We’ve all heard the expression “love is sweet.” But according to a recent article by California clinical psychologist Offra Gerstein, love is also a science experiment. In the article, Gerstein reports on research from Dr. Helen Fisher, relationship expert. In her exploration of the neurobiological basis of love, Fisher found that hormones play a major part in feelings of love. Lust is driven by norepinephrine and dopamine; serotonin regulates the highs and lows that come with being in love; and vasopressin and oxytocin balance out the mix by stabilizing feelings of attachment. This concoction of hormones is what can make love bitter and sweet at the same time. Many individuals find themselves head over heels in love when they are still stinging from a recent separation or divorce. In fact, the majority of divorced individuals will remarry at some point. Are they gluttons for punishment, or eternal optimists?
Gerstein says that we are neither and both. Even individuals who have experienced painful relationships, intimate partner violence, or devastating betrayal still long to find that bond that fulfills them and sustains them. Johns Hopkins University associate Dr. John Money says that people begin forming their hormonal profile of a perfect partner in childhood. In fact, he believes that at as early as five years old we already have a blueprint for what our most compatible mate will be like. By adolescence, this blueprint is practically cemented.
But Gerstein cautions that with the sweet sensations of love comes the bitter bite of being in a relationship with another person. The roller coaster of emotions that result from hormonal fluctuations throughout different phases of a relationship can lead to negative psychological states and cause jealousy, violence, and anxiety. She suggests that if you are lucky enough to be in a mutually loving and respectful relationship, take a moment to be grateful for that. She also warns against seeking out those emotional highs because more often than not, those highs come with their fair share of lows. “Love is mostly sweet,” says Gerstein. “Balance your passion of intermittent highs with stable serenity.”
Gerstein, Offra. (2013). Relationship matters: Is love mostly sweet? (n.d.): n. pag. Santa Cruz Sentinel. 9 Mar. 2013. Web. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/portal/entertainment/ci_22756686/offra-gerstein-relationship-matters-is-love-mostly-sweet?_loopback=1
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.