Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Love: Helen Fisher

So...I'm pretty sure I disappointed Helen Fisher today, which SUCKS because I think she's so cool. Helen, if you're reading this I just want to say thank you for your observations. One of the things Helen pointed out (which I completely overlooked) is that love is one thing....relationships, marriage and kids are another.  While the prospect of being married and having a family has steadily become kind of scary to me (I guess with the right person it might sound more delightful?) love, and being in love, is a beautiful thing. No matter how painful it is sometimes,  having the cognitive abilities to feel love when you look at some one is a gift (people with damage to their amygdale cannot feel certain emotions). Also, what our brains go through when we experience love and loss is very interesting.

I remember lying in bed a year ago, heartbroken, listening to Helens talk at the Ted Conference. I felt enlightened by a better understanding of what was happening chemically in my brain at that particular moment. When you're in love the "rewards" portion of the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is similar to adrenaline, and is what allows you to feel that "high on life" "kick up your heels" feeling of being in love. As Helen points out, the same part of the brain is active in a person who has taken cocaine. So it is no surprise that when we are rejected, we become obsessive, thinking about this person more than half the day and trying to figure out ways to get them back. In "The Anatomy of Love" Helen points out  that the name for what you go through when you are rejected by someone you love and feeling this way is called limerence. (This term was coined by Dorothy Tennov in the 1970's) So, it's safe to assume that if being in love is like a drug, being limerent is like the really horrible withdrawal symptoms. So for you addicts out there just remember, kicking the habit takes time.

Click on the links above to read more on Limerence and to listen to Helens talk at the Ted Conference.


  1. I think it is really funny that Helen Fisher bitch-slapped the fuck out of you and snapped you back to reality. I am hoping that the remainder of February of Love will be more inspiring...

    ...because I need some inspiration.

  2. Hahaha who better to have bitch slapped me though, right? I will try my hardest to inspire feelings of romance and hopefulness In you my little pup pup. I wub you!