November 12, 2010
Missed connections on April 27, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
For around a year a girl who I’ve become really good friends with has been in love with this guy from overseas. We both are mad internet fans (she met this guy on chat). I know it probably seems really interfering but I am so worried about her because she gets so upset whenever she doesn’t hear from him for a while… this may sound crazy to non-net addicts (are there actually any?!?!) but there it is. I’ve been trying to be supportive of her but I’m getting really angry with him because I’m the one (along with another close friend) who’s left to comfort her when he doesn’t e-mail/come into chat/phone for extended periods of time. THEN when he DOES talk to her it’s always about bloody computers! (He works with them.) It is really bewildering for her because one moment he says he loves her and wants to be with her blah blah blah and that he wants to come over here soon and the next he pulls on this “I’m too old for you… you need to experience more in your life!!!” I wish he’d just be consistent and let her know whether it’s yay or nay. I really don’t know what to tell her anymore and I’m looking for advice.
— Unsure and Worried
November 11, 2010
November 10, 2010
When scientists — arguably the most logical of humans — try to make sense of love, interesting things are bound to happen. As Albert Einstein concluded: “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” (No one’s ruled out inertia, entropy, or nuclear fusion.) Traditionally, of course — metaphorically or otherwise — we trace the origin of love to our hearts. Thankfully, though, Syracuse University Professor Stephanie Ortigue suggests that our head has something to do with it, too — and not just when it’s over our heels.
In the new study “The Neuroimaging of Love,” Ortigue reveals that “12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression.” Basically, “falling in love can elicit not only the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine, but also affects intellectual areas of the brain.” Apparently, when it comes to love, we can go from zero to sixty in 1/5th of a second — meaning that euphoria can enter our system as quickly, if not faster, than a controlled substance.
So falling in love is like being on cocaine. It happens real fast, you’re on this crazy high — and then you come down. Interestingly enough, cocaine was once an ingredient in Coca Cola. Coca Cola was first introduced as a patent medicine “for all that ails you.” Since cocaine isn’t legal and has long been removed from Coca Cola, maybe all we need is love?
Dr. Sean Mackey, chair of the pain management division of Stanford University, might agree. Writing recently in Time, Alice Park explores Mackey’s research into to what degree love might “influence how we experience physical pain.” Mackey discovered that when people who reported being in the first stages of “new and passionate love” were shown pictures of their various pumpkins and pookies, they could withstand greater amounts of pain — even more so than when occupied by mental tests or when shown photos of equally attractive friends.
While I am all for love as a potential wonder-drug, one of my questions is: why only romantic love? Would throwing a different kind of love — say parent/child — into the pain equation garner the same results? Isn’t that love just as mind-altering? Nope, turns out. Well, not in the same way.
Ortigue’s study found that the reason parent-child love would likely not have the same effects on pain is that different parts of the brain are stimulated by different kinds of love: “Passionate love is sparked by the reward part of the brain, and also associative cognitive brain areas that have higher-order cognitive functions, such as body image.”
Parent-child love wouldn’t reduce pain physically because it doesn’t stimulate the reward center. However, that’s not to say that a parent wouldn’t be able to endure more pain should their child be in danger. In essence, Mackey’s study is strengthened by Ortigue’s assertion that the brain releases chemicals akin to cocaine to stimulate romantic love, because like cocaine, love works back and forth with the brain as it heightens certain things and dulls others. Love engages “our very deep, old and primitive reptilian system that involves basic needs, wants, and cravings.”
Since romantic love allows us to withstand more pain, perhaps it is the reason humans survive. While the end of love can hurt, to the point of making people lovesick, the euphoria of being in love keeps us coming back, much like cocaine keeps an addict coming back — all ensuring that we continue the species. From an evolutionary standpoint, the emergence of romantic love in humans may be all about survival of the fittest – rewarding us for the formation of potentially strong alliances with our mates and, as shown by Mackey allowing us to withstand greater amounts of pain, which from a primitive standpoint would have been useful in a fight with that mastodon.
Be thankful. Biology is looking out for us in more ways than one.
November 9, 2010
Arianna Huffington introduces a new section, HuffPo Divorce:
“I’ve always thought that, as a country, we do a lousy job of addressing how we can do divorce differently — and better. Especially when there are children involved. That’s why I’m so excited about the launch of HuffPost Divorce.”
Anything that can help families cope with divorce is a good thing. Better still, a considered collection of personal, legal, practical, and psychological pieces that approach and elucidate divorce in the myriad ways… now that sounds really kinda awesome! Inspired by Nora Ephron, fleshed out by family law professionals, essays and advice, and authors of topical books.
It’s almost impossible not to feel a tiny tad jaded, thinking about divorce-affected people as a publishing niche, but that’s exactly what we are. Half the population! I wonder if this is the beginning of more like this.
Meanwhile, I welcome the story and information sharing that may well become a resource for one of life’s most changing events. As a person who went through a starter marriage in her twenties, and who is a child of divorce herself (actually, once I counted and there have been no fewer than 12 divorces in my immediate family) I’d love to dip in now and again to say, find ways to manage doubled parental visiting guilt and the impending holidays!
