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The Chemistry of Love

When sparks fly between two people, we're quick to say they have
"chemistry." Not everyone realizes that such couples literally have do have
chemistry--it's what's behind those sweaty palms, the jumpy stomach,
thumping heart, and nervous jitters. Chemistry also contributes to that
warm, comfortable feeling you get from being with a longtime partner.

The most well-known love-related chemical is phenylethylamine -- or


"PEA" -- a naturally occurring trace ammine in the brain. PEA is a natural
amphetamine, like the drug, and can cause similar stimulation. This natural
upper contributes to that kick-up-your-heels, on-top-of-the-world feeling
that attraction can bring, and gives you the energy to stay up all night
talking to a new love. Sometimes this energy translates into the triple-
espresso jitters; other times it simply keeps you wide-eyed and alert long
past the time when you'd usually be yawning. "I always get excited about
somebody who can keep me up late at night," says Basanth Of Chennai. "I
really value my sleep."

Feeling Dopey

You can also get a non-romantic dose of PEA from high-intensity activities
like skydiving, or by eating chocolate. According to Chocolate.org,
chocolate contains small amounts of our love drug, PEA. That might be
why some people use chocolate as "comfort food," getting the same warm,
relaxed feeling from chocolate as others do from Mom's chicken soup.

One of the substances released by PEA is the neurochemical dopamine. A


recent study done at Emory University shows that female voles (small
rodents) choose their mates in response to dopamine being released in
their brains. When injected with dopamine in a male vole's presence, the
female will pick him out of a crowd later. Our love food, chocolate, also
elevates levels of dopamine in the brain.

Another euphoria-inducing chemical in your brain, norepinephrine,


stimulates the production of adrenaline and makes your blood pressure
soar when near the person you're attracted to. That's why you might
experience a pounding heart or sweaty palms when you see someone
you've got the hots for.
What The Brain Tells the Body

How do our emotions get translated into physical sensations? A U.S. News
and World Report article explains the importance of the vagus, a nerve that
threads through your whole body. It transports signals from your brain to
your organs, "setting the heart pounding, making the stomach do flip-flops,
and of course, lighting the loins on fire." Everyone knows that jumpy, sort
of sick feeling in your stomach. Some people call it a "hollow" feeling, while
we call it this way: "That weird feeling falls somewhere between my belly
button and my heart. It feels like tension building, yet it feels great and I
want to have that feeling more often."

When The Honeymoon's Over

The idea that the "honeymoon period" of a relationship is fueled by


different brain chemistry than what is present during the mellower years
that come later might explain why some people can't seem to hold long-
term relationships: they prefer the revving-up affects of brain
amphetamines to the pain-killing effects of endorphins.

In the end, even hard-core scientists agree that chemistry isn't everything.
Culture, circumstances, personality, and scores of other variables help
decide who turns your head and who leaves you cold. So don't try to
reproduce that lovin' feeling in a basement chemistry lab--but do try your
best to enjoy the natural highs that life gives you
How to do something you both enjoy
Sometime soon you're going to meet someone special. You're going to
long for time together, for ways to create a lasting bond. But your schedule
is already jam-packed, and you're not even sure how you'll squeeze in any
more activities.

Here's some advice that has helped countless couples get to know each
other better and feel for each other more strongly.

Broaden your sphere of interest

Don't allow yourselves to lose out on a great relationship because you


can't find something enjoyable to do together. Too many relationships fizzle
because couples don't use their creative energies to build enjoyable
moments of fun and relaxation together. These are good skills to bring into
a marriage.

Make a careful list of recreational interests your partner enjoys. Your list
should be as long as possible. Next, circle those activities you might find
somewhat pleasurable. You probably can find a good half-dozen activities
you could enjoy together.

Your next task is to schedule these activities into your recreational time
together

Make time

All the good intentions you can muster will never replace actually doing the
activity together. And the first step toward making that happen is setting
aside the time.

Relationship happiness is highly correlated with the amount of time a


couple spends together. So, get your calendars out and find a slot of time
the two of you can call your own.

