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Friday, December 02, 2005

Neurology of NRE

What I've long suspected is being borne out by science. You know the first flush of love? That magic that happens when we find someone new? That new relationship energy where a person's annoying habits are cute rather than annoying or when you can see them only for their best selves? That's just your brain chemistry messing with you. But that's okay - so long as you're aware of it. I've known too many good friends who can't successfully ride the crest from in-love to companionate love and have thrown away very good relationships for the next available round of NRE brain chemistry rearrangement. But companionate love is the real deal - it's the part where you know each other at your best and worst, and at your most boring and average, and love each other anyway. In-love makes you a little insane, sometimes in very bad ways. Don't let it make you do things (or buy things) that you'll resent later when the brain chemistry normalizes.

Oh the mind is a twisty turny thing that aims to fools us and too often succeeds!


  • Interesting article.

    last part was funny
    "Dr Lance Workman, head of psychology at Bath Spa University, said: "Research has suggested that romantic love fades after a few years and becomes companionate love and it seems certain biological factors play a role.""

    I would like to work at Bath Spa University. Imagine classes in a huge tub.

    By Blogger Chris S, at 1:49 PM  

  • I did a *lot* of reading on this and other related areas not long ago. The neurochemical element of NRE is partially due to increased levels of a neurotransmitter called PEA (phenylethylamine) that has been observed to increase in levels dramatically during that NRE phase of things. In statistically average progressions and assuming no outside interference (long distance relationships, etc.) PEA levels tend to return to normal after about 2-3 years (which just happens to be the highest early divorce risk period - go figure).

    As an interesting side note, chocolate contains quantities of PEA so when people say that one can experience feelings of love just by eating a lot of chocolate it has some basis in fact :)

    By Blogger Bill B, at 11:46 AM  

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