Find A Husband In 90 Days – Round 2! The Chemical Of Attraction And How To Use It To Find Your Soulmate!By Delaina Dixon | August 24, 2018 | Relationships
Hello Divas! I’m continuing on my search to find a husband in 90 days. I have to say, in just one week on DateBritishGuys.com, I got a marriage proposal (we’re done!) and have conversed via texts with some lovely blokes. But we know having feelings for someone isn’t like turning on a light switch – or is it?
I wanted to know a little more about the laws of attraction, from a scientific standpoint. So I reached out to the professionals: psychiatrist Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD, a professor at George Washington University; and physicist, Michael Long, a writer and playwright who lectures at Georgetown University. Their book, The Molecule of More: How a single chemical in your brain drives loves, sex, and creativity – and well determine the fate of the human race talks about dopamine, the “feel good” chemical. They explain to us how it plays a part in our search for love – read below!
What is Dopamine?
DANIEL Z. LIEBERMAN: Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that gives you an urge to check out any new and potentially useful thing you come across: a new restaurant, a clickbait headline, the ping of your cellphone, or the new hire in the next cubicle. It is the chemical that makes us interested in what we don’t yet have, so we call it the “molecule of more.”
How does it play a role in relationships?
MICHAEL LONG: Dopamine makes relationships begin. When you see someone attractive at a party, dopamine is the source of that excited feeling that makes you want to go over and meet that person. Dopamine is the source of romance. But once you’re in a relationship, that dopamine excitement fades and eventually stops. That makes sense, because dopamine’s job is to “hook” us with the desire to investigate whatever is new. When something stops being new, dopamine stops giving you the good feeling. And that’s why romance fades.
DZL: The important thing to remember about dopamine is that it is only activated in response to possibility. If you see someone across the room who looks interesting, dopamine is activated, you feel excited. But if things work out, and you develop a relationship with this person, it’s no longer something possible, it’s something real, and dopamine isn’t going to be playing a role anymore. If you’re going to stay attached, you’ll have to find a reason that doesn’t depend on the excitement of the possible. You need to be able to develop an appreciation for the person as a real human being. That means finding value in friendship, conversation, reliability, compatibility, kindness, the way they look, the physical relationship and many, many other things. It’s not as exciting as dopamine anticipation, but it’s more satisfying and enduring.
Dopamine-driven romance is about imagination. Long-term relationships are about reality – living in the here and now, which is affected by all the other neurotransmitters besides dopamine.
What are two or three ways dopamine influences your search for a mate?
ML: It can make you more superficial than you want to be. Remember that dopamine makes you lock onto anything appealing – looks, clothes, cologne, even a look in someone’s eye. Those can be alluring, but they tell you nothing about the things that will matter in a long-term relationship. If you’re looking for a relationship that will last, remember that the dopamine thrill of initial attraction can distract you from looking for the qualities in a mate that will matter over the years.
DZL: Finding someone to be with is hard. Going out to the clubs takes a lot more motivation and energy that ordering a pizza and watching Netflix. Putting yourself on the line and risking rejection is the hardest thing of all. Dopamine is the engine that makes these things possible. It gives you the energy, motivation, and hope that are needed to get you off the couch and out onto the playing field.
Is there any way to control the effect of dopamine? If so, how can you use it in your favor for a successful search and then success in a relationship?
DZL: Remember that dopamine is activated by what’s possible, not what’s real. That means that it’s all about imagination. If you’re trying to attract someone, think about ways you can stimulate their imagination, perhaps by being a little mysterious. Revealing things about yourself promotes emotional intimacy, but remaining an unknown promotes dopaminergic imagination to fill in the blanks with all sorts of exciting possibilities. Play around with balancing the two and see what works best for you. Have fun with it. Once you’re in a relationship, try to surprise your partner occasionally. Don’t be too predictable. You don’t want to undermine the trust or safety within the relationship, but doing something your partner doesn’t expect once in a while will inject little sparks of dopaminergic excitement into the relationship.
ML: And there’s something more, something big. In addition to giving us the emotional urge for more, dopamine gives us the intellectual ability to decide which things are actually worth pursuing, and how to get them. Scientists call this “mental time travel.” It means that we have a model of the world in our brains – we know how things work, from driving a car to going on a date. We know what to expect, and we can play out possibilities in our imagination: If I eat the cookie now, I’ll enjoy it, but if I skip the cookie, I’ll stay on my diet and keep losing weight.
If you’re looking for a relationship, do some mental time traveling. Ask questions that tell you about the character and habits of a potential partner. Then use mental time travel to decide if those are qualities you would appreciate over the years, if this person has compatible goals and interests, and if they share your deepest values. Play out a possible version of your life using this powerful aspect of dopamine, and make your choice based on what you figure out.
What should you know about others and their dopamine when seeking a mate?
ML: Some people have strong dopamine systems and others do not. It’s a matter of genetics and not something you can do much about. High dopamine shows itself in different ways for different people. For instance, they might be especially ambitious or creative, or good at starting businesses. The thing to remember about highly dopaminergic people is that they are especially attracted to whatever is “new and shiny.” As we’ve said, you don’t have to be a servant to dopamine, but the stronger that urge is, the harder it is to resist. Keep that in mind if the artist you met last week is onto somebody else by the weekend.
DZL: People who are genetically predisposed to have highly active dopamine systems are exciting. Often they’re creative people, like artists, musicians or writers. Or they may be entrepreneurs or brilliant intellectuals. Unfortunately, the same chemical that makes them creative and ambitious will also make them more likely to be unfaithful. They have a tendency to seek out new things. That’s just who they are. People who have less dopamine are going to be less exciting. They may want to stay home instead of going out, wear the same old clothes instead of the latest fashions. They may prefer making things with their hands instead of coming up with new ideas. But they’re more likely to be reliable, loyal, and trustworthy. You need to decide what’s important to you and accept the fact that it’s a tradeoff.
Pick up their book, The Molecule of More: How a single chemical in your brain drives loves, sex, and creativity – and well determine the fate of the human race, at Amazon.com and bookstores.
photo credit: couple_pixabay