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You can’t tell someone with faulty Attractors to go out and find a loving partner—from his point of view, there are none. Those who could love him well are invisible. Even if the clouds parted and a perfectly compassionate and understanding lover descended from heaven on a sunbeam to land at his feet, his mind would still be tuned to another sort of relationship; he still wouldn’t know what to do.
A relationship that strays from one’s prototype is limbically equivalent to isolation. Loneliness outweighs most pain. These two facts collude to produce one of love’s common and initially baffling quirks: most people will choose misery with a partner their limbic brain recognizes over the stagnant pleasure of a “nice” relationship with someone their attachment mechanisms cannot detect. Consider the young man described in the last chapter wrestling with the present-day reenactment of the long-ago love with his fiery, critical mother. As an adult, he faces a binary universe. If he connects with a woman, she turns out to be his mother’s younger clone. But a supportive woman leaves him exasperatingly empty of feeling—no spark, no chemistry, no fireworks.