Why do some people get so much more attached than others?

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grasshoppers88 asks:

Why do some people get so much more attached than others? I literally only went on 2 dates with this guy. Eventually it didn’t work. But now I miss him so much! Why do I always get so unreasonably attached?


Demetrius says:

Attachment in dating is captivating to me because on the one hand, most of us want to meet someone who is open to building an attachment with us, but the speed and intensity of that attachment varies from person to person. Some people meet someone and fall in love instantly, some people take years of hard work to build a connection, and some people just sort of wing it and see where things go. Often times these different styles and pace of attachment are why daters don’t make it past the casual dating stage. There’s no one right or wrong way to establish an attachment to someone, it’s just that our different styles and pace of attachment can sometimes lead to things ending. Usually because one person is “coming on too strong”.

Anyway, why we grow attached and why we do it at different speeds is honestly an unanswerable question. I say this because there are few universal truths when it comes to matters of the mind, but also because I did research and honestly, I couldn’t find anything really conclusive to say why some people grow more attached in dating than others. I found a whole lot of research on the importance of attachment between parents and children, or how interpersonal attachments are formed, but not much on attachment between adults in a romantic setting in a way that looked at infatuation. All the why’s of why we get attached, sometimes too soon, seem to come from folks who are speculating without data, so instead of repeating what they have to say, let me just give my own opinion.

Sometimes, it just happens. For some people, getting attached quickly is just their norm, while for others it is one in a million thing. Probably more like 1 in 100, but you get what I’m saying. Sometimes you just meet the right person, at the right time, at the right place, and WHAM, you just cannot stop thinking about them. My whole thing is being measured in dating but even I, your humble indifferent writer, have grown incredibly attached to someone after 1 or 2 dates. Usually it’s when I meet someone who has these three attributes:

  1. Similar socio-economic, racial, or religious background
  2. An interest in 75% of the random crap I’m interested in
  3. A warm smile (jk, it’s actually a waist-to-hip ratio around 7:10 if I’m being honest here)

Of the few people I have been infatuated in my life, generally that’s what does it for me. That said, I generally actually end up dating people who have 2 of the 3 things in common with me. The problem with a quick attachment based on the 3 things I mentioned above is that all of those things are very surface level. Having a similar background, liking the same things, and being attractive are things you can learn about a person within 15 minutes of meeting them but they will never be able to capture the full measure of a person.

I brought all that up to tell you why some people get more attached than others, or at least to share my theory. When we’re dating we’re searching for an ideal version of our perfect partner. Since it’s rare to find exactly what we’re looking for, since humans are complex and have their own motivations, wants, and needs, we generally settle for a little less than perfect. Not like looking for 100% of what you want and settling for 10%, more like looking for 100% and settling for 85%. So, when someone comes along who has 100% of the things we’re looking right out the gate, our brain says “KEEP THEM AT ALL COSTS”, we go cuckoo-bonkers for this person and, more than likely, scare them off. We know that to find someone who checks our lists so completely took a lot of work, so finally getting what you’ve searched long and hard for can make your attachment to them sudden and strong.  Why some people are more prone to this than others, if I had to guess, has to do with how hard it is for them to meet someone who crosses their list. You know how some guys lose their damn minds when they meet an attractive girl who likes sports, or they meet someone who loves the weird bit of pop-culture they’re into so they immediately start bonding over it? It’s basically that, but intensified because that person is a romantic interest.

Not knowing much about your situation, I would guess that this guy checked a lot of, if not all the items off your list, hence the sudden and intense attachment. I don’t need to know what’s on your list to know that he probably was an embodiment of most of what you’re looking for in a man. Now, what your list consists of, and what other people’s list consist of is going to vary wildly, but I think ultimately how quickly we grow attached to someone comes from how impressive they are initially to you by being close to if not exactly what you’re looking for, which can give you a false sense of connection. The only reason that some of us vary in how often and how quickly we grow attached is because our lists for an ideal partner vary. If your list is less surface and more about emotional connection, maybe you only really grow attached to someone once you’ve been dating them for a while. If your list is a bit more superficial (and I don’t mean to imply that superficial automatically means negative, or refers to looks) then it’s possible that you’ll find yourself quite attached quite often.

Just an opinion though, but I hope it helps. There’s nothing wrong with growing attracted to someone quickly, just try to put it into perspective next time. Try to figure out why you’re attached and getting over your attachment becomes a little easier. Sure, he may have been tall, dark, handsome, and everything else you’re looking for. Just remember, they may cross off most of your list, but the number one thing on your list should be someone who  wants to be with you.

Good Luck Out There.

Demetrius Figueroa

Demetrius is a sex, dating, and relationship writer based in Brooklyn.

2 thoughts on “Why do some people get so much more attached than others?

  • July 13, 2016 at 10:55 am
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    Often times attraction and mental ability to love plays a big part. Someone who is clingy that type of clingy that is unhealthy can be detected early if someone is open to being more concerned about what the person is saying than wanting to just be with someone on sheer attachment alone

    Reply

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