To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This by Mandy Len Catron (NYTimes)

I now know why I fall in love so quickly.

I saw this article being passed around over Facebook and I saw the title and I wasn’t interested at first. I didn’t think or believe in any kind of article that is going to me how “easy it is” to fall in love. That’s what I got when I first read the title.

But when the third person in my Facebook network posted it, I just had to take a look and then BLAM! It was there. Why I fall in love so quickly, explained in a scientific way and filled with a rather well-written personal essay about her own experience with the subject matter.

I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.

It hit me so strong, the way the writer, Mandy Len Catron, managed to somehow figured, using the scientific study of psychologist Arthur Aron and her own personal experience to somehow explain the phenomenon and it just hit close to home.

Here’s the full article from The New York Times: To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This (NYTimes).

It seems, based on the article, that it has all about creating a sense of intimacy and being vulnerable enough to feel like you are really seen as who you are and you are seeing the person as they truly are. It’s more complicated than that (you should really read the article if this is your kind of thing) but that’s the gist of it, I think, and it explains so much about me.

I am naturally vulnerable and always opening up about myself so easily. I’m not afraid of revealing who I am on the onset and so I am always at that state. I am comfortable with myself and I am always putting myself out there, even if it isn’t about love and just people that I meet. And because of that, people tend to respond as easily to me.

I remember meeting someone at a party, a friend of a friend, and we started talking and in the first ten minutes, he said, “Goodness, Wanggo! You don’t do small talk, do you? I’m telling you things I don’t normally tell people.”

That’s me. I like to get beneath the skin and into the bones of the situation. I don’t scratch at the surface, I dig deep into their being to discover who they are. Writing it down here makes me think all of a sudden that it’s probably rude to be so intense at the very first introduction. I should learn to ease myself into these things, but it’s been my comfort zone since as far back as I can remember. It’s how I operate and the person could always step away or excuse themselves and I won’t get hurt. They probably don’t know that and are too polite to do so, but I take it for granted that they would if it got uncomfortable.

But it has gotten me into trouble. Because I create that sort of intimate space at such a short span of time and I lay myself out there, practically exposed, and because I’m quite empathic and sensitive, I feel like I see the inner person if they even give me just a glimpse and that’s how I fall in love so quickly.

I wondered what would come of our interaction. If nothing else, I thought it would make a good story. But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, which is really a story about what it means to be known.

I always bother to get to know someone. I think it has a lot to do with my days (years, to be honest) taking ecstasy in house parties with complete strangers. The drug tears away your inhibitions and makes you feel closeness and happiness being with them and while it is already easy for me, it enhanced it and made it even stronger. For them, it brought us to that point at a quicker space.

I learned quickly, from those times, that I needed to hang out with these people sober if I were to know for certain if we really liked each other as friends or if it was the drugs talking and, sure enough, after hanging out sober over dinner, I realised that it wasn’t there and that we were only party-friends and not real friends. I tried to bring it there but they didn’t bring it there. They were afraid of it and needed the ecstasy to get that comfortable and then, I had my answer and could disconnect and protect myself appropriately.

But I’ve been clean for so long now and as I grew older, my capacity for small talk has decreased to the point that I don’t have the stomach for it. I can’t stand the surface level of meet ups and get into the meat and bones of a person on first introduction and, after reading this article, I figured out what it meant for me. It means that oftentimes, I will meet someone and instantly create that intimate space with someone and if I’m attracted to them, will immediately fall and that’s a scary thing.

Because it won’t be the same for them.

Now I understand why people say I’m so intense. I completely understand it now. I know now what it means.

But I don’t think I’m going to change. I like who I am. I like this openness and it has given me a lot. I’ll continue to leave myself open in that way. One day, I’ll meet someone who will not be afraid of it, who will welcome it and cherish it, and hopefully, it will be the start of my happily-ever-after (if those things do exist).

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