Mismatched Brain Chemistry

One thing a lot of us don’t consider is the chemistry of our brain when we fall in love.  This is true of any person falling love, not just those with emotionally unavailable partners.  The chemistry changes in your brain leave you feeling closer to the person you are falling for, but they can also leave you feeling a bit addicted to love as well.

There are several chemicals in your brain that change when you start to fall in love.  These changes include increases and decreases in adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.  The increased adrenaline, known as epinephrine, causes a feeling of euphoria while the increase in dopamine makes you feel an intense craving for the person you are dating.  Additionally, there is a decrease in serotonin that creates a desire to be around the person you are dating.  There is also an emotional dependency created by an increase in a neurotrophin called nerve growth factor.  All these chemical changes work together to create a chemical concentration similar to someone experiencing obsessive-compulsive disorder (What Happens To Your Brain When You’re In Love  ) Your limbic system is activated in the way a cocaine addict’s is ( This Your Brain On Love ). In short, all these things working together make you want to be around and have experiences with the person you are dating.

Yet, we know this isn’t how emotionally unavailable people feel.  For them, they want love, but their fear of it keeps them from developing these chemical bonds.  According to Jayson Gaddis in an online webinar series, an emotionally unavailable man will experience the chemical bonds that create the feeling of stress.  You become a source of stress for the emotionally unavailable man according to Gaddis.  They will experience all the changes in their brain that produce anxiety, which interestingly enough, are using many of the same systems that are involved in the process of someone falling in love such as the cortisol and limbic systems in our brain ( The Neurobiology of Anxiety Disorders ).  I want to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has a diagnosable disorder, although I think it would be helpful for someone who is emotionally unavailable and wants to find someone to seek the counsel of their doctor and/or a psychologist.

Now let’s break down how these two things play on each other.  You are in love and wanting to be around the person you are falling for.  You want to get to know them and spend time with them.  The emotionally unavailable person sees you wanting to spend time with them as stress.  The more you attempt to insert yourself into their life, the more you cause them anxiety.  The way they attempt to stop this anxiety is to back you up and flirt a bit while dodging the emotional things.  This rewards you and starts you back into the unfixed ratio schedule we talked about in The Psychology Of Learning To Love Emotionally Unavailable People .  You never know when you are going to get rewarded, so you respond more by continuing to interact.  The responses put the stress back on the emotionally unavailable person until they can no longer handle it and shut down, thereby shutting you out.  Both of your brain chemistry’s are working against you in a way.

We’ll be ending this series next week.  I’ve still got some posts for you on how this toxic relationship may have actually set up something called trauma bonding for you and I want to also tell you how the person you dated may have become emotionally unavailable as well as how to recognize this so you can move on without the heartbreak you feel after falling for an emotionally unavailable person without getting hurt next time.

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