I chanced upon Dr. Helen Fisher’s work while listening to a podcast. She has also been in TED Talks. Through her work, I discovered the difference of how men and women build intimacy, and that gave me more insights into relationship dynamics.
According to her, women build intimacy by gazing directly into the other person’s eyes, face to face, talking. But for men, they prefer sitting side by side and looking straight ahead.
As I recall my dating experience, John liked sitting next to me. He made it known several times when we were out, so this was something I remember. The only time when he sat in front of me was the first time we met at the coffee shop – due to the space constraints, it wasn’t possible to sit beside one another. But the next location that we went to, he preferred sitting next to me. Only if I understood this back then. That was his way of building intimacy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting next to someone, especially in coffee places and even more so at restaurants. I like the idea of eating side by side. But I realized that I have a tendency to shift my body towards the person and looking at the person when I sit beside someone I’m attracted to. I want to look at the person when I talk or when they talk.
Another part of Dr. Helen Fisher’s work that I found interesting and I think there is truth in it was about personality types. Why do we fall in love with one person and not another?
I took the test and found out I was a Negotiator and my sub-dominant behavior was Builder. Being a Negotiator, I’m most suited or am attracted to a Director. John was clearly a director – that explains why. I was just naturally drawn to his alpha male personality. Someone with a director personality are direct, decisive, tough-minded, exacting and good at strategic thinking.
Many years back, I had a guy colleague who wasn’t displaying alpha male personality but was interested in me. He didn’t lead in the courtship, didn’t plan dates and pretty much left everything to me. I felt tired and I didn’t like being put in charge in a relationship. That explains why I tried to like him, but I just wasn’t attracted to his personality type.
There are 2 questions that I would like to ask any one that I go out to dates with in the future. I think this is important as I will be able to find out more about the person and if we click.
1. What is your love language?
2. What is intimacy to you?