Brace yourself for change

As couples learn to cultivate shared activities, it can be a bit jolting. After


all, change is never easy.
Change is hard. It's especially difficult when it hits you at an emotional
level, with the one you love.

But don't allow that to stand in the way of trying to do something new in
your life, and in your relationship. Finding a shared activity can be a
challenge for some couples, but a little change can do you good.
Handling The Absence
One of the most difficult parts of a long distance or online relationship is
handling the fact that you are not physically there with your partner. This
lack of physical presence can make the whole relationship seem like an
illusion. With this in mind, it is very important to create a presence for
yourself in your partner's life to provide a stable reality that you are a
couple and that you are a part of one another. Listed below are some ideas
and resources to help you achieve this

Communication

• Don't fall out of touch, even for a short time


• Return all e-mails at the earliest opportunity
• If you are going out of town or are otherwise going to be unable to
respond, let your partner know as soon as possible so they don't
think something is wrong or start to have doubts.
• Keep all online dates.

Talk regularly through voice chat or via the telephone

• Your voice adds that touch of reality to the relationship and makes
you more than just text on a screen

Video Chat if possible or at least send pictures regularly

• Can you imagine how differently you would feel if you could actually
see your partner when you talk to them? You can bet that they would
feel the same. Rather than having to imagine how you looked when
you laughed or smiled, they could actually see it.
• It nullify's any of those doubts you have about whether they will like
the way you look.

Get to know as much as you can about each other

• Tell your partner about your day to day life, your friends, your
relatives, your job etc. Make them feel like they are an integral part
of your life. At the same time, find out as much as you can about
them too

Be there when needed


• One of the worst mistakes you can make in any relationship is to not
be there for your partner when they need you. This is especially true
of a long distance relationship as there are already inherent doubts
and this will just reinforce those doubts.
• Seek your partner's advice, listen to what they say and make them
feel special and important to you.

Love

Love is the backbone of any relationship. As long as the other partner feels
that you completely and unconditionally love them, those doubts will not
have a chance to creep in. It is up to you to make sure they know exactly
how you feel about them. Some ideas include:

• Reinforce your affection with poems, stories and love letters


• Send them care packages, postcards and gifts
• Create a personalized love craft and send it to them

Presence

• Make sure you have a presence in your partner's life. Continually


reinforce the fact that you are there, that this relationship is real and
there is no way that you are going to let a little thing like distance get
in your way. If you do the things listed above, you will create a good
presence in your relationship
Creative Ways To Say "ILU"

Many people think they can't write love letters, that they suck at poetry, that
they're not Shakespeare....but writing love notes is actually really
easy...and fun! All it takes is to see this...

Here are some romantic tips:

 Use those Post-It notes from 3M, they're great! And you can draw
stick figures and smiles on them. Use them to say stuff like..."I miss
you so much, hurry back", or "I feel so sad when you're not around.
:( " See, easy, isn't it? Just one or two lines, you don't have to write a
whole sonnet!

 Food, this is the fun part! If you have time, go to the supermarket
and buy some cake icing, the type that comes in a tube with the
spout so you can write words with. Buy some large cookies, and
draw little hearts on them. Total time will be less than half an hour,
and you can pick up the cookies and icing next time you're shopping.
Now, put the cookies in a nice Tupperware and you can both share
these "love" cookies together!

 Use some whiteboard markers, get then in a variety of colors, and


you can make your own balloon notes with them! Blow up some
balloons and write words like Love, Honey, Hugs, and whatever else
you want to write on them. To make it more fun, you can put small
candy bars in some of the balloons and then scatter the balloons all
over her house.

 I saw this in a movie the other day, and I thought it was a great idea!
Draw little faces on eggs in the fridge with a marker. Or to expand on
that idea, you can spell out the words I Love You on the eggs, so
every morning, she'll remember it!

 You know those old Christmas cards that have been piling up the
past few years? Put them to use! Cut out the relevant pictures, get
some wire and thread and you can make a mobile to hang from the
ceiling with. Of course, behind every picture you would scribble
something romantic so she'll keep it!

