Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Fifteen years ago I fell head over heels in love with Michelle. Seven years ago we married and five years ago we had our first child. I consider myself, in these respects, to be the luckiest man alive.
Even though the rush of our nascent longings have calmed, we remain very much together. To the point where only 'us' matters much of the time.
To me, enduring Love is an exercise in humility, luck and determination.
However, it could also be down to a good set of hormones;
THE FIRST STAGE
Testosterone and Oestrogen
The first stage of love - lust is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.
STAGE TWO: Attraction
The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.
Newly ‘love struck’ couples have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!
Couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship.
One of love's most important chemicals. This chemical may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.
STAGE 3: Attachment
It's a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm.
It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes. Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.
Is an important hormone in the long-term commitment stage. Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole. Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans - form fairly stable pair-bonds. When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.
Hormones or no hormones; Miche, you are adored.