Matters of the Heart – For men only

February 16, 2010

Dear Dr. Sharon,
I am going through divorce. As a man, I feel that I was taken advantage of by this woman who in retrospect seems to have sought me out for my money. She had no security prior to meeting me. I literally rescued her from a very bleak situation. Thank goodness we have no children between us. Even though I have made peace with giving over money to her as my price to pay for my impetuousness in our fast courtship and marriage, I can’t seem to open my heart to starting over again. And yet, I am the “marrying kind”. I love companionship and a fellow adventurer not to mention the physical intimacy. What do you think I need to do about my emotional libido being so low? Its better now, but not a day goes by that I don’t somehow kick myself for having been so blind in this relationship. John

Dear John,

I coach a lot of men in relationship areas. Men love facts and and here are a few that might help.

Its partially about body chemistry. You possibly have a high testosterone level and that can spell trouble in ways you may not understand. (Look down: If your ring finger is longer than your index finger, it indicates a high testosterone level.) In love, you are not exactly blind but your vision can be blurred. A recent British study showed that men who were sexually stimulated by pictures of pretty women (as opposed to the poor subjects who only had landscape pictures to view) were more likely to accept an unfair business offer. Their discernment was thrown off.

When you are in a new relationship and feel “in love” the part of your brain associated with social assessment is more dormant. Your response to your inner negative feelings is dulled. It can spell disaster for your ability to slow down and commit slowly over time. I also see that you are a typical male “rescuer” of the damsel in distress. That has its good qualities, however, remember that you need to be loved for who you are, not for how you help a woman.

A few other facts: Studies have also shown that serotonin levels decrease by up to 40 % in the newly ” in- love”, causing some to show signs of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) which is why you can’t get the other person out of your head. Your dopamine level, the neurotransmitter associated with addictive behavior increases very similarly to a gambler expecting to win the jackpot, only in this case to win your wife so you could feel a relief and stabilization of your chemistry. It follows that when your relationship ends, you experience symptoms similar to an addict’s withdrawal. Your dopamine levels go down, so you feel depressed.

In short, people have to be in charge of their body chemistry when they meet a new person and when they break up. I hope that I don’t sound too “clinical” about your situation. It is simply a matter of watching that romantic nature of yours and the rescuer role you often play. The good news is that from here on out, you will have sharpened your sixth sense and not let yourself override that “first hit, best hit” intuition of yours.

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