.

Divorce rates may be edging downward, but your chances of separating are still more than 40 percent.