Friday, February 5, 2010

Biology, Evolution, Love

My last post, The Psychology of Love, netted this thoughtful and informative response from Beth. I’ve inserted my replies:

Beth: I honestly feel we are biologically wired to procreate and that this explains why the intensity of love fades after some time. “In love” feelings are based upon a chemical explosion put in place by nature in order to perpetuate the species… Once we are with someone and have a child with them, these intense feelings die down since they wouldn’t be advantageous in helping raise a child.

Leigh: And those intense feelings often begin to wane after about seven years. The “seven-year itch” is grounded in biological reality. The supporting theory says that because children are less dependent after early childhood, it’s OK (from a biological survival perspective) for their parents to wander off and seek new partners after about seven years.

Beth: The longing may very well have an evolutionary tie as well. We’re wired to want to be with that special someone and for it to be so painful that we will make every effort to meet up with this person and make babies. Isn’t it romantic, lol?

Leigh: We are social animals who can only survive thanks to our interconnectedness with others. And our children need nurturing for a very long time before they are grown. For these reasons, Nature makes it very painful for us to be alone or to leave people we love.

Beth: I guess maybe this doesn’t relate much with what you posted about the psychological reasons behind this, though. I’d have to think more on that.

Leigh: I am so glad for this last part of your reply, Beth, because it highlights the dilemma:

Why, despite all of our innate biological needs and desires to have reliable partners and stable, secure relationships, do so many of us seem to choose one painful, drama-ridden, futureless situation after another?

Photo taken at Lis Sur Mer

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