What love looks likeâ€¦
Okâ€¦so according to Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in New Jersey, falling in love and finding the one is all about science. Further to that, she claims that you are genetically predisposed to seeking a certain type of mate it`s all down to hormones, neurons and facial perception.
Ok, the scientific school of thought says that there are 3 stages in love: 1. Lust (Yeboâ€¦I can identify), 2. Attraction (Uh huhâ€¦.*nods enthusiastically*) and 3. Attachment – and this is where it falls flat for me. I never seem to get to the attachment part, because I lose interest during the attraction part!
Okâ€¦so Dr. Helen (she of the cold and clinical love mojo) explains my Attraction not translating into Attachment in this way. During phase 2 (the Attraction phase) of falling in love, the body secrets Dopamine (which is also activated by cocaine and nicotine), Norepinephrine (which is also known as adrenalin) and Serotonin (this is the important one. It`s addictive, responsible for butterflies in the tummy and drives some of us temporarily insane. It also causes us to feel things to the 100th degree).
Nowâ€¦I`m a bit of a control-freak, right. In fact, the reason why I don`t do drugs is because I hate the idea of not being in control and becoming addicted and dependant on this crutch to keep me going. I don`t TRUST butterflies, flights of fancy and the heady rush of being in another person`s company. I am too practical and highly pragmatic when it comes to matters of the heart (except when I`m tipsy apparentlyâ€¦then I`m quite vocal I`ve heard). Anyway, point isâ€¦if I don`t allow phase 2 to run it`s course, how on earth do I expect to get to phrase 3, Attachment. It`s a trust issue, sure. I don`t want to get giddy and get in over my head = and get hurt. Soâ€¦no, thank you. I`d rather not have any of that nice helping of Serotonin you`re trying to dish up for me.
Nowâ€¦ apparently Attachment in all it`s naked glory implies a longer lasting commitment than my usual two week infatuation with a new guy. Two hormones are released into our nervous system (says our friend, Dr. Helen) and they play â€˜a role in social attachments`. One of these hormones (and in my point of view, the most important one) is Oxytocin. Both males and females release it during an orgasm and it promotes bonding when adults are intimate. Apparentlyâ€¦the more sex you have, the more bonded you become (mmmmâ€¦. maybe there`s something to this whole â€˜Attachment` thing. Maybe I should start having casual sex with my two-week infatuations. Maybe NOT).
So, to summarise. You, me and the guy down the hall have all been predestined to choose a certain type of partner. Not in the it`s written in the stars kinda` wayâ€¦but in the it`s genetic, you can`t help it kinda` way. Which means â€¦ when you worry about whether you`re going to meet your soul mate, it`s worrying about whether you`re going to meet that genetic equivalent of what you want. This genetic equivalent, by the way, has nothing to do with race, gender and / or religion but facial perception. Do you have an open face, or a closed face? Are you and introvert or an extrovert? Which really doesn`t make sense to me because 99.9% of the world`s female population will tell you right now that their predisposed genetic soul mate (based on facial perception) is David Beckham.
So, to sum it upâ€¦ apparently I WILL meet a boy and I will be attracted to him based on his facial features (how alike we look, how open I find his face). We will be drawn to each other physically (phase 1), We will become all giddy and crazy and goo goo ga ga about each other (phase 2: Dopamine, Norepinephrine and Serotonin is released causing us to act like idiots and call each other stuff like â€˜my weetle peanut weanut`) and, if we`re lucky, we`ll let phase 2 run it`s course and move on to an Attachment (phase 3 and that wonderful wonderful Oxytocin. Dear Sweet Heavenâ€¦I hope to experience Oxytocin again in my lifetime. Kidding!).
It`s quite romantic when I spell it out like that, huh? But see, as much as I`m a romanticâ€¦.I see the sense the practical sense and science in this explanation. It bloody makes sense. It also says that there`s hope out there. And there might be more than one person out there that will fit your predisposed genetic profile of the â€˜best fit.
Now, I`ve got another problemâ€¦what if you feel phase 3 for someone and you haven`t experience phase 1 and 2 yet. What if you`ve known him for 8 years and loved him for most of that? Well, you go on for years with the knowledge that you possible love someone very deeply, but you`re scared to say so because you`re still waiting for the mad rush to the head and the fireworks and the physical keening to be with them (like I saidâ€¦I don`t trust phase 1 and 2. But I view it as a healthy yardstick of sorts).
But the story of my phase 3 man and the possibility of unrequited love is a deep dark confession for another day.