Friday, March 12, 2010

Endless Love?

Romance and science aren’t the most traditional bedfellows – perhaps with the exception of that ultimate first date make-or-break, ‘chemistry’. However a recent LA Times article revealed that increasingly scientists are finding the chemistry concept isn’t just a metaphor for the sparks that fly (or fizzle) when two people meet.

Love and attraction causes real changes in the brain, releasing high levels of the chemical dopamine which provides that first buzz, and then later bonding hormones like vasopressin and oxytocin. And researchers are using MRI machines to observe and measure these effects, with some surprising results.

I was intrigued by one study which showed feelings didn’t have to fade over time. Bianca Acevedo at UC Santa Barbara took the brain scans of people still blissfully happy together after twenty years of marriage, and compared them to the brains of love-giddy new couples. Surprisingly, she found they shared those same chemical patterns – that it is possible to maintain long-term the thrills of first love, rather than face an inevitable slide into happy-but-boring attachment.

Nice to know, and tips from researchers like Acevedo on building romance work across all relationships, from personal friendships to billion dollar brands:

  1. Keep things exciting – Surprise people in creative ways, stimulating the senses and take them back to the romance of the first time,
  2. Be thoughtful – Don’t become complacent about your most loyal customers, celebrate them and remind them every day why they chose you in the first place.
  3. Be empathetic – Listen, share, support and encourage involvement with you.

Simple stuff, and in commerce often forgotten by marketers who pour energy into new relationships, assuming old ones will stay true no matter what. Don’t fall into that trap – keep the love alive.


Elle Fagan said...

Yesss !

How wonderful to see the scientists, once again proving in measurements, what many of us already knew!

Have Faith, there is HOPE for Love ! :-)

The problem with developing and maintaining glorious longterm relationships, is that people have NOT been interested enough in them , this past generation or so.

But the sociological pendulum seems to be swinging more favorably toward longterm partnership goals again.

Who knows? One more blood test may be done to reassure a couple that their pairing is inclined to be able to optimize the good in it, no matter how busy gets the day ?

We should not fault ourselves too much - when it comes to our chemical makeup, only some of us have a "marrying genome". Only some of us are naturally inclined to longterm love,romance or marriage - at our core. And we cannot wander too far from our own genome, without losing interest or our health.

While most humans want to bond, to one extent or another, a natural gift for finding and maintaining the romantic idyll is not all that common.

So we should be kind to ourselves and one another in the matter.

And cheers for those who help with networking and relationship therapies - the idyll can be honed and strengthened and developed , up to a point.

But still, the people involved must "FEEL like it" which sounds dumb, but that's what it comes down to.

In the meantime, my whole day is better because of your article here!

It evoked memory of a love that grew with lovely effect, through many years - till death...and of a new love I am developing right now, to come...a logical progression, so as not to destroy the good of what came before.

Thank you, Kevin Roberts.

Filipa said...

Emotions are really powerful and can make things happen just by believing in it. Has Walt Disney says "If you can dream it, you can do it".
Science is always needed, but if you don´t put emotion (love) in everything you do you don´t get really involved.