The 2 Year I'm Out of Here Relationship Dilemma. The Chemical Cocktail of Love.
Have you ever wondered why that wildly addictive, head spinning, tummy turning, eye-bulging, heart-thumping flush of first love starts to fizzle around the 2-year mark?
Come on now, be honest, it’s a little more challenging to remain giddy in love as we approach the 2-year mark. For most couples, even though there’s still mutual desire things tend to settle into a pattern of comfortable familiarity.
Around the 2-year mark, couples may start to notice some changes. That rippling 6 pack that initially caused you to drool and pant starts to become a reason to resent your partner for spending hours and hours in the gym. Or maybe your admiration for a woman who looks after herself starts to feel like the equivalent of a second mortgage?
Why exactly does this change happen at around the 2-year mark? It’s all down to the Cocktail of Chemical Love!
Chemical Love is a combination of 3 powerful hormones, power-driven by neurotransmitters, those being, Serotonin, Dopamine and Oxytocin. All 3 are heavily secreted by the brain and pumped through our bodies when in those first flushes of love.
This love cocktail stimulates all of your happy chemicals at once. That's why it feels so good and incredibly exciting when love is in its infancy. It’s also why some people become addicted to the high of new relationships over and over again. Serial Dater Anyone?
Here’s a brief overview of how it works.
Dopamine. The Hypothalamus in the brain is responsible for secreting Dopamine. Dopamine is what makes us feel excited and allows us to feel pure ecstasy. It’s a feel-good chemical which also permits us to see our partner through rose coloured glasses. Increased levels of Dopamine translate to never before experienced levels of energy and a feeling of immense euphoria. At its peak in the first few weeks of a new relationship, it’s not unusual to see couples unable to eat or sleep as they are literally giddy in love.
Serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone which can increase our dependence on others. When in the grips of Chemical Love the more affectionate you are with your new partner, the more you touch one another, the more Serotonin you will make. The fact that you have a new partner who is attentive and present increases Serotonin production. Serotonin allows us to feel innately happy and desired, in part it allows us to become more accepting of another.
Oxytocin. Similar to Dopamine, Oxytocin is produced by the Hypothalamus. With the new higher levels of Dopamine in our systems, we also find ourselves with massive amounts of Oxytocin flowing from our brains into the body. Dopamine is often referred to as the "cuddle hormone." In both genders, oxytocin is released during any form of touch. Oxytocin is responsible for feelings of connection and commitment. It’s the hormone which gifts us the ultimate sensation of being IN LOVE.
With so much going on in the brain and the body is it any wonder we feel love drunk? Is it any wonder we often hear of a whirlwind romance, a quick wedding and then a bub, all within a very short amount of time?
No one wants to be a killjoy or refute the power of love – it certainly exists, but with that knowledge, it’s also important to understand that feeling a bit deflated or sensing a real change in relationship status at around 2 years is quite normal.
It’s at this point the Chemical Cocktail of Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin start to lose their kick. In scientific terms, our brains adjust and these hormones start to recede back to normal levels.
Thankfully by this stage, *most couples have formed a strong and solid attachment. However, for some couples, the souring of such a perfect cocktail leaves them wanting more and finding themselves disillusioned and confused.
This is often when relationships start to fall apart or when small things begin to become big things. Thankfully, there's tools and strategies to overcome this period of adjustment.
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