True Love Chemistry Myth Reality:
Exploring Myth And Reality
by Toni Coleman
"She's beautiful and the sex is great. We have such strong physical chemistry. It's almost like an addiction for me. My friends can't stand her and even I know she's not really a "keeper", but it's hard to walk away.
These vignettes are great examples of how physical chemistry can be mistaken for the real thing.
The attraction on one level is strong, yet these are not relationships that have the right elements to grow into happy and satisfying partnerships.
So, what is missing?
Kahlil Gibran defines it as "spiritual affinity". It's the hidden element of chemistry. It's when two beings meet and connect on a deeper level.
It can only be felt in the heart and soul. It's about friendship, respect, humor and the feelings of warmth and contentment that come when you are in his/her presence.
People often report finding one without the other.
This is understandably a cause of great frustration and confusion about whom should we choose and why. In order to understand this better, it is helpful to know how and when each facet of chemistry occurs.
Physical attraction (or lust) generally begins during our first contact with someone.
It can DEVELOP into something more over time, yet some pull is there from the beginning.
The chemical that results from this attraction (and intensifies it) is phenyl ethylamine - or PEA. It is a naturally occurring substance in the brain.
Essentially, it is a natural amphetamine. It stimulates us and increases both physical and emotional energy. The attraction causes us to produce more PEA, which results in those dizzying feelings associated with romantic love.
Another substance that is released by PEA is dopamine. This chemical increases a desire to be physically close and intimately connected.
When these chemicals are being secreted in larger doses, they send signals from the brain to the other organs of the body.
If you wonder why you or someone is attracted to the "wrong" person, it may be because you are high on the physical response to these substances, which overwhelm your ability to use your head and exercise "good judgment and common sense".
"Spiritual affinity" develops over time and repeated contact. When these feelings begin to emerge, the brain produces endorphins.
These are more like morphine and result in an increased sense of calm that reduces anxiety and helps to build attachment.
As relationships move into this phase they are characterized by more comfort, commitment and friendship.
Generally speaking, all "soul mate relationships" require at least some measure of each of these.
The important thing to remember is that they come in stages, which is not to say that the physical attraction passes as one moves into a deeper connection.
However, it changes. We cannot sustain those intense emotions as we travel down the road to commitment and a shared life.
However, in healthy relationships those moments of intensity can and do occur for brief intervals at intermittent times.
Remember not to confuse great sex or deep friendship with romantic love.
Instead, look for a measure of both of these in your feelings for another.
For then you have the ingredients that lasting love is made from.
About the author:
Toni Coleman, MSW is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship coach and founder of http://www.consum-mate.com. As a recognized expert, Toni has been quoted in many local and national publications including: The Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, New York Daily News, Indianapolis Star and Newsweek newspapers and Family Circle, Woman's Day, Cosmo Style, Tango, Men’s Health, Star (regularly quoted body language expert), and Nirvana magazines. She has been featured on abcnews.com; discovery.health.com; aolnews.com; MSN.com, Match.com and planetearthradio.com. Toni offers dating help and relationship advice as the weekly love and dating coach on the KTRS Radio Morning Show (St. Louis, MO) and through her syndicated column, “Dear Dating Coach.” Her newsletter, The Art Of Intimacy, helps over fifty-five hundred subscribers with its dating and relationship advice. Toni is a member of The International Coach Federation, The International Association Of Coaches and The National Association of Social Workers.