Where do you and your partner stand? Are you in lust? In attraction? In attachment?
Love comes in 3 stages: Lust is all about gauging someone’s potential as a mate. Attraction is when people begin to build a connection and the thrill of courtship releases dopamine. And attachment is where oxytocin builds a long-term connection. Which stage are you in?
You might be able to use nonverbal cues to find out! In the video below I outline the cues that you see most during each phase. Recognize any?
In the lust phase, our bodies are trying to highlight our fertility and availability to a potential mate.
There is one nonverbal cue for lust that spans across cultures and gender. It’s the eyebrow raise. The eyebrow raise is the universal signal of interest, curiosity and engagement. It can be used to initiate engagement or nonverbally ask the question, “Are you interested?” or it can be used to reciprocate interest.
While both and women use the eyebrow raise in the lust phase, the sexes do vary in other nonverbal behaviors.
Women tend to engage in preening behaviors like touching their hair, chin or lips. A woman may also move her hair to one side, exposing her neck and releasing pheromones. This behavior is completely subconscious and nonverbally calls attention to her femininity and fertility.
Check out these 3 signs to show she’s into you.
Men will expand their bodies and take up more space in the lust phase. This is known as “peacocking.” Men will puff out their chest, broaden their shoulders and often drape their arms on a nearby chair or table to appear larger.
Check out these 3 signs to show he’s into you.
Attraction is all about the chase and the catch. It is the start of your connection when you are deciding whether or not you want a stable relationship with your partner.
In this phase, both males and females will begin to orient their bodies towards the person they are most attracted to. This nonverbal cue is called “fronting” and it’s when we direct or point our toes, torso and head towards the person we’re attracted to most. When we front (in both romantic and professional situations), we come across as engaged, put together and incredibly charismatic.
When we begin to feel attracted to someone, we’ll close the distance or engage in nonverbal cues that will create less space like stepping towards the person, leaning in and increasing outward touch on the arm or back.
This is all about building long-term commitment and developing a loving, sensitive relationship with another person.
Couples who are in the attachment phase mirror each other. Mirroring is a subtle, subconscious nonverbal behavior that involves two people mimicking each other’s behavior like type of speech or words used, walking pace and laugh.
We do this naturally as we begin to spend more time with someone. Ever hear that spouses tend to start to look like each other as they get older? This is the handy work of mirroring! Some couples even have the same wrinkle patterns after years of mirroring facial expressions with their spouse.
Touch is very important in the attachment stage as it releases a chemical called oxytocin. This is the hormone of connection and belonging. As we touch our partner (holding their hand, light touch on the forearm, a hug), we feel comfort in our belonging to them.
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