Iv'e found your perspective on the issue of healing relationships via maintaining a routine of bonding behaviours to be an interesting and most intriguing proposal. The prospect of attempting to maintain Oxytocin production in the limbic system via the 'exchanges' to lead to a greater bond seems to me to make a lot of sense. It's my personal belief that the majority of relationships breakdown simply because fundamentally neurochemistry changes and thus subconsciously we emotively experience distance,discontent,the grass is greener etc... and this gets expressed consciously via feasibly picking out things that we observe in are respective partner that we don't like,need to change etc. Now i know many people will disagree here. A) As i respect it's a very deterministic perspective and many people are not comfortable with this stance (I personally side with the idea that the subconscious is the big guy dictating all our desires/intuition/feelings etc.) B) As there are genuine cases where external circumstances really do damage a relationship. Breaching of trust for example. However, note how at the start of a budding romantic relationship in the heat of infatuation 'negative' character and personality traits are eagerly swept aside. Crucially consciously swept aside. People register there there, yet later on 9/10 out of ten these exact traits will be what people express and dictate to be the catalyst to their decline in interest. Or additionally the line "He/She's changed" springs to mind. Have they really? or perhaps more likely our perception of them has.
I guess that those pesky vole experiments tell us a lot. The will to want to maintain Monogamous behaviour is dictated in a large part by the stimulation of the closely related Vasopressin and Oxytocin receptors. A lack of these and promiscuous behaviour becomes more rewarding and 'wins out' so to speak. Or at least becomes more rewarding. Now, as i stated before, I think you guys are really onto something by trying to stimulate the Neuroscience of a very primitive part of the brain, trying to tame the tiger if you will. However I'd like to raise the idea that some cases might be less hopeful than others. Clearly some humans are going to have increasingly hyper reactive dopamine reward centers, thus be far more enticed on a subconscious level to pursue novel relationships and subsequently a big pay off in dopamine (falling in love all over again.) Respectively some people will have a lesser quantity of Vasopressin and Oxytocin receptors and thus won't be inclined to bond longterm anyway. Top this off with a lack of mirror neurons activity and therefore lack of empathy and you have someone biologically prone to short term relationships. Or if their feeling a bit more dedicated, serial marriage. The cruelty of it is I think a majority of these people are inclined to express a want of long term love. Rarely do people enter into marriage thinking its going to decline a few years down the line! Yet if they settle it seems likely that they will feel far less emotional contentment as they simply are not wired to enjoy this path. Does anyone have any anecdotes to challenge this logic? I guess theoretically you could argue that some people fade out of various relationships and then have a happy marriage later where the feelings of passion and love are maintained. However i would still personally argue that patterns rule in relationships. People that divorce are prone to further divorce down the line. I would stand by this being still biological rather than an environmental factor of knowing they can mentally survive and process divorce. What do you guys think?
An exception in data to this trend appears to be the increasing occurrence of remarrying to first loves and childhood sweethearts. These remarriages appear to actually break the trend and have have a higher probability of working out. To me again this strikes as the deep subconcious winning out. Logically the first person we fall well and truly in love with should be the least suitable person to maintain a marriage. In a rational sense at this stage in life we know very little about what qualities will transfer to a longterm mate. Most people fall in love totally innocently and without even questioning if this person is totally suitable. Its raw unregulated emotive heaven. Hence i feel a fair few people carry a flame for their first love somewhere deep in their inner being..Not all by any means, but some. Again pretty primitive part of the brain at work here i imagine. If anyone could offer any insight into why this bond could retain such a presence to some people from a neurological sense. I would love to hear peoples suggestions..?
Another area i would love to throw open to a little debate is that a fair few journals of late have been churning out the fact that roughly 1 in 10 people (according to rather small samples admittedly) remain passionately in love. Passion as in the infatuation stage that this site readily admits fades in most couples hence targeting the 'deeper' attachment sides of things. These results come from FMRI scans that perhaps can be interpreted a bit 'artistically' however its clear in my opinion that these people are having an entirely differing neurochemical response to the stimuli of their partner then most people.. They don't slip into the position of the state of 'deep attachment' being the dominate theme keeping that person enticed. Which bodes the question.. why?! No doubt these people engage in frequent sex (can't be sure but likely they have pro orgasm sex) and yet no dimming of passion. I really struggle to think of a evolutionary reasoning for this.. attachment is one thing, super attachment another. In a hostile mating environment the grief of losing your partner when your emotive response to them has been sustained at this level for so long would be intense. Making no sense at all. Considering are understanding that humans are normally wired to be a little bit promiscuous and a little bit monogamous is based largely on it making sense from the historical perspective of raising children for four years then off you go to a new partner.
Clearly these people engage in frequent bonding behaviour of touch etc. However i would deem this as being caused by the neurobiological state as it is rather than being induced via these bonding behaviours (not that i don't think they can aid keeping a relationship alive, I do! Im trying them out myself..) Peoples thoughts?
I think what people are trying to do here is a clever thing, the fact that it ties into ancient traditions is even more interesting and I would love to meet some more of the community. I must admit i would love to hear Marnia's perspective on some of the above! amongst other as well of course!
(if this is in the wrong thread for this kind of thing can a Mod move it) Thanks.