Is your Relationship Withering? Are you Bored with your Partner? Do you feel like Wandering? You May Need Some Dopamine
Posted Jul 01 2008 4:11pm
Is your relationship dull? Lifeless? Boring?
Does the excitement of a new relationship sound tempting?
The answer to the problem is not to find a new partner and repeat the cycle. The answer is to stimulate your relationship.
Let me explain.
The human mind craves learning and stimulation. Hardwired into our brain is a system designed to desire (perhaps require) growth. The powerful pleasure giving chemical, Dopamine is released as we learn, grow and are stimulated in new ways.
Some neurologists suggest we are hardwired through evolution to respond to novelty to such a degree that often, novelty alone is a source of pleasure. As dopamine is released as a response to a particular stimulus, we not only find pleasure in the moment but life feels more pleasurable.
At times, in relationships after the initial excitement/attraction phase ends relationships develop a sort of tolerance, as partners get very comfortable and secure with one another. The powerful chemicals that flood our brains during the first stage, the attraction phase of a relationship diminish.
The relationship may fall into a routine with familiar patterns turning into ruts.
What we now know through brain research is that by infusing the relationship with novelty, the relationship can overcome the challenge of boredom. Marriage partners can gain immense pleasure in the company of each other without the need for a new partner.
"Fortunately, lovers can stimulate their dopamine, keeping the high alive, by injecting novelty into their relationship. when a couple go on a romantic vacation or try new activities together, or wear new kinds of clothing or surprise each other, they are using novelty to turn on the pleasure centers, so that everything they experience, including each other, excites and pleases them. Once the pleasure centers are turned on and globalization begins, the new image of the beloved again becomes associated with unexpected pleasures and a plastically wired into the brain, which has evolved to respond to novelty. We must be learning if we are to feel fully alive, and when life, or love, becomes too predictable and it seems like there is little left to learn, we become restless - a protest, perhaps of the plastic brain when it can no longer perform its essential task."
If your relationship is floundering and you feel bored, rather than search out someone new, why not search for new ways to keep the relationship alive?
Take a look at the ruts you have fallen in to. What can you change? If you always go to your favorite Mexican restaurant, why not try Chinese? If you go to the same theater to watch adventure movies, how about going to an independant theater or attending a live musical? If vacation always take you to the beach, what about going to the mountains?
If you think about it for a minute you can come up with all sorts of new ways to change and get out of those ruts.
The point is, to keep learning, keep moving, keep growing within your partnership. The more you stimulate the dopamine in your brain through novelty with your spouse, the more pleasurable your relationship.
Why not take a second or two right now and think of a few ways you could easily make some fun changes?
PS: Remember, if you are a boring person, that doesn't help... but this is the topic for another post.