Three years later, it happened for me. I fell in love -- really in love.
I ran into someone with whom I'd worked with very briefly, years ago. He seemed very shy, kind of geeky, even a bit strange. I was so over dating, so, for