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November 30, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I can't seem to get my niece away from a bad relationship with her boyfriend. I remember hearing about what I think was some kind of hormone that bonds teenagers/people together. It sounds like the word "oxey- tonin, or oxey-tosen." Can you help me? I've got to help my niece get away from her boyfriend. She recently had a car accident chasing him. She can't seem to get over him. I am 45, my neice is 16. It's so hard for her to take any advice from me. Please respond. I really need an answer. Have you heard of a "hormone" called oxytonin? Thank you!

-- Mary

Dear Mary,

OXYTOCIN. It's a hormone that females (human and animal) release during lovemaking and, Oedipally enough, also during breast-feeding and childbirth. In fact, scientists believe that oxytocin is one of the chemical catalysts for mother-child bonding. So it's also as if, when you have sex, you imprint on the lucky guy as if he were your bitty baby bird. Helps explain why women -- even post-trivial-one-night-stand -- may feel this bizarre, misplaced impulse to feed it, help it fly, and to want it to come to depend on them for food and warmth.

I could tell you way more stuff about oxytocin, but I don't think we'd be going down the right neural pathway. What you need is a catalyst for aunt-niece bonding. This website (though the focus may be a bit more 911 than is necessary here) might help you figure out what kind of "advice" will get through to her (basically, none), and instead, what questions you might ask just to get her talking -- and thinking -- instead of driving. That is what's going to -- weighed down though she is by teenage hormones -- help her fly.

Breakup Girl



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