Turn On's and Turn Off's - The Love Light Switch Effect

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Our relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr (on Twitter & Instagram @drpamspurr) talks us through why it's not always your fault when a relationship ends.

In my line of work, I hear from people about the most extraordinary stories of a new love that suddenly disappears. Suddenly the new person doesn’t want to see them anymore. I call this the ‘love light-switch effect’ and it covers the mysterious things that turn people off.

As a single, it’s important never to underestimate how certain things are like flicking a light-switch from being attracted to someone - to going right off of them.

What I hear from singles, who are feeling hurt and bewildered is: “Everything was going fine and then suddenly they didn’t want to see me anymore!” Maybe you’d had a few – or more – dates and then it was over before it started.

What’s going on in the deeper corners of their mind:

This light-switch affect is often about subconscious associations and these are pretty much beyond your control. Think about how certain things might’ve put you off a person in the past. It happens as easily as this: He/she suddenly says something in a tone of voice or particular way that, for example, immediately reminds you of your ex – that you can’t stand. You don’t even realise the association but think, “Ooh, I’ve gone right off him/her!”

These subconscious things can seem beyond your control unless you decide to make a conscious effort to see if there’s a pattern as to why you’ve gone off potential partners quickly.

Part of this is realising you must be aware of past negative associations. And not allow them to jeopardise dating in the here and now. Some of these things can be hard to put your finger on. But you simply don’t want to go out with them - or they with you. The people you meet can just as easily go off you very quickly due to such associations.

Which is why when someone’s dumped after a few dates and they ask why, the person who has done the dumping, sometimes can’t really explain why. It’s just some – often small – thing they don’t like about you because it’s associated with some sort of negative experience.

Other times it can be a conscious light-switch affect. Like when you go to bed for the first time and it turns out that they have a way of stroking your body that sends the wrong kind of shivers down you. Not the shivers of sexual desire but the shivers of, “Ugh!”

If you have gone off someone very quickly in this ‘love light-switch’ way - and you can pinpoint it - it can be helpful to let them know why you don’t want to continue this new relationship.

And if someone has decided they don’t want to see you again even if it was a very positive start to things, you can get crucial reassurance from the fact that they might not be able to put their finger on why. That it’s probably not all about you. That it’s probably about an association with something in their past that they feel negatively about.

When these seemingly inexplicable early break-ups happen, take comfort from the fact that it’s probably beyond your control and it’s hopefully not that meaningful. That it’s some sort of quirky association from their past. And it should definitely be onwards and upwards as you look for someone new.

Good luck and happy dating, Pam x

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