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Setting Good Expectations

Are you looking for love but finding disappointment? You may be asking for too much too soon. Five experts shed some light on what to expect from romance.
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Limerence and the Art of Love

There is perhaps nothing quite as exhilarating as the heady feeling of falling deeply, madly, passionately in love. While some call the magic "limerence" -- that almost mystical connection of body, mind and spirit -- others say it's simply the most powerful sexual chemistry they ever experienced.

Regardless of how you define it, experts say once we do experience the "high" it becomes etched in our brain. Because of that, many of us come to expect that intense feeling to remain throughout the relationship. But this, say experts, is a false expectation that frequently drives many a couple apart.

"Some people, particularly those who rush into marriage, have this idea that they are going to be madly in love with their partner 24/7. They firmly believe that not only is it going to always be this way, but that it should always be this way," says Lowe.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Why? Research shows that at least part of that initial "WOW" feeling we get with our partners may have more to do with fluctuations in brain chemistry than flutters of the heart.

The Biology of Love

"When a man and woman fall for each other, it is in our biological best interest to become a little bit obsessed with each other. There are changes that occur in our brain chemistry to make that happen," says psychologist Dennis Sugrue, PhD, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School and co-author of Sex Matters for Women.

Those changes, he says, not only help drive the mating process, they are also responsible for that "honeymoon high."

"It's also why sex can seem so incredible and occur so much more frequently at the start of a relationship than it ever will later on," says Sugrue.

The bad news is this surge of delicious brain chemistry doesn't last. Fortunately, however, while all this passion is stirring in our brain, a slightly different state of mind is brewing elsewhere in our psyche -- a purely psychological phenomenon that experts call "bonding."

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