How friends and thinking consciously will find you a better partner
We all appreciate that choosing a partner to settle down with is a critical life decision, particularly if it is with the intention of starting a family, but most do not see it as a conscious decision, preferring to think that romance cannot be ‘decided’.
However, according to one of the world’s leading relationship experts, psychiatrist Dr George Blair-West, and his dating coach daughter, Jiveny, making sense of love, and the unconscious forces at work, can lead to a better match and more successful, long-term outcome. It is for this reason that they have written How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life: Unlocking the secrets to a healthy, lasting relationship, a must-have playbook for how to play, and win, in the game of love.
In this exclusive article and book extract, the Australia-based marriage maestros uncover the brain’s central role in the laws of attraction, and why asking your friends for their opinion of a new partner is vital if you want to be happy ever after.
By Dr George Blair-West and Jiveny Blair-West
How does attraction work? And why does someone find another attractive that their friend does not? You may not like the answer because it is disconcerting, but it can also be empowering.
The bulk of attraction is driven by two powerful yet unconscious processes. It is also perhaps one of the best examples of how our unconscious mind can make major, life-changing decisions for us that we are completely blind to, unless we’re in the know.
Most people have two life ‘attraction phases’ that dominate partner selection. The first dominates in our early 20s, but as we approach 30, we shift into the second, more conscious, mode.
Unique father-and-daughter writing partnership Dr George Blair-West and Jiveny Blair-West bring decades of professional experience and the latest scientific research to reveal why conscious, informed decisions underpin successful, long-term relationships.
In our teens and early 20s, the main developmental task is starting to define our identity: what we want to do, and what kind of person we want to be.
At the same time, from our mid-teens we shift from being affected by our parents’ thinking to being more influenced by our peers.
Teens move into the peer group they identify with (e.g., nerd, sporty etc.) then turn to each other, and look to their popular media – whichever they most relate to – to define ‘attractive’.
During this phase, known as ‘assortative mating’, the more attractive teens tend to get the more attractive partners as defined by the prevalent culture.
Painfully, those further down this flimsy and arbitrary hierarchy do poorly, bolstering the fragile egos of those at the top.
We move away from assortative mating around the age of 25. Why? It’s about brain maturation. More specifically, the part or your brain immediately behind your eyebrows: the prefrontal cortex (PFC).
Our PFC is responsible for long-term success in love, and in life more generally, because it is responsible for judging risk versus reward, planning and decision-making.
Perhaps most importantly, it is where we will consider the long-term implications of our decisions. Research into success – financial, career or love – shows that the winners are those who take decisions by looking to the implications it will have one year, five years or a decade down the track.
How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life by relationship experts George and Jiveny Blair-West offers the definitive guide to choosing a marital partner, based upon their combined decades of professional experience and the latest scientific research to reveals how attraction really works and the fundamental elements required for a successful, long-term relationship.
Moreover, while we are born with certain character traits, such as extroversion or introversion, the expression of our full personality, and how we relate to others, is managed by our PFC.
It reads how others interact socially and records our own trials and errors. Our ‘new’ brain PFC gradually takes over from the very emotionally driven limbic system of our ‘old’ brain, which has run our life since early childhood.
As our PFC comes online, those whom we find attractive starts to gradually but radically change.
We now start to look more readily under the skin, about what a long-term relationship with our potential partner would be like. ‘What sort of a parent would they be?’ is a question much more likely to come to mind.
Hopefully, by our mid-20s we have had a couple of longer-term relationships, giving our PFC crucial data around what we want in a partner and how to be a better partner ourselves.
Nothing reduces the divorce rate more than letting our PFCs get older. Those who marry around age 30 have a massive 75 percent less risk of divorce than those who marry at 18.
In large part, this is simply due to having consolidated our personality and our core values.
A close second is how long we date before getting married, with those waiting three years or more a huge 48 percent less likely to divorce than those who propose in less than a year. UK research shows that, on average, couples are now living together for 3.5 years before marrying.
Marrying at an older age, and dating for longer before marriage are, then, the key factors in why divorce rates are falling.
This shift from defining attractiveness through the eyes of our peers to an evaluation with the future in mind is also a shift from an unconscious process to a more conscious one. But underpinning these two processes is a third, very unconscious process.
This third process influences whom we are attracted to our entire lives and without understanding it we can leave a trail of painful relationships behind us. The good news is that old friends, whom we know to be a good judge of character (and are not bitter or jaded about love) hold the solution.
You see, your friends who know you well, don’t have the same unconscious programming around relationships that you do. That’s all you need: just a mind that is not yours!
We need to let our friends meet our potential partners early on, before we invest too much in the relationship. And we want to welcome their honest opinion of our potential partners, and how good a match we would be, with an open-heart.
How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life explodes the harmful myth of ‘romantic destiny and finding the one’ so that ‘true love’ can be achieved.
What is this mysterious third process? It’s called ‘Imago Theory’. Here is an excerpt from our comprehensive new guide to choosing a marital partner, How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life: Unlocking the secrets to a healthy, lasting relationship, that explains this concept further.
How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life by Dr George Blair-West and Jiveny Blair-West is out now on Amazon, published through Alclare Publishing and available in paperback and eBook formats, priced £14.99 and £3.99 respectively. For more information, visit www.biggestdecisionofyourlife.com or www.datingforlove.com. You can follow dating coach Jiveny Blair-West on Facebook at @jivenyblairwest, Twitter at @jivenyblairwest or on Instagram at @jivenyblairwest.
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