How New Edition Can Help You Define Your Relationship
by Erika Townsend
If it isn’t love, why do I feel this way? Why does she stay on my mind?
In 1988, Ralph Tresvant of New Edition posed this question; one that many of us still ponder today. As Ronnie, Johnnie, Ricky, and Mike wowed the ladies with their latest dance moves, many parents blamed their teenaged daughter’s obsession with the Boston boy-band on hormones. And hormones may be the answer to the question in the hit song that propelled the group to legendary status.
In her book Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (Henry Holt & Co., 2004), Helen Fisher dives deeply into the science of love, and separates it into three categories based on our hormones. First, she attributes lust or sexual attraction to testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are essential to the reproduction process and most of us are very familiar with their effects.
She then associates romantic love with serotonin, a hormone that is used in many anti-depression treatments today. Finally, she associates long-term attachment with norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones mimic the feelings that someone might experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
To keep one from the extremes of that disorder, our bodies also produce oxytocin, a hormone that fosters a nurturing mindset and is excreted by women in preparation of childbirth.
In another scientific study conducted by a Texas university, researchers found that Cupid may have equipped us with another arrow called “Major Histocompatibility Complex,” or MHC. MHC is a specific set of genes that help us select mates that have a very different set of MHC than our own. Yes, Mr. or Mrs. Right will be our opposite, at least genetically speaking. We access MHCs through our sense of smell, and pheromones, naturally occurring substances the body excretes, triggering responses from the opposite sex.
Who knew that science had so much to do with falling in love? The hard part for Ralph wasn’t falling, however, but actually defining his relationship. Thankfully, sociologist Thomas Lasswell and Terry Hatkoff developed a love scale to offer assistance to those who share Ralph’s dilemma.
Romantic Love topped the scale, and was described as constant thoughts of your mate, a repeated need for reassurance and reciprocated love in return.
Companion Love comprises companionship, trust, and intimacy, and tends to develop slowly.
Unselfish Love is displayed through devotion and self-sacrificing.
Logical Love is a chosen path based on a set criteria predetermined by you and your mate.
Finally, Game-Playing Love encompasses those who are in it just for the love of the chase or being chased.
If you and your partner can find where you fit on the scale, maybe you can avert the quandary Ralph found himself in: Losing love, worrying about my image…
Love has many factors that we cannot control, but identifying and defining your relationship can prevent heartbreak!