Spring, it is the perfect time to fall in love. And no, it has nothing to do with the trees filled with flowers, the birds always singing or with the perfect lighting for romantic walks and walking hand in hand. It’s actually dopamine.
Simply put, this neurotransmitter responsible for the sense of reward makes us want things. Good things, since pleasant experiences stimulate their production. If there is enough dopamine in our body it is quite likely that we fall in love and develop a serious relationship, as it is also responsible for the feeling of attachment. Of course this can happen anytime and at any season but it seems to be more frequent at this time of year. Why? Because dopamine production is triggered by novelty, by new experience. And spring is full of them. Suddenly there are new colors and smells everywhere. We go out more and go to places we did not know or where we hadn’t been in a really long time. We pack winter clothes. And there is much more skin in sight. All of this leaves us filled with dopamine and filled with the desire to find love. Everyone but me, it seems.
Some time ago I was told that they didn’t imagined me too preoccupied and ‘worrying about love”. This made me think. Firstly, because falling in love and being in a strong, stable, happy and healthy relationship is something that I really want, but apparently that’s not what I let out. And secondly because the commentary was made by someone who’s complimenting me and I know why. We can even think about it and envy happy couples on the street, or *sigh* when watching romantic comedies counting the time that has passed and the time we still have according to the idiotic timelines we’ve established in our 20’s, but God forbid us to say so out loud! I do not know if it is the same for men and women, but from a feminine perspective, somewhere along the way it became almost forbidden to say “yes, I’d like to fall in love soon” as if this questioned the emancipated, capable and independent image that we both fought and strive to be fairly recognized. We immediately become fools who can’t live without a man, too needy and who only think about marrying and having babies, when the question is not being able or not being able to live without a man or woman, of course we are. The point is to want to share our lives with someone.
All right, I want to share my life with someone. But with whom? It is true that it can be very difficult to meet someone nowadays and not even dopamine can help us. The reasons are too many and easy to decipher. From a certain moment onwards, life stabilizes. We meet fewer new people, we often go to the same places, friends get married or start living together, and there are fewer and fewer “available” people around us. But is that all? I think not.
Let’s talk about the spread of the species, political or family alliances, convenience, conventions or romantic love. People have always gotten married, gotten together, there is nothing new here. Novelty is the alternative. When there was no other way, when we grew up and then got married because that was ‘what we did’, ‘what was expected of us’, we did not have to want it. Now we have options and that’s good but saying so and assuming it implies some vulnerability and I think that is where our greatest difficulty lays.
We have evolved so much towards the right to choose other forms or formats of life other than the conventional ones, but that does not mean that there is something wrong with wanting the same our grandmothers wanted. If there is a lesson to be drawn from the simultaneously wonderful and frightening times we live in, is that we are all the same and we are all different. We want everyone to be happy but happiness is not universal; it does not mean the same to everyone. For me it means some things, to others it means something else entirely. I can relate to some of it, some of it doesn’t make any sense to me but none should be criticized, none is a crime. A crime is not to go back, not to live in harmony and not to let ourselves be invaded by dopamine, if necessary.
This post was originally written in Portuguese. Click here to read the Portuguese version.