Emotional attraction differs from other types and is necessary for long-term relationships. Understanding this type of attraction can help you recognize and maintain the connection in your relationships.

If you’ve ever met someone and felt like you’ve known them for a long time, you likely have an emotional attraction. You might feel drawn to them for who they are internally and how you connect.

When you think of attraction, your mind may immediately go to physical attraction, but there’s much more to it than that. Emotional attraction is one type that we experience, and it’s an essential aspect of successful relationships.

Emotional attraction occurs when you are drawn toward someone because you enjoy their inner characteristics, like their personality or core values. It is necessary for successful friendships and romantic relationships, with a 2018 study showing that it’s more important than sexual accessibility.

Steve Carleton, LCSW, CAS, and the Chief Clinical Officer at Porch Light Health, explains that emotional attraction is “one of the cornerstones for long-term partnerships and marriages.”

You might feel confused about whether you’re experiencing emotional attraction because it isn’t always easily recognizable. There are some signs of emotional attraction that you can look for to help you figure out what you’re feeling.

1. You love their inner characteristics

Loving someone’s way of caring for others, sense of humor, or personality is a sign of emotional attraction. You might be unable to stop thinking about these aspects of the person or find yourself gushing to your friends.

2. Feeling understood

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone or what you’ve shared with them because it seems like that person understands you. Feeling understood is a validating experience that often leads to a deep connection.

Michelle Beaupre, PhD, LCSW, the Clinical Director at Villa Oasis, explains, “They feel like a safe space for you to be yourself and share your thoughts and feelings.” It makes it easier to talk with them about hard topics that make you feel vulnerable.

3. Accepting someone as they are despite knowing their flaws

Everyone has flaws, and you’ll recognize them in those you spend time around. If you still fully accept someone even after learning about their flaws, it’s a sign of an emotional attraction.

4. You feel happy or excited about spending time together

Emotional attraction makes you want to spend more time with that person. You’ll feel good about the connection and know you’ll have a good time no matter how you spend your time with them.

An emotional connection may also lead to not getting tired of spending time together.

5. Wanting to share experiences

You likely have an emotional attraction if you want someone there to join you for trips, events, and other experiences. You’ll also want to tell them about things you experienced that they weren’t there for.

An emotional attraction typically forms naturally, but maintaining or deepening it requires action. Plus, you might want someone you’re emotionally attracted to reciprocate the feeling if you don’t think they do already.

Sparking an emotional attraction in a person is easier than you might think, and you can:

  • Laugh together: Experts indicate that laughing with someone promotes relationship well-being which could possibly help build an emotional attraction.
  • Ask questions: You can get to know someone on a deeper level by asking questions that delve deeper than basic information. As you discuss their answers and learn more about them, it can trigger an emotional attraction.
  • Do new activities together: Doing something new together is exciting and strengthens your bond, potentially triggering an emotional attraction. Plus, creating memories of doing things for the first time together will help maintain an emotional attraction.b Carleton explains, “These moments will strengthen your bond even further while making you feel closer to each other.”
  • Practice active listening and being present: Licensed therapist Jenna Brownfield explains, “You will feel more emotional attraction if the other person sets down distractions and fully listens to you.” Focusing on the present moment can trigger an emotional attraction. It allows you to attune to one another and promotes a deeper connection.
  • Express gratitude: Carleton explains that expressing gratitude plays a significant role in fostering emotional attachment in romantic and platonic relationships. Telling or showing someone you’re grateful for having them in your life will help them see how much they mean to you. It’ll help trigger and maintain an emotional attraction, benefiting both of you.
  • Make eye contact: Eye contact shows someone they have your full attention. It implies you care what they’re saying, encouraging an emotional attraction.

Without emotional attraction, relationships aren’t likely to last long-term. Emotional attraction differs from other types by being deeper and keeping you feeling connected. It involves who the person is on the inside rather than involving an appreciation for their appearance.

The other types of attraction include:

  • Physical: Physical attraction triggers the desire to show affection by touching or being touched, but not sexually or romantically. It could involve expressing attraction by hugging, kissing, holding hands, and other physical contact.
  • Intellectual: Intellectual attraction is being drawn to someone’s thoughts, ideas, or intellect. You’ll want to hear their opinions, learn from them, or get to know them better.
  • Sexual: Sexual attraction involves planning and thinking about sexual involvement. You may experience feelings of lust and arousal when you have a sexual attraction to someone.
  • Romantic: Romantic attraction occurs when you want a romantic relationship with someone and can involve physical, sexual, and emotional feelings. You’ll think of them often and consider how you can share experiences.
  • Aesthetic: Aesthetic attraction happens when you think someone is visually appealing, but you don’t desire a relationship or physical contact.

“Emotional attraction is more profound than the types of relationships that can exist at a superficial level. It’s not just about liking someone for their surface-level personality traits; it’s about connecting with them on a deeper level based off shared morals, common interests, and an unspoken understanding,” Carelton explains.

Emotional attraction means being drawn to someone based on their personality and other inner qualities.

It helps build and maintain strong, long-term relationships. While emotional attraction generally happens naturally, it can be boosted and maintained.