What mysterious force drives us crazy for one person, while turning us off to another who might appear equally suitable to any unbiased observer? One key influence over our ideas of the perfect partner, according to John Money, is what he calls our ‘lovemap’– a template of messages within our brains that depicts the idealized lover and programs our sexual and erotic activities – whether imagined or actually engaged in with “the ideal lover.”
Basically, the lovemap describes our likes and dislikes; from our preferences in race, hair and eye color, tone of voice, smell, and body type. It also encodes the kind of personality type that appeals to us, and is quite specific as to details of the physiognomy (the assessment of a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face), as well as the ideal temperament, manner, and other physical and physical personality traits.
We fall for and pursue those people who most clearly fit our lovemap which is largely determined in childhood between the ages of 3 – 8. By age eight, the pattern for our ideal mate has already begun to be formatted and imprinted within our brains. When we’re little, our mother is our first love and is extremely influential in writing portions of your lovemap. Since she is the center of our attention, her characteristics leave a strong impression, and we are attracted to people with her qualities and personality type.
The mother has an additional influence on her sons as she gives them clues to what they will find attractive in a mate as well as affects how they feel about women in general. So if mom is loving and warm, her sons will see women in that way. These boys usually grow up to be responsive lovers and cooperative partners.
A mother who was angry, depressed or distant; or who is sometimes friendly but can suddenly be critical or rejecting, may raise a son who becomes a distant lover. This type is afraid of love and pulls away from a woman repeatedly for this reason.
Just as mothers influence their son’s general feelings toward women, fathers influence their daughter’s general feelings about men. If a father lavishes love and praise on his daughter, she’ll feel very good about herself in relation to men. If the father is absent, critical or cold towards the daughter she can grow to feel she isn’t very lovable or attractive to men.
The father influences how we relate to the opposite sex. They have an enormous impact on their children’s personalities and whether they will achieve marital happiness and relationship success.
We are most comfortable with partners who are similar to ourselves, including family and social backgrounds, economic status, education levels, similar goals, and equal levels of attractiveness. Look for someone with complementary needs; while balancing sociological likenesses and psychological differences to create the most solid lifelong romantic partnership.