Why Him, Why Her
Why Him, Why Her? That is the question that we humans have attempted to answer for centuries, and perhaps the poets have been the closest to an explanation until now.
Helen Fisher, Ph.D. has looked at brains in love in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine (fMRI) and discovered some of the brain's secrets about what it does when we we see an image of someone we care about.
The ventral tegmantal area becomes active, and sends dopamine to reward parts of the brain.
That process makes us feel different, and it truely can happen so fast that it seems like love at first sight.
Professor Fisher likens it to being in Mother Nature's kitchen uncovering her recipes.
But what does that mean for the rest of us, because Dr. Fisher has become the Chief Scientific Officer for a dating site called Chemistry.com.
Whenever I see that happening, my experience has been that the financial interests impact whatever scientific impartiality existed.
However, I have been a fan of the Gottman model called The Art and Science of Love for a number of years and I think that there are some parallels between what the Gottman's have teased out of their 'love lab' research and what Professor Fisher describes in her work.
Both the Gottman's and the Professor Fisher have been observing couples and our mating dance for around 30 years so there is a lot of experience involved.
Professor Fisher has built a quiz around her research which points to four basic personality types which are hormone based.
Those personality types move us toward a preferred other, which is where the dating site comes into play.
If I take the profile test, then Chemistry.com can match me with other like minded and like chemistry based potential mates, and hopefully I have eliminated some of the guess work from the mating dance.
John Gottman,Ph.D. and his wife Julie Schwartz-Gottman, have gotten so good at determining whether or not a relationship will continue based on their observations of contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness, and criticism, and they have put together a series of exercises which help couples learn some discreet steps for relationship negotiation. (Definitely watch out for Diffuse Phsysiological Arousal!)
So it appears that we have a chemical and brain based road map for infatuation and love which, for me at least, makes the entire process observable from a more detached spot in my brain, and we can learn from the Gottman's the discreet steps for heart beat by heart beat communications about what they call gridlocked issues in the relationship.
In The Art and Science of Love, the Gottman's report that 69% of issues in the marriage will never be resolved, because of the preferences (broadly speaking) of the participants, so solutions need to arrived at which fit the current situation, and those solutions may need to be re-negotiated tomorrow.
Professor Fisher says that the purpose of our brain doing what it does is for there to be progeny and for the parents to stay together long enough get the child up and walking.
Once that period of time has passed, the Gottman tools must come into play, and actually, Professor Fisher's model speaks to the brain chemistry of that also.
Maybe at this point in time, it becomes important to remember that you are past the why him, why her stage, and that it is necessary to think more about what you appreciate in your mate, rather than what you would prefer that he or she change.
Would You Share What You Are Most Grateful For?
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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