Is chemistry ruining your relationships?

Because, if you are dreaming of meeting Mr. Right and all you can find is lots of Mr. Wrongs, that’s who you can blame: Chemistry. Oh that and Walt Disney!

We all grew up believing that love is really like in fairy tales: boy meets girl, they look into each others’ eyes and … the rest is history.

But is it really?

Most of the time, boy meets girl and he turns out to be yet another Mr. Wrong and goes on to break her heart!

While love at first sight is definitely possible, our Perfect Match is rarely the person who makes our heart go ‘BOOM’ but rather that who makes our brain go ‘WOW’!

Your definition of Mr. Right might be very different from mine but we all look for similar things in a long-term partner. Most important is compatibility. That elusive meeting of minds, shared interests and values that ensures that, when attraction moves into attachment, there is a strong foundation to build a lifetime partnership on.

Chemistry is nothing but our natural programming to mate. Mother Nature’s little joke on us poor silly human beings. All she cares about is that we procreate and ensure our species keeps going.

She cares nothing for ‘Love is Forever’ or ‘Death do us part’.

So she makes sure it is VERY EASY to feel attraction (or guess what… chemistry). She really, really doesn’t care if the person we’re attracted to is emotionally immature, selfish or even a serial killer.

That’s why we NEED to take care of ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our bodies, our feelings and our actions. We need to know ourselves and be able to control our reality.

And what best way to understand ourselves but looking at the science of how love and chemistry work?

Here are my 3 fun facts about love that may make a difference to how you approach your next date.

  1. Chemistry – or lust – is the first stage of love but it doesn’t always have to evolve into Attraction (that phase when we are head over heels and can’t think of anything else). That’s because lust is purely a result of increased activity of the sexual hormones testosterone and oestrogen. These hormones create that feeling of excitement we have around people we are attracted to and make them seem irresistible. Being aware that butterflies in the stomach are NOT the surest sign of true love is the first step to not mistaking any little flutter of excitement for ‘the man of your dreams’.
  2. When you’ve had a chance to spend some time together with the object of your desires, you might notice a cycle starting to form. The more time you spend together, the more you want to see them and it may feel like you can think of nothing else. That’s because some other little chemicals start flooding your brain. Dopamine and serotonin are now taking over and it gets harder and harder to control what’s going on. Because your body is essentially on drugs and this is as powerful as an addiction. If you are having this experience with someone you don’t know all that well and you focus entirely on how this person makes you feel or start building up stories in your mind about how ‘right’ you are for each other, you might be in for a big disappointment.
  3. According to research done recently by Ty Tashiro “While liking and lusting are both key features of romantic love, you’re better off betting on the former”. According to research cited in his book, lust declines at a rate of 8 percent per year of marriage, while liking declines at a rate of 3 percent. Moreover, specific personality traits are likely to predict marital success – and failure – in the long run. And since you can’t have it all – it’s a mathematics impossibility, he says – it’s best to pick based on personality. That’s not to throw sex out the window – it’s fundamental for a successful marriage.