I watched a Ted Talks the other night by Helen Fisher and she pretty much made it all make sense. when it comes to love.
Which is nice really, because love really doesn't make any bloody sense at all. At least I don't think so. I strongly recommend her talk 'Why we love, why we cheat,' as it gives love a different kind of spin on cheating rather than 'you complete aresehole, how can you do this to me,' and looks at it in terms of biochemistry and evolution.
I won't go into too much detail, that's for Helen Fisher to do, and for you to find out but I do want to write down what I took from it.
Helen, (I don't want to call her by her second name because this isn't an essay and it seems a bit rude) begins her talk by introducing three different love states. These are :
-Lust - the ole hanky panky (yep, still referring to it as that)
Romantic attraction - i.e romantic love
Attachment - deep feelings of union with a long term partner. the 'i'm ready to make a baby with you' kinda love.
Her talk goes on to discuss how we can experience these different states of love at different times, but also dangerously at the same time. Which is where cheating comes in...perhaps because we experience these rushes of want for another, new or different type of love, we seek it in other people. We are so far in the attachment stage, which is lovely of course, but what happened to lust? Where the heck did that go the frigid little prick...
It also explains why casual sex isn't casual, and perhaps why sex should never have been tarred with the brush that is 'casual.' This is where the interesting biochemistry part comes in; Helen describes the hormones released during hanky panky (I'll get there one day) such as floods of oxytocin and vasopressin, the hormones linked to feelings of attachment. Helen reckons we can naively fall in love with someone we thought we were just having casual sex with. There. I said it.
So what do I think about this? Well, I think AMEN! I have been battling it out with my own brain and hormones for years (see pre-posts): why can't I find someone to be with for a long time? Why do the people I meet and hear about seem to lie and deceive? Why do I find myself being attracted to a whole range of different people, only to end up back at Celine Dion and cheap bottles of Rose?
Because I am HUMAN. That's why. Are we genetically programmed and evolutionised to just meet and stick to person? Perhaps not. We are in a sense, in love with lots of things, places, food, music - of course it is different with people - but we love our family, we love our friends - surely it's difficult for us to love just one thing. I like pasta, but I am not just going to eat pasta forever.
Okay okay, so there is a big difference between pasta and partner choice, but what I am getting at is that, perhaps we need to take the pressure off things a little bit in order to figure out what it is we really really want. What it is our minds are telling us.
*Please note, I am not saying everyone is a cheater, I am not condoning cheating, I am not saying you should cheat. If you want to messabout with lust while you have already formed a committed attachment with someone else, then you should not be attached to that someone.
Tradition, media, films, books, history has all taught us a way of life, trying to reinforce a tradition that was perhaps never really there in the first place. To have one partner, to marry and settle down with a chap you fell in love with when you were fifteen. Only to get to fifty and think WAIT A MINUTE THIS MAN BORES THE SHIT OUTTA ME.
Okay, so I may be going against some things I preached about in my earlier years of blogging, where I completely fall head over heels in love (or so I thought) with someone, where my on going man hunt did nothing but fail me. Desperate to find'the one.' only to find three that were quite similar. But as I get older, and witness not just my own experiences, but those around me. The pressure of finding this perennial relationship is overcompensated.
Another side note ( I have to make these because else I am completely dropping myself in it,) for those who are in long term relationships, married, children etc - hats off to you because you are showing us it can bloody be done, and it does work. But, as I said in my previous post, you people are the exceptions. The exceptional exceptions and I only wish we could take a page out of your photo albums - because it is beautiful when it happens.
To conclude, I like Helen's idea of the three states of love. It makes me feel a little better about myself and also more forgiving toward those past experiences of mine. (Again not condoning cheaters.) Another thought of mine, quite linked to this idea )and perhaps a feature for my next blog) we should appreciate the variety of people, flings, relationships, flirts, crushes we form in our life time. They give us experiences and grant us the privilege of being where and who we are today...If one doesn't work out? We had the experience, we had some good times, the bad times made me stronger and here I am today going on a date with someone I perhaps may not see again? But the food was great and I learnt about the off-side rule. Silver lining and all that.