My mother was a psychologist with a private practice. She saw lots of relationships up close and personal. She always wondered how people seemed to be able to find others who satisfied their unconscious needs. The Yin to their Yang.

How, she would ask, does the sadist find the masochist? You need one of each for a relationship to work. No one wears signs advertising their dominatrix tendencies. How does the person who likes to wear diapers or fluffy animal suits, find like-minded people? Today the answer is online, but before the internet, people still managed to find one another.

We are all like puzzle pieces. There are a few other pieces that fit neatly into our piece. But only a few. How do we find those needles in the haystack of humanity?

For example, everyone knows someone who always seems to end up with a similar ‘type’, usually one that is not good for them. There’s the woman who tends to go for men who treat her badly, cheat on her and/or abandon her. How does she know who is going to fit that pattern from their initial, usually neutral social contact? When we first meet someone, we can’t really know them. So what propels our choices?

My mother believed that we all put out ‘vibes’ or signals on a very subtle, primitive, even physiological level. Dogs can hear and smell things that humans can’t. Mom believed that the unconscious ‘senses’ things that the conscious brain is not aware of. Maybe it’s pheromones, maybe it’s micro facial movements.I’m a perfect example of this unconscious level of communication. When I was young, I was attractive but very guarded about relationships with men. I was superficially outgoing, intelligent and funny. But I was very closed off emotionally. Men sensed that and stayed away. I could go to dances, looking great, and never get asked to dance. It was as if I’d created an invisible protective shield around myself. I ended up marrying an abusive, controlling, manic-depressive. I stayed with him for 25 years.

Decades, and years of therapy later, I started dating again after my divorce. I had conquered my inner demons and was very open to a healthy relationship. I had no trouble finding men who were interested in me this time around, even in my late 40’s. I ended up in a wonderful marriage to a kind, caring, delightful man.

Something had happened to me on a deep seeded, emotional, unconscious level. Yet it made a palpable difference in my real world relationship experiences. How was that change so effectively communicated to the outside world? My outward personality hadn’t changed that much. To meet me, you weren’t hit in the head with my inner transformation. My friends still recognized me as the same person I had always been – at least on the surface.

I’m not a psychologist and I don’t have any answers. I just find it fascinating that who we are on a psychological level, somehow gets projected to other people. Haven’t you met someone and immediately had a strong reaction to them, either positive or negative? I met a woman at a book club meeting. I knew we were going to be friends. Years later we are still best friends yet we hardly talked at that first meeting.

We call this ‘chemistry’. We say we are ‘drawn’ to someone. I don’t know how to explain it. But three cheers for whatever it is!


  1. I know that when I was married, no one approached me and the moment I wasn’t married, it was a different world. I assumed, as you did, that I must have been sending out some kind of hidden signal. It was sort of weird, really. There was nothing conscious about it, but everyone could read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s actually scary that you can be sending out signals that you are not aware of. I didn’t mean to put men off for all those years! I thought I was being friendly and flirty. But underneath, something else was being communicated on a totally unconscious level.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no answers to any of these questions. Over and over I’ve chosen men who will treat me badly. I understand why, now. My mother treated me badly, was unavailable and abusive. On top of that, the “good parent,” my dad, died at a pretty critical moment in my psycho/sexual development and effectively abandoned me. THAT became my paradigm of love. But I don’t know how the various men have recognized me as the person they need to fulfill their complementary self. Or do I bring it out in them? No idea. But at this point, deeply distrust my choices. 🙂


    1. I think we all somehow communicate our inner selves to other people. You attracted the men who would treat you badly and you were attracted to them. You were both reading each others’ subliminal signals. That happened with my first husband. My ‘Vibes’ were totally different when I met my second husband, who is diametrically opposed in every way to my first husband!

      Liked by 1 person

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