Category Archives: Love

How Childhood Experiences Affect Love Relationships–Harville Hendrix on Imago


Harville Hendrix’s Imago Theory proposes that we go back to childhood and explore how our relationships with our parents (our first love relationships) affect how we interact in relationships.

Source: Oprah’s Life Class

The Chemistry of Love: Oxytocin May Drive Monogamy in Relationships

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Come for the romance, stay for the oxytocin. That’s the neurobiological bottom line on monogamy, according to a new study.

Men spritzed with oxytocin, a hormone from the pituitary gland, showed a renewed attraction for the faces of their romantic partners, but not for equally attractive strangers, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And the men weren’t just saying so. Their brains were hyped up in areas associated with reward and motivation, according to the study.

“Monogamy is actually quite costly for humans, so there must be some form of benefit,” said Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist at the University of Bonn in Germany who led the study. “We’d expect humans, especially males, would disseminate their genes. That would be a very strong evolutionary force driving male behavior. But what drives males to stay in a monogamous relationship?”

The answer may lie in a steady diet of oxytocin that triggers dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, motivation and addiction, according to the study.

Only about 3% to 5% of mammals form strong pair bonds, and among them, the prairie vole is perhaps the most studied. Monogamous voles, according to those studies, have more receptors for dopamine and have more oxytocin receptors in the cortex and several lower brain areas in the reward loop.

In humans, overtures of social support, hugs, massages and sexual intercourse all release oxytocin. And oxytocin, in turn, has been shown to induce pro-social behavior –- we tend to trust each other and feel more attached to others in response to the chemical.

Hurlemann, who has delved into the mystery of monogamy for years, built the current study on the somewhat surprising results of a previous experiment that showed monogamous men spritzed with this putative love potion tended to seat themselves farther from a potential new mate – an attractive female.

This time, Hurlemann and his colleagues took 20 men who were in long-term and passionate romantic relationships with women, hooked them up to functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners, and showed them photos of their loved ones interspersed with images of an unfamiliar but equally comely stranger, or a house. Some men were spritzed with oxytocin, others with aplacebo. To test whether oxytocin varied only with familiarity, they substituted highly familiar faces for the house images.

Afterward, the men filled out the Passionate Love Scale questionnaire, which showed that their inner Romeo prevailed over their inner Lothario. They were fixated on their current romantic partner.Brain scans added credence to their answers: Images of the familiar partner evoked a higher signal in the nucleus accumbens, long associated with reward, and the ventral tegmental area, an important dopamine engine that drives motivation. That response was strongest for the image of the partner than for any other.

So, do men become addicted to love via oxytocin? The metaphor may not be far off the mark, Hurlemann suggests. The data suggest the mere proximity of a partner — in this case, a photo — could touch off the same reward and motivation circuitry behind addictive behavior.

So, a steady diet of sexual activity, hugs and other forms of physical contact may be enough to override the desire to spread genes, keeping a man at home.

In other words: Keep the home fires burning.

There was a note of caution, however, that may merit further investigation. Familiar female faces didn’t stoke the brain waves as much as the photos of the partner did, but they touched off activity in another area of the men’s brains: the caudate nucleus, which is associated with conscious approach-attachment behavior.

Hurlemann said he is eager to find out whether different neural pathways are behind different types of attachment behavior.

In the meantime, Hurlemann said, “We believe we found a mechanism that could explain why it is beneficial for males to stay in a romantic relationship.”

Oxytocin, in short, may have edited the “r” from “stray.”

By Geoffrey Mohan, November 25, 2013, 4:06 p.m.

Source: Los Angeles Times,0,5690298.story#ixzz2lo8jG3PE


11 Interesting Effects of Oxitocin



Growing In Love vs. Falling in Love?

The overarching approach to love in U.S. society is romantic love. One who takes a romantic approach to love might think of love in terms of physical attractiveness, passion, sex, and intense emotional feelings. They might believe in ideas like love at first sight or that love conquers all. Infact, in U.S society, feeling romantic is a prerequisite for choosing a marriage partner. However, this has not always been the case in the United States or throughout the world. Throughout history, marriages were generally arranged, which means that one’s family members played a significant role in who one chose to marry. In Africa, marriages were also arranged. What was important among African people was expanding their lineage (big families were highly valued),and the economic, social, and political relations that could be forged. Love was expected to develop after marriage through the couple sharing their lives together, not to precede it. Partners were chosen based on their values, health, and their family backgrounds.

Question to Ponder:

Could you marry someone without being in love first?
Could you choose someone based on values, health and family background and grow to love them vs. falling in love with them?
Should Romantic love be the primary basis of marriage?

Source: African American Relationships, Marriages and Families: An Introduction

African American Relationships, Marriages & Families: An Introduction
Dr. Patricia Dixon



The Love of Isis and Osiris

Love of Isis and Osiris

(Click the link above for a copy of the story)

The African story of Isis (Auset) and Osiris (Ausar), is probably the  earliest stories known. In this story Isis and Osiris, one of two couples, the other being Seth and Nephthys, who are at once human and divine, working together to bring civilization to not only their own kingdom, but also to the world. However, Seth, who is jealous brother of Osiris, murders him. The story goes on to detail the deep love, passion, and commitment that Isis, the beloved wife of Osiris, shows in finding and resurrecting her husband to life, and then after his second death, the effort to which she goes to give him immortality, as shown in the numerous memorials she had constructed throughout Kemet (Egypt) to keep his memory alive.

The story has survived over 4,000 years to contemporary times and is important for several reasons. First, if one wants to understand relationships and their complexity, one must begin with Africa. The story of Isis and Osiris is probably the oldest story, it is an African story, and it laid the foundation for not only understanding challenges that relationships and families face, but how they can overcome these challenges. Many of the themes, e.g. resurrection, immaculate conception, etc. laid the foundation for Christianity. Second, it shows the love, devotion, and commitment between Isis and Osiris who are brother and sister, husband and wife, and human and divine, and what can be achieved when two people work together in harmony. Third, many of the themes in the Isis and Osiris story can be applied to contemporary relationships. Finally, it shows the possibilities of what can be achieved if couples work together to overcome challenges to their relationships. (Click the link above for a copy of the story)

Source:  African American Male/Female Relationships: A Reader
Patricia Dixon, Ph.D.



Stages of Love-Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra describes the stages of love as:

1. Attraction-Traits in someone we like and want more of

2. Second awareness–When you see in another what others don’t. It comes from attention, affection, listening with the eyes of the mind, soul and flesh

3. Communion-When our soul connects with another based on equality, empathy, being non-judgmental, integrity and telling the truth

4. Intimacy-when you lose your ego and expose your vulnerability. It is timeless awareness.

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