“Intimacy with someone besides our partner that’s emotional, not physical.”
It happens to many people, and in a world of hyper-communication and connectivity, it’s becoming an increasingly big topic. So, what do we do?
- Part I: Attraction
- Part II: What To Do With It
What it is, its power, and limitations.
Love is a choice, but attraction may not be.
It’s just there to navigate, leaving many flailing and trying to deny our basic humanness, like “I didn’t ask for this!”, at a loss as to how to safely indulge…
Like most people, I have enjoyed the sweet, sodden satisfaction of crushes. I have obsessed over the way they smile, or sit, or stand, or the wrinkled folds in the hips of their jeans when they’ve done both. I’ve listened to songs they sent me —like Best Coast “Want You” or xx “Angels” — about a billion times. They’ve been the last thing I thought about before falling asleep each night.
It feels good.
An intoxicating rush, like chocolate cake or video games or a good book or [insert guilty pleasure of your choosing]; we often convince ourselves it’s “safe” if at arm’s length.
Except attraction is other people, often going on longer…
And we have neural and chemical responses to infatuation.
Dr. Anna Machin, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Oxford, wrote, with “attraction,”
“The stress and reward systems in our brain are working overtime… Nerve cells in the brain release a chemical called norepinephrine that stimulates the production of adrenaline, and give us the feeling of arousal… The feel-good chemical dopamine is also released, making us excitable.”
And fortunately/unfortunately for us,
“Dopamine is your go-to reward chemical in life.”
It powers many decisions that we most enjoy — and are most helpless to…
When examined in an MRI, people experiencing attraction will have high activity in the limbic system — which is associated with addiction. Meaning:
Navigating a crush can feel like addiction.
So while crushes may not be real, the lure of infatuation is.
In “So Sad Today,” Melissa Broder wrote,
“I crave eros, fantasy, and intrigue… This isn’t about love. This is about using people as drugs.”
As I wrote before, emotional affairs are fabrication.
Dr. Carl Pickhardt wrote,
“Crushes have more to do with fantasy than with reality.”
Dr. Machin wrote, they seem like “the right person” because,
“You idolize them… They’re going to be who you want them to be.”
And if you compare this to your partner — the day over day, year over year, with all the minutia and gritty details of real life — they never stand a chance.
“You believe that this fantasy person will fill you, because he or she possesses all the imaginary qualities you seek in a lover. And how do you know that he or she possesses all of these qualities? You put them there.”
And every time we interact with them, we strive to reaffirm this…
Click Below to read the entire story on Medium.com
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