Throughout the centuries, humans have obsessed over what makes people attractive, from makeup to physical bodies, cars, clothes, and money.
Of course, all of this plays into it, but I’ve discovered a deeper form of attractiveness that has more to do with behavior, attitude, and emotional maturity. It is the antidote to the unattractive trait known as codependency.
Codependency is the dependence on another person – often without their knowledge or consent – to satisfy certain needs. Normally, these needs should have been met by parents in early childhood, but they were not.
People who grow up with unmet addiction needs—things like reflecting, holding, affirming, and validating—become adult children later on. Emotionally, they are frozen in a certain set of ages that arrive at different times.
So what behaviors are healthy and attractive? It is the process of meeting someone’s needs outside of any romantic relationship, as well as a moderate display of emotion.
This is particularly important for men to recognize because men often leave their friends in long-term relationships and become increasingly dependent on women to meet their needs.
Typically, a man will try to control his anxiety in one of two ways:
Becoming externally aggressive, allowing your inner child to engage in protest behaviors
By withdrawing inward, isolating himself from his partner, and inviting her to act in protest.
It is vital to note that successfully managing emotions is a critical component of any relationship. We will inevitably be provoked by our partner, and avoiding strong reactions or projections will prevent untold damage.
The inner child loves to throw tantrums in the absence of an adult figure, so learning to differentiate between adult and child behavior is critical. The best way I have found to do this is by learning to sit with discomfort. It’s like building muscle or tolerance for cold water. It needs to be practiced.
When you activate, start by accepting the emotions you are experiencing. Then allow yourself some space and objectively examine them as if you were observing a small child. This does not mean accepting bad behavior or abuse from your partner. It means taking responsibility for oneself and acting versus reacting.
The clearer the two of you can express your needs and define what is possible in the context of the relationship, the easier it will be.
Attractive people possess a form of self-control that includes emotional control, presence, and the ability to satisfy most of their needs. They avoid blaming, projecting, and codependency, maintaining emotional warmth, harmony, and clear communication.