Why we love the wrong people

by Nicole Gravagna

When we have feelings for people, it’s often because we’ve identified that person as a good source of fulfilling our needs.

Yes, that’s the non-romantic truth of most romance.

Unfortunately, most people interpret the feelings of romantic attraction (nervousness, excitement, elation) as something pure and mysterious instead of recognizing it as the feelings associated with securing a strategy for need fulfillment.

We can’t stop our hearts from feeling a certain way about the people that come into our lives. If we’re being totally honest with ourselves, that feeling of extreme attraction is not something we are ever fully in control of.

The key to answering this question, though, is to investigate those feelings whenever we feel them stirring up in ourselves.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. If we look deep enough inside ourselves, we discover that we are always attracted to the traits and characteristics we feel are missing in our lives.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the need to try and “acquire” them.

Our feelings work the same way – we are attracted to the things we are attracted to because there are some deep-seated desires of ours that are currently not being met.

Some of these include the need for physical and emotional intimacy and vulnerability, the need to be seen for who we truly are, the need for protection and to be cared for, the need to be valued by society etc.

We see in some people the qualities that we wish we had in ourselves. We feel that something is missing and when a person comes along who fulfills that deep-seated desire, we then take that feeling of content and it, in turn, develops into feelings of love and attraction.

Then, when the other person turns out to be incapable of fulfilling our needs, or just doesn’t want to do so anymore, we decide that they were the wrong person.

It’s never the wrong person (because there isn’t a right person). It’s always the wrong strategy.

Your needs can be fulfilled by others, but not indefinitely.

“I’ll take care of you forever, baby,” is just pillow talk.

At some point, you have to get real and recognize that literally no one on the planet can say that and mean it.

No one can predict the future to know that they will be capable of such things going forward.

It’s just not possible to predict what we will be capable of in the future.

a. Sometimes people go through hard times and they have to take breaks from fulfilling your needs.

b. Sometimes, people just aren’t capable of understanding what your needs are (and you might not be able to tell them).

c. Sometimes people’s needs change and the arrangement you made to fulfill each other’s needs isn’t working for them anymore.

When you have a pattern of catching feelings for the wrong person, take a long hard look at your need fulfillment strategy. You probably have something amiss in your strategizing.


Nicole Gravagna is an author, speaker, scientist, entrepreneur and observer.

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