Why We Love by Jeffrey Kluger (Time, January 28, 2008)
Susan Sprecher wrote, “It seemed only people in the West were goofy enough to marry for passionate love.”
“Men see ample breasts and broad hips as indicators of a woman’s ability to bear and nurse children. Women see a broad chest and shoulders as a sign of someone who can keep lions away from the cave and bring meat home. A hairy chest and full beard (while not currently in vogue) are signs of healthy testosterone flow that gives rise to both fertility and strength.”
The sensation of romance is processed in 3 areas in our brain. One releases “dopamine which regulates reward and feels thrilling. It creates craving, motivation, goal-oriented behavior-and ecstasy.” Serotonin and oxytocin are others. “If ever there was a substance designed to bind people together, it is oxytocin. New mothers are flooded with the stuff during labor and nursing- that is one reason they connect so well to their babies before they know them as anything more than a squirmy body and a hungry mouth. Live-in fathers get the elevated oxytocin.”
Jim Pfaus notes “you start drawing connections to the person who was present when those good feelings were created. You think someone made you feel good, but it was really your brain’s chemicals that made you feel good.”
So what is the downside, you ask?
"IT IS UNSUSTAINABLE OVER TIME. The eventual goal of any couple is to pass beyond the serial dating, the thrill of early love and into what is known as companionate love. There is not a lick of excitement about it. It is reading the Sunday paper together. They need a love that bonds them to each other but without the distracting passionate love. Nearly all relationship must settle and cool. They did brain studies and very, very few still had fMRI studies confirming that they still feel romantic after years of being together."
Please think of the implications of that. So many couples want to end the relationship because one of them is “not in love.” What they fail to realize is how normal and natural and perhaps even good, that is. Their expectations of reality are out of whack and they change partners, the pattern obviously will repeat. At some point, they will realize the mistake they have made, but only when the damage has been done.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article!