Chemistry in love and relationships is fueled by actual chemicals in our brains. Chemistry in love involves chemical highs.
Love is in our mind and is fueled by chemicals and chemistry.
The Neurochemistry of Love
When we fall in love, our happy chemicals are stimulated at once – this is why love feels so good. But, our brain is not motivated by “feel-good” chemical reactions. It’s motivated to reproduce, which is why that initial “love-high” doesn’t last forever.
When two people are attracted to each other, a virtual explosion of adrenaline-like neurochemicals gush forth. Fireworks explode and we see stars. PEA or phenylethylamine is a chemical that speeds up the flow of information between nerve cells.
Also, involved in chemistry are dopamine and norepinephrine, chemical cousins of amphetamines. Dopamine makes us feel good and norepinephrine stimulates the production of adrenaline. It makes our heart race!
These three chemicals combine to give us infatuation or “chemistry.” It is why new lovers feel euphoric and energized and float on air. It is also why new lovers can make love for hours and talk all night for weeks on end.
This is the chemistry or the love sparks we all seek.
Actually when we have chemistry with someone, it’s not exactly flattering. In fact, some might call it insulting.
Why? According to Harville Hendrix, PhD, an internationally known couple’s therapist, educator and speaker, our brain dumps PEA when we identify someone who can:
- Finish our childhood business.
- Give us back what we lost to the socialization process of growing up.
Singles search for love armed with a list of qualities desired in a mate/lover, such as honesty, fidelity, loyalty, sense of humor, intelligence and warmth. Yet, when the person embodying all those qualities appears, nothing clicks. There’s no “chemistry”.
New lovers produce the chemistry in love we all seek.
Unfortunately, we hear that click when we recognize our original parent/child situation. That’s when our brain really gets those phenylethylamines and other chemicals moving.
Might as well face it…I’m addicted to love.
Some people become veritable love junkies. They need chemistry or this chemical excitement to feel happy about and intoxicated by life.
Once this initial rush of chemicals wanes (inevitable after six months to three years, depending on the individual and the circumstances), their relationship crumbles.
They’re soon off again, detectives seeking a quick fix to their forlorn feelings: another chemical high from infatuation.
These love junkies also have one other problem. The body builds up a tolerance to these chemicals. Then it takes more and more chemistry to bring that special feeling of love. They crave the intoxication of chemistry and infatuation.
Many adults go through life in a series of six-month to three-year relationships. If these love junkies stay married, they are likely to seek affairs to fuel their chemical highs.
Breaking the Pattern of Love Addiction
If you find yourself constantly falling in love with falling in love, here are some ways you can break that pattern and dependency:
- Stop and observe your own behaviour. Self-reflect on dysfunctional patterns in your current and past relationships – be brutally honest with yourself.
- Look for common themes in your relationships. Is there something in particular, perhaps connected to your childhood, that you are drawn to?
- Go cold turkey for at least 6 months – don’t date or go onto online dating sites. Give yourself some time to detox.
- Find ways to make yourself happy. Remember, love causes a reaction of happy chemicals. You can do this too.