Are we not meant for love?
I came across some interesting studies the other day and found myself wondering, “Were we not meant for romantic love?” Which led me to this post and my search in the void for thoughts popping out of nowhere, anywhere, but somewhere please. Just kidding, not that dramatic. But still, I find it a pretty perplexing question to ponder.
I grew up on lots of princess movies and my favorite was Anastasia (except the part when Rasputin pops his eye out because it made me cry every time), which means that 1) I still don’t understand why Anastasia’s not Disney (because she’s real?) and 2) I’ve always secretly believed that there’s a part of us that only switches on for those special somebodies and has no other function.
So imagine my surprise when I found that there’s actually not a specific love circuit in our brains. I mean there is, but not the way I thought there was. I thought there was basically a button called “release soulmate here” and when its pressed, voila, the circuit is activated until someone gets hurt and then realizes they’re actually young and naive and don’t know anything about love and should just work on themselves more.
Turns out that our body has evolved to host this ability of ours to feel powerful emotions towards that frustrating other, because it doesn’t biologically have its own place. Maybe a good comparison would be like when you don’t have a screwdriver but need to unscrew a nail, so you use scissors. Similarly, we’ve taught ourselves to use a different stimulus (a romantic partner, the scissors) to release the nail (feelings of love), although the nail is usually released by screwdrivers (ancient circuits). Or maybe not a good comparison, I don’t know.
Anyways, what are these ancient circuits? This is where I think it gets the most interesting. For women, its their maternal circuits. (where they learn to love their babies). And for men, its their territorial circuits (where they learn to protect what is theirs). Both circuits are necessary for each respective gender to form strong bonds with explicit somebodies (i.e. babies) or somethings (i.e. land) via cortisol receptors for women and vasopressin receptors for men. Arguably, they’re the only way. And both circuits reward (to the point of addiction) the individual tremendously when they form bonds with those explicit somebodies or somethings and develop/nurture/protect them. Which is good, right? Because hey, doesn’t this lead to an inherent foundation for monogamous relationships, which we so highly exalt that we praise them for all to see on the cover of every tabloid magazine?
But, if love is “borrowing” from two different circuits in men and women, what does that mean? If our wiring wasn’t really built to bond with a grown, breathing human being (who are their own person, in their own right, and should only change if they want to), but babies who need direction and objects that need guarding, how do we rise above that? How do we avoid that dark place that is all too familiar and comes much too fast following a love for the ages, where everyone turns psycho and the world is either heaven or hell just because we care too much? Will that be our blessing and our curse forever? And we can talk about gender roles in society, though I’d rather not because everyone knows the arguments and its the 21st century (so we know what side wins), but is this why women nag and men objectify? Is this why we as women kinda sorta always feel like we know better, as much as we love and adore and/or have no intention of demasculating? Is this why men kinda sorta always act like women are someone to be taken care of, as much as they respect our individuality and hear our insistence that we don’t need them, we just want them? But does this mean that we are hopeless because evolution has not caught up to our constructs of the world? And what do we do when faced with these limitations of our biology? Maybe everyone is different, especially when talking about perspectives, but we’re really not that much different, biologically speaking. Anyways, as much as knowledge disillusions, I still believe its the stuff of magic because it never fails to empower. But I find these to be some complex questions to sort out. So, I don’t know, if you happen to pass by and have a thought about any of this…it’d be nice to know I’m not completely insane and alone in my ramblings.
Peace and love.