With Halloween fast approaching and the Twilight Saga movies about to finish, vampires and other creatures of the night are in the air. As a result of this timing, I had the opportunity to see Carolina Ballet’s production of Dracula. It is a dark, erotic telling of the age old story of the irresistable power of the ultimate bad boy.
You might ask, what in the world does this have to do with marriage? Dracula’s overpowering attraction turns Lucy away from her loving, but unassuming, fiance. This struck a nerve about the role of infatuation in relationships and the choices many make in choosing a life partner.
The Appeal of Danger
What is it that is so appealing, to both sexes, about someone who is so ill-suited to who we really are? Why do some continue in relationships long after their partner proves to be a bad match? What allows for the delusion that we are the one to turn our partner into the person we want them to be if we can only love them enough? Why is it so hard to resist the pull of someone destined to make us unhappy?
I see the results of these choices every day. A recent study of divorced women found that a full 30% knew their partners were the wrong man before their wedding day, but they married them anyway. What is behind this disconnect from reality? What were they thinking?
The people we choose as friends are, most often, similar to us in many ways. We enjoy the same music, hobbies, jobs, life views, etc. You would think that the same criteria would apply to the people we chose to build a life with. What leads us so far astray? Our hormones do. The novelty of “danger” kicks off our dopamine receptors. Before our bodies can register this as a physiological impulse, we, like Lucy, are in too deep to turn back.
Luckily for us, Dracula, and Edward as well, are fictional characters. Unfortunately, some other “bad” boys and girls are real flesh-and-blood options. Just as it’s true that one can as easily fall in love with someone who is rich as one who is poor, it’s also easy to fall in love with a well-matched partner as one who isn’t a long-term fit.
The Advantage of Familiar
It may be true that opposites attract but, if you’re looking for a life partner, you need to remember that this is someone you need to be able to reach agreement with on great number of important factors.
It isn’t necessary to give up attraction to find compatibility. It’s just important to remember to choose wisely.
Is there a “type” you find attractive? Are you drawn to someone you want to change or rescue? Are they ulitmately a good match for you in the long run? What causes these relationships to succeed or fail?