 Get an old beer bottle or soft drink bottle. Write a short love note on
a nice piece of paper. Something like, "Without you, I would be a
lonely island. I Love you" Then use a lighter and burn the edges of
the paper so it looks like an old parchment. Roll it up and tie it with a
ribbon, or at least a rubber band. Get a needle and poke some
thread through the paper, insert the paper into the bottle with the
string hanging out, so she can pull the paper out. Viola, your letter in
a bottle is ready! Just for fun, try putting it into the fridge and see
when she notices it!

 I've given you a head start on getting your imagination going, the sky
is the limit when it comes to expressing your love! If you have any
ideas that have worked in the past, so let us know by writing in to us!
Just Check Up before marriage…

Compatibility is far, far beyond sun-signs. It about emotions, feelings and


ethics that you stand for and can compromise on. In this article are some
points that you must clarify, at least heart-of-heart if not with each other. It
may really help avoid a situation called the FLASHPOINT !

Views on Religion

Talk about the traditions of those religions - or the lack of a religious


upbringing. More so, his / her feelings about godliness.

If you practice different religions, do you expect the other to join you at
services once you're married? (Someone said this once, and it was
shocking since one didn't understand why someone would think their
partner would automatically 'switch' his practices just because he was
married.)

If neither of you practices any specific religion nor has had a religious
upbringing, talk / think about your value and belief systems (non-religious).
Like for eg. One may be associated with the “Madras School Of Social
Work” and one may prefer “Krishnamuti Foundation”.

Children

Do you want them? If so, when? How many? (eg. One wants 10, the other
wants one, you'll have to do some compromising somewhere. If one wants
2 and the other 3, you're probably already close to a compromise.)

Same goes if you both don't want them? How certain are you of that? What
would you consider doing if you couldn't have them without 'help'? Having
a settled decision may not be necessary, but an idea - eg. Absolutely no
adoption? Definitely adoption? Consider adoption? Artificial means to
become pregnant - and if so to what extent? If yes to kids, then ideas
about child rearing?

Family (non-kids)

What are your relationships to each of your families and how would you
expect that to change / stay the same upon marriage? Your potential kids'
relationships to your extended families (if you want kids)?
Money management

How do each of you manage your money? What do you see doing
differently when married? Joint finances? Separate? ...or any of the ranges
in between?

Pre-conceived notions

What it means to be a 'wife / husband'. Many people have certain ideas of


'wife / husband' while the expectations and relationship of 'girlfriend /
boyfriend' may be much different.

General lifestyle issues

Do you envision married life in a big rambling home in the country and your
partner envisions a flat in the city?

Such things probably would have already come up, however, it's amazing
how people have a preconceived notion of 'married life' which may be
different from the life they're living now, but they assume things will
become a certain way.

It's important to discuss such things to make sure you're on the same
page! Travel? Does one of you love it and the other hates it? How will you
compromise?

Jobs / careers

Will you be a dual career couple? If so, how is each of you willing to
compromise to support the other in their career?
Seven Habits of Highly Successful Couples
Keeping intimate relationship alive requires strength, motivation, and a little
something called love.

We are guilty of basing our romantic beliefs on fairytales.

The problem with happily ever after is there's more to ever after than
meets the eye. To hold on to Prince Charming, Snow White has to be
willing to do more than sing with the bluebirds.

If you are willing to put forth the effort to keep your relationship alive, then
developing the following seven habits will help you become one of those
highly successful couples

HABIT #1 - GIVE EACH OTHER PLEASURE

Your goal in the relationship is to give each other pleasure, not to cause
pain. Simple, isn't it?

However... for just a single day, become consciously aware of everything


you do, by asking yourself the question, "Is what I'm about to do or say
going to cause my partner pain or pleasure?"

To help you, each of you should make two lists: one for all the things your
partner does that hurt you, and another for all that you'd like your partner to
do to give you pleasure.