Snapped by a tipster at a certain museum in Austin, MN:
November 8, 2010
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. This Ask Lynn column is being promoted at Match on Yahoo this week…
This week Lynn advises Searching in New Hampshire — a 50-ish single mom looking for a man who is willing to date a woman with small children.
I have been online and have dated some but the minute I share that I have a nine-year-old, I don’t really hear back from the men that I’m corresponding with. I understand that most men my age have older children and have moved on from the kid thing.
Where should she look without moving to a bigger town? Read Lynn’s suggestions then come back here to comment!
November 5, 2010
Known unknowns from April 27, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
“When you meet that one special person, you’ll just KNOW.” Everyone says that to me. Is it true? Or is love all chance and timing. I have been in love, but no one has ever made me KNOW. What is KNOWing like?
Breakup Girl has noticed that there are some things it’s hard to get specifics on, like what “management consultants” do all day, and what it feels like to KNOW. Here are a few observations and suggestions that might shed some light.
1. Sometimes when people smile mysteriously and say, “Oh…I just KNEW,” what they really mean is “Oh…I just… can’t remember.”
2. Don’t assume that KNOWing always occurs in a lightning-bolt moment. Sometimes it just drizzles into our consciousness, so that when the moment of truth comes, the word “yes,” or ” no,” or “decaf” is just there.
3. KNOWing is not unique to life-lasting love. How else do you think Breakup Girl KNOWs how to respond to this question? Look around your life for other examples of when you’ve just KNOWn — a college or fashion choice, perhaps? You might find that you know more about KNOWing than you realized.
I know, I know.
P.S. Doesn’t KNOW look like a really funny word now? Know, know, know. Okay, I’m done now.
November 4, 2010
Folks, this is getting as old as the people who allegedly lie about their age on the Internet. Are we really still slamming internet dating? It’s kind of like saying cell phones are bad, or “technology.” In the latest crabby smackdown, Rhodri Marsden, writing in The Independent, “reveals” the “truth” about Internet dating: things don’t work out more often than they do. Stop the presses? Because um, that is also true of bricks-and-mortar dating as well — it’s probability, not cynicism — not to mention, well, life. Saying that he has — aha! — found people who’ve been bruised by Internet dating! is like saying he’s found people who have been bruised by…dating. Duh. Everyone said it was handy. No one said it was magic.
To be sure, there are differences, concrete and ineffable, between dating online and IRL. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The fact that you can likely “meet” more people online than off does translate into more rejection: again, that’s math. And the Internet probably makes for more colorful before/after bait/switch experiences, but that’s because of the built-in online -> real-life progression; that’s story structure, folks. (Said it before: you mean all the people you meet on singles hikes tell the truth from day 1?) So to throw the Internet babes out with the bathwater is, to put a fine point on it, just dumb. So, too, is — if you’re single and would like to change that — not making Internet dating part of a diversified meeting-people portfolio.
So, enough. I’m outta here. Because BG spends some of her time online, and some of her time “getting out there.” See?
(h/t The Awl)
November 3, 2010
Well, it’s November 3. Are you, or have you ever been ditched by, a Halloweenie? Cindy Chupack once coined the term in order to designate (if BG recalls directly) folks who break up with their partners by October 31 in order to avoid (a) awkward family Thanksgiving dinners, and/or (b) buying gifts. (All while giving yourself plenty of time to find someone to smooch at New Year’s.) Boo!
But according to new (and highly imperfect, but still entertaining) data from Facebook (via Mashable), just because you made it through Halloween doesn’t mean you’re set for 2011. David McCandless and co.:
…scraped 10,000 status updates for the phrases “break up” and “broken up,” and made the following discoveries: 1). A ton of people break up before social occasions like Spring Break and the summer, 2). Mondays aren’t just the start of the work week — there’re the end of many a relationship, 3). People have the decency not to dump their significant others on Christmas Day.
Yah, but look at the graphic. While you’re safe on December 25, breakups appear to peak in the couple of weeks before, matching pre-spring break levels. If this is even somewhat accurate, I’m betting it’s not just about saving money on loot. It’s about the holidays feeling all cozy and meaningful and stuff. If you don’t feel cozy and meaningful with your S.O., you’re not going to look at them and feel all mistletoetastic. Forces the issue, in a way. You know? Fa la! What about you: any breakups precipitated by calendar events? (Or have you ever stayed together for the present, if you will?)
November 2, 2010
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According to this analysis, Superman is a moderate Republican, Wonder Woman a socialist, and Hulk “just want to be left alone” (libertarian). Whatever your leaning, please get out and vote. In a way, it’s your civilian superpower: please wield it (ideally, for good). If you haven’t already, learn about candidates, find your polling place, and remember, voting is a Breakup Girl issue. These folks may have a direct say in:
• how you learn about sex
• how you protect yourself if you have it
• education and law enforcement behind healthy relationships
• what you do with and how you’re able to take care of your body
• how much money you have to spend on dates (or “spa days” with numero uno)
• and, of course, whom you can marry
Please vote for candidates who make choices as sound as you do!
Bonus: Breakup Girl in … Red vs. The Blues!
Tags: dating violence
, sex ed
, sexual health
, Wonder Woman
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