See if you think Gripping Dramatists are lovely people.

I do. It’s always hard for me to hear that they’re ever so slightly embarrassed to read about their attitude to love. Then again, they’re usually also relieved to hear that somebody finally understands their complexity.

Here is a summary of what it means to be someone who sees love as a Gripping Drama:

At first sight:

I can be very emotionally engaging; I get deeply involved and I focus intensely on my love relationship and my lover.

As a lover I feel:

Mainly I have romantic and sexual tension; with sensitivity, intensity and volatility. I also experience some dark emotions.

My attitude to love is a gripping drama:

I desperately want love in my life. When I have it, I find it hard to believe that I do. If I start to believe it, my next thought is that it will be temporary. That puts me through terrible emotional turmoil.

Problems I have in a love relationship are:

I develop theories about what is going wrong in it and then I try to take charge of it to save it. I over-react, panic, freeze, argue and/or try to end my love relationship. I pull my lover in to be close and push him/her away because I’m upset.

My needs from a lover are:

To help me catch myself and stop my negative emotions from taking over while we identify and solve our problems together. Also, be kind, patient and reliable.

My most negative characteristic overall is:

I make my lover feel very emotionally and sexually connected to me; I let him/her know I need him/her.

Red flag:

I can be very high maintenance.

Perhaps I should explain a bit about how I developed my theory about attitudes to love; then you’ll understand how a person comes to be a Passionate Adventurer, Gripping Dramatist, Sensible Compromiser or Joyful Diversionist.

As an individual and couples therapist, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time explaining why love problems occur and trying to solve them. I have essentially studied love along with the individuals experiencing it.

I decided to figure out if it’s true that love is different for everybody. So, I kept a piece of paper in my desk and jotted down the definitions of love as I heard them from my clients. I quickly realized that I actually needed four pieces of paper: I was hearing that there are four different views of love. I labelled them love attitudes.

Essentially, a love attitude is a set of thoughts and feelings that determines how you think, feel and behave when you’re in love. You can’t see your love attitude clearly unless someone or something brings it to your attention. Most people need to take my test to figure out which one is theirs.

By the way, it’s very difficult to try to trace back and determine the decisions you’ve made during your lifetime that have resulted in your current attitude to love.

Here is an example of what might be going on within a Gripping Dramatist lover:

I keep thinking that I need to have less negative feeling about myself

and my life. I don’t feel calm, secure or lovable. I want to develop a

close bond with my lover and I want our love to make me feel better. I

realize that’s asking a lot and I really question if I’m worth it. When I

mention any of this to my lover, he/she tries to be supportive and

loving; that-is the first hundred times I mention it. Then he/she tends

to get really tired of the conversation, but doesn’t leave me over it. My

insecurity makes my lover feel secure in a weird sort of way; he/she

knows how much I love and need him/her.

When I hear something like that, I can’t help but feel a great deal of empathy for the sensitivity and struggle of a Gripping Dramatist. I mean this individual really experiences a lot of love-life pain; so much that it spills over into his/her relationship. Of course, I do understand that this can make life somewhat difficult and trying at times.

Following is a very revealing description from an individual who sees love as a Gripping Drama:

I generally feel best if I’m the one being negative about our love

relationship and my lover is being positive about it. I find this type of

dynamic develops in our discussions when I talk about how I’m not

good enough or when I find something wrong with the love between us.

I want to be very clear that I mean what I’m saying. If my lover

agreed with me, I’d do my best to accept it. However, most of the time,

my lovers have been extremely supportive and kind to me; seeing me

as insecure and needing protection from my own negative thoughts.

Imagine yourself in this situation: You’re a Gripping Dramatist and you’ve totally bought into all of the above. From your perspective, you’re doing nothing more or less than coping with your own inner turmoil. But, after the fact, you see that your insecurity was over the top, or your sensitivity was at an all-time high. You can’t help but find some of your thoughts, feelings and actions a little cringe-worthy.

Here is another Gripping Dramatist statement that pulls at my heartstrings:

To me it makes sense that being happy and comfortable with my lover

makes me feel vulnerable. I really feel much stronger and better

prepared to deal with life and love if I’m unhappy and uncomfortable.

Deep down I’m afraid that I’m not meant to have a love relationship.

After all, the drama in my love-life has had more downs than ups.

Granted, there’s nothing about a Gripping Dramatist or loving a Gripping Dramatist that’s easy. But sensitivity, angst and openness about both are parts of emotional life which deserve respect and dignity. It’s more the fact that this person gets kind-of stuck in the down-side of stuff that can become problematic. Then he/she can become volatile. Nonetheless, Gripping Dramatists always have the saving grace that they’ve let you in; they’ve given you a close connection. Isn’t that what love is all about anyway?

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