Swap lists, and now you know exactly what to do and what not to do. No
more guessing

HABIT #2 - CREATE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP RITUALS

We fall in love through rituals of connection and intimacy such as romantic


dinners, long conversations, riding bicycles or going for walks, exchanging
gifts, talking every night on the telephone...

When we fall in love our relationship becomes the center point of our life,
with anything else becoming secondary.

Over time, when the relationship becomes more settled (particularly after
we have children), this process reverses.
The children, our work, our hobbies, our friends - take the center stage and
the relationship being relegated to the background tending only to receive
our attention in times of crisis.

The remedy to routine (the main cause of dull relationships) is connection


and intimacy rituals.

For example, every Saturday evening, as a changeover from the working


week into the weekend, take two hours together when you put a "do not
disturb" sign on your busy life.

No phones, no answered doors, no e-mails, no TV, nothing...

Just the two of you and your relationship.

Do what you will with the time, however it must be an investment in your
relationship.

HABIT #3 - CREATE A SAFE SPACE FOR OPEN AND HONEST


SHARING

Create a sense of safety and acceptance that allows each of you to


express your feelings, problems, expectations and disappointments.

One of our connection rituals is a process called "Clearing" that creates


this atmosphere of safety and acceptance.

EVERY NIGHT before you go to sleep, ask each other "what DID NOT
work for you today?"

Give each other a chance to share about all the things that went "wrong"
during the day (whether connected to the relationship or not).

If there are any solutions that you can mutually agree upon to assist with
improvements for the future, you raise the issue.

When both of you are complete, initiate a second round, in which you ask
each other "what DID work for you today?"

This is the opportunity to share about all the goodness that you've
experienced during the day, as well as acknowledge each other (and
others) for the support and love you have received.

HABIT #4 - WORK TOGETHER TO RESOLVE CONFLICT AND CRISIS


The problem with the way most couples argue is that they attempt to find
solutions before allowing each other the chance to say what they need to
say.

The "Council" process ensures that before you engage in solution talk,
each one of you feels you have been fully heard.

Here's how it can be made to work in the practice:

One person holds an object in their hand, called the "Talking Piece", which
symbolizes that he or she has the floor.

While one person has the floor, the other person is allowed only to listen
without interruption.

When speaking, you should focus on speaking from your heart (emotional,
spontaneous, instinctive as opposed to mental).

When listening, you are encouraged to listen from your heart (i.e. from
acceptance and compassion).

Only after each person has been fully "heard," (in case it is still necessary)
continue through to the process of problem solving.

HABIT #5 - TURN TOWARD EACH OTHER, RATHER THAN AWAY

When you pass your lover during the course of a day, do you stop and rub
their shoulder, give them a kiss on the cheek, and whisper something nice
in their ear - or do you just walk on by?

This is the meaning of "turning toward" as opposed to "turning away."

Turning toward each other means making each other your number one
priority.

Make sure to find ways to be physically and emotionally close to each


other, such as doing things together that you both enjoy. Take walks
together, drink coffee together after dinner, listen to music together...

HABIT #6 - SCHEDULE TIME FOR LOVE

Want to improve your sex life? Here's one of the most profound pieces of
advice: SCHEDULE IT!
Doesn't sound very romantic, but it works.

Waiting for that "magic moment" when you're both "in the mood" may be
romantic, but it's not always practical. We all have had times when we
were waiting and waiting and... waiting.

Plan in the morning to make love that night. Call each other all day long
with reminders, ideas and seductive suggestions.

By the time evening rolls around you'll both feel like you've engaged in
foreplay all day long - and you'll be ready for an exciting night!

HABIT #7 - CREATE MEANING IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Think about it, besides having fun, what else would you like to do together
in the coming 40 years?

We all need meaning in our lives.

You will enrich your relationship by sharing meaningful experiences with


each other. The ultimate in meaning is to share a common philosophy of
life and life purpose.

This is why couples who choose a path of personal-growth or spirituality


together, have great source of meaning in their lives.

When you practice these seven habits intentionally and consistently, you'll
re-create every day a loving, fulfilling and long-lasting relationship.

It's easy - give it a try...