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The reason for this is simple, if a bit surprising: Magnetic resonance imaging reveals that the nucleus accumbens , the part of the brain that is activated in lovers, is the same part that lights up in cocaine users and gamblers when they act out their addiction. This recent discovery brings to mind the old adage: What we do know, however, is that the craving associated with romantic love is very real.


Is Your Relationship Making You Crazy? Here's How to Stop the Madness | HuffPost Life

Greek mythology provides us with imaginative and amusing ways to describe the felt intensity of romantic love. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, had a son named Cupid. His job, as an archer, was to dip arrows into his mother's secret love potion before he took aim. Once Cupid's arrow hit its target, the victim fell madly in love with the next person he or she saw.


This myth has given rise to some of the most extraordinary love legends of all time, including those of Apollo and Daphne, Helen of Troy, Antony and Cleopatra, and Romeo and Juliet. We now know that the "hit" of romance can be partially explained by biochemistry. Science tells us that the pounding heart that leaves us breathless, trembling, and longing to be with our beloved signifies an overabundance of particular chemicals and hormones in the brain and blood, including PEA phenylethylamine , a natural amphetamine also found in chocolate and marijuana. As they float on a sea of PEA, lovers report more sensational and adventurous sexual experiences than they've ever enjoyed before, such as "mile-high sex" and a heightened pleasure in sensory qualities that might normally be a turnoff.

Napoleon Bonaparte, for example, once wrote to Josephine, "I'm coming home. As if a generous shot of PEA weren't enough, the love cocktail is also spiked with endorphins , which boost pleasure and decrease pain, and oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and cuddling. This cocktail infuses us with euphoria and extraordinary energy, which is why sleep and nourishment seem unimportant. Our perspective becomes so skewed that we see only what is good and beautiful in our lover; we're blind to all else. To fall in love is arguably a passive process. For love to last is not. Long-lasting love results from the necessary work that two people do — the self-work, primarily — to create a strong, durable partnership over time.

The preceding post is a modified excerpt of Linda Carroll's new book Love Cycles: Group 8 Created with Sketch. By Linda Carroll, M. Group 7 Created with Sketch.

Email Created with Sketch. Group 9 Created with Sketch. Group 10 Created with Sketch. Group 11 Created with Sketch. Group 4 Created with Sketch. A Kind of Madness This first stage of love has been chronicled for as long as human beings have been on the planet. In psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term limerence to describe this temporary state of madness and described the conditions associated with it: Overestimation of the good qualities of the beloved and minimization of the negative Acute longing for the object of one's affection Feelings of ecstasy in the presence of the loved one Deep mood swings from ecstasy to agony and back again Involuntary, obsessive thinking about the other Deep agony when the relationship ends.

She is also the author of the highly Related Posts Recipes icon recipes. Phoebe Lapine an hour ago. Stephanie Eckelkamp 2 hours ago. Functional Food icon functional food. Jason Wachob 3 hours ago. Email Address Sign up Error message. I reminded him that he likes sex better in the morning and he called me a frigid bitch and slept on the couch. I cried myself to sleep. And then, the next morning, he was an angel and brought me coffee in bed.

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I feel like I'm in a relationship with two people, one who really loves me and his evil twin who emerges without warning or reason. Then she tells me she doesn't wear that anymore and how come I didn't notice?

Is Your Relationship Making You Crazy? Here's How to Stop the Madness

She asks me to tell her how much I love her regularly, so I do. Now I'm just boring because I'm too repetitive. I'm supposed to make sure she's taking care of herself and she's so grateful that someone cares that much and the next day I'm trying to control her. Last weekend she wanted to spend time just the two of us so I found a great B and B and set up a romantic weekend.

When I surprised her with it, she told me that we don't have any friends and why would I think that she'd want to waste a whole weekend in some hotel when we could be painting the bedroom and actually accomplishing something.

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  7. Damn it, I can't win for losing. Every time I try to get ahead of the game, I feel like the rug is pulled out. I love this woman, but there's no pleasing her. She's driving me crazy and I don't know how long I can take it. Well-intentioned and devoted partners of crazy-making people become obsessive in trying to find the magic potion that will make their partners happy and appreciative of their efforts. But, every time they think they've got it right, they find themselves, as if in a bad dream, back at ground zero. They are frustrated, undermined, and terribly confused. What makes a person so hard to please or so unwilling to be predictable?

    Are they driven by some internal fear, or do they just get off on the game? Or are they just not able to love without losing themselves? Do they really want intimacy but fear that their need will end up in entrapment?

    In the four decades of observing these crazy-making partners in therapy, I have seen many underlying reasons why these people will simply not let their partners add up any "pleasing" points. But the most consistent and deep internal driver is the terror of being controlled. Crazy-makers often give up the love they most desperately need when they feel any sense of an obligatory payback. They'll sacrifice a perfect moment of tenderness if they feel there is the possibility of a reciprocal expectation lurking behind the scenes. It is as if some hidden combination of childhood trauma and life experiences that made them terrified to "owe" their partners anything.

    Their only way out of that terror of entrapment is to keep their partners "owing" them. When crazy-making partners are not driven by malevolent motives, they are very open to changing their behavior if it is pointed out in a non-judgmental environment. When they are able to see the effect it has on the ones they love without being seen as intending to harm, they are surprisingly willing to change.

    Once they believe that true love need not be obligatory and that intimacy is not automatically correlated with entrapment, they are often eager to learn new ways to make their needs and fears know and to let love in. They do need the help of their partners to learn to love in this new way. Their partners also need to understand that most of the sabotaging behavior is not only unintended but carries significant grief and guilt with it. Those twin feelings are what create the strong urge to come back with intense commitment after each "escape.

    Overly forgiving and intensely devoted partners do not help their partners by taking their patterns personally and destroying their own confidence when they cannot control the outcome. They have their own part to play in the healing of the relationship. Often, in their own backgrounds, they have seen a "too-good-to-be-true" martyred parent in a devoted relationship with a partner who would not acknowledge their caring.

    They clearly saw that parent as the "good guy," and are unconsciously playing out the same part, unable to stop giving even when it cannot be reciprocated. The Golden Rule for all intimate relationships is just as relevant here: No matter how good your intention or how deeply you care for your partner, don't keep participating in interactions that create frustration and emotional distance. However you come about discovering a new way to be together, it is better to take a chance of doing something different than to let layers of disappointment bury the love you once held sacred.

    Randi's free advice e-newsletter , Heroic Love, shows you how to avoid the common pitfalls that keep people from finding and keeping romantic love. Based on over , face-to-face hours counseling singles and couples over her year career, you'll learn how to zero in on the right partner, avoid the dreaded "honeymoon is over" phenomenon, and make sure your relationship never gets boring. Read my eBook now. Clinical psychologist and marriage counselor for over 40 years, founder of heroiclove. News Politics Entertainment Communities.