Ene Elizabeth Adeka
Chemistry is good, but eventually your relationship has got to move out of the lab into the real world of choices, options, decisions and priorities.
The first time you met your man crush, your heart did a thousand somersaults but on the outside you sat rigid like ice; melting slowly, silently…he wondered if something was wrong with his shirt or his haircut was not as nice as the barber said it would be but naaah. We the girls know every littlest ‘behind the scene’ details.
How you changed clothes twenty times before you finally decided on the best pick, how every lipstick in the makeup bag suddenly looked ugly on you, how you wanted to lose weight in two hours because your cheeks (if you have been blessed with ones as supple as mine) suddenly looked too fat and your favourite shoe no longer possessed the magic that made you christen it ‘favourite’ in the first place. How about the perfume you kept spraying like you were on a mission to fumigate yourself? Let’s not wash our dirty linen in public. These guys do not have to know every detail of the movie.
Welcome to Love Land, where your emotions snitch on you and your voice betrays the confidence you seem to want to dish out. Today, I am not talking about butterflies or shooting arrows, I want to talk about hormones, emotions and relationship rights. Yeah! That topic mummy was too shy to talk about and the one that is the elephant in the room everyone seems to ignore.
For lack of a better way to simplify it, hormones are chemicals secreted by glands in your body that are responsible for your misbehaviours and very good behaviours. Are you following me???
Romantic love has been categorized into three: lust, attraction and attachment and wait for it…your body is so intelligent that each category has its own unique set of hormones with the most mischievous of them being oxytocin, otherwise known as “cuddle hormone.” Hehehehe…you just hugged your pillow honey, I saw that.
Lust: The bad guys at work here are the hormones testosterone and estrogen. Contrary to what your aunt told you, these hormones are present in both men and women with your body ready to secret more just in case you need an overdose. These are the hormones that are responsible for the “fire” in your bones. Quench it!
Attraction: I know you have heard of ‘love at first sight’ but what about ‘attraction at first sight’? The ruffians at work here are the hormones dopamine, serotonin and another one that is too heavy to pronounce. Google it! Remember the last time you could not sleep or eat because you met this ‘great guy?” Say hello to the culprits.
The one too heavy to pronounce is norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline, the one responsible for the flight and fight response and the even more important, for your increased heartbeat when you see your beloved.
Lust and attraction can go hand in hand and at the same time be independent of one another. This is why you should stop and ask which one of the three brought him your way. Before you conclude however, let’s examine…
Attachment: Here comes lady oxytocin and lord vasopressin. These are the ones you should beg for, the ones your body ought to help secrete at very important moments. For example, when you are locked up in the friend zone, our prayers should be, “Lord, pump him full of vasopressin and oxytocin.”
Attachment makes room for long-term relationships. In fact, during childbirth or when a mother is breastfeeding her child, oxytocin is released in large quantities so also during sex (but this is a topic for another day).
Why did I take time to walk you through the chemistry behind love? It is important that you gauge and weigh every stimulus and response and call it its appropriate name else you just might end up in a needless cycle of hurt, bitterness and jealousy.
Supposing you find out for yourself which love is at work in your intended and say, he or she is just after a rough tumble under the sheets. You have a myriad of options to choose from.
- Move your dignified self out of the way or
- End up as a ‘maybe’, ‘sometimes’, ‘once in a while’ bed mate of someone who needs an emotional map.
Society teaches you to dampen your emotions and pretend you don’t feel these things. You can deceive your best friend; however, you can’t deceive your body. The minute you fall in love, your body responds to it and safety for you means identifying the type of love at work. Most times you end up hurt because he fell for your nipples not your person. If I were to turn the finger around and point it at you, we would be sure to find out you fell for his solid chest and broad shoulders too.
Before you proceed to hand over your heart on a platter of gold to someone you probably think would be in for a long haul, I honestly think they deserve to know what to expect and you owe it to yourself as the precious woman that you are to be in the know too. Relationship expert and marriage counselor, Ocholi Okutekpa says,
“Oceans will surely rise, rain will fall but the choice to defend your emotions and not hand yourself over to a wolf starts by identifying how attracted, committed and willing to set boundaries they are in the relationship. An individual you cannot discuss your emotions with is an individual your emotions should say no to.”
The last time you saw Prince Charming walking down that road he often takes to see you, you know that your heart did a marathon sprint and your mouth suddenly went dry. Let’s be real honey, you like this guy, you are attracted and the sparks are gradually becoming dangerous. What is the way out?
Find out if it is long term, short term or no term! From yourself first before you go about policing him into making commitments you know you can’t keep. In fact, the first step constitutes knowing yourself. How far can you go? What are the boundaries you have set for yourself as a defence mechanism against wandering hands and cheating hearts?
In conclusion, you can avoid the heartaches often associated with love relationships if you simply define for yourself the kind of love you want. Falling in love is the beginning of a chemical romance, whether or not you want to remain a scientist in love or to appropriately gift the right person your heart is your choice. Remember, love requires time and you just might be spending irrecoverable minutes of your life with the wrong person.