What is chemistry dating for men and women?
I explore this frequently with the men in my domestic violence counseling program.
I do not know how many men I have walked through the moment of connecting with a woman visually at a party, or in the grocery store, or in a 'gentleman's club', but to a person they all can describe something about her non-verbal communication and how they felt just subsequently to that visual perception.
There is an excitement that they feel, which is coupled with a positive interpretation of her expression, and believe me when I say that lives change in that 1/18th second that it takes to perceive and interpret her expression. Unfortunately, that change at that stage of the chemistry dating, is not measured or moderated by intellect.
As Helen Fisher,Ph.D. says in the early seconds, minutes, days, and months of romantic love, our lives are taken over by three very powerful brain systems, the lust, love, and trust systems.
Each of those systems is associated with a powerful hormone and/or neurotransmitter.
Lust: Sex drive is associated with a class of hormones called androgens, particularly testosterone (yes, women produce it, too). Playing competitive sports has been shown to trigger testosterone production.In fact, women get a bigger boost than men prior to a competition.
Trust: Feelings of trust and attachment are fostered by the chemical oxytocin. In a study conducted at the University of Zurich, couples who used a nasal spray containing oxytocin before discussing an ongoing marital conflict were more likely to engage in friendly, positive communication than those who didn't take a whiff. You can stimulate oxytocin naturally with touch. Hold hands while you watch TV, trade massages, or sleep in each other's arms.
Love: The third chemical that drives relationships is dopamine, a key player in the brain's pleasure center that's been found to promote romantic love. Research shows that novelty—taking risks or trying something new—can trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. You can get the dopamine effect from sampling a new type of cuisine together or riding the roller coaster together at an amusement park.
Dr. Fisher also has some ideas about how to take that wonderful romantic brain chemistry and attach it to someone with whom it can grow.
Her research show that there are four basic personality types, and that if we find the right type to begin with, then the experience of chemistry when dating has a much greater chance to grow into a deeper, richer relationship.
Want to try her quiz, which will tell you what personality type your are?
According to Dr. Fisher, we are born to love, and she has examined the brains of couples, in a study with Bianca Acevedo,Ph.d.
"We are born to love. That feeling of elation that we call romantic love is deeply embedded in our brains. But can it last?
This was what my colleagues and I set out to discover in 2007. Led by Bianca Acevedo, PhD, our team asked this question of nearly everyone we met, searching for people who said they were still wild about their longtime spouse. Eventually we scanned the brains of 17 such people as they looked at a photograph of their sweetheart. Most were in their 50s and married an average of 21 years.
The results were astonishing. Psychologists maintain that the dizzying feeling of intense romantic love lasts only about 18 months to—at best—three years. Yet the brains of these middle-aged men and women showed much the same activity as those of young lovers, individuals who had been intensely in love an average of only seven months. Indeed, there was just one important difference between the two groups: Among the older lovers, brain regions associated with anxiety were no longer active; instead, there was activity in the areas associated with calmness.
We are told that happy marriages are based on good communication, shared values, a sturdy support system of friends and relatives, happy, stable childhoods, fair quarrelling, and dogged determination. But in a survey of 470 studies on compatibility, psychologist Marcel Zentner, PhD, of the University of Geneva, found no particular combination of personality traits that leads to sustained romance—with one exception: the ability to sustain your "positive illusions." Men and women who continue to maintain that their partner is attractive, funny, kind, and ideal for them in just about every way remain content with each other. I've seen this phenomenon, known as "love blindness," in a friend of mine. I knew him and his wife-to-be while we were all i n college, when they both were slim, fit, energetic, and curious: a vibrant couple. Today both are overweight couch potatoes. Yet he still tells me she hasn't changed a bit. Perhaps this form of self-deception is a gift from nature, enabling us to triumph over the rough spots and the changes in our relationships. I'm not suggesting you should overlook an abusive husband or put up with a deadbeat bore. But with the holidays upon us, it's worth celebrating our capacity to love".
Pretty powerful stuff, isn't it?
For your calmness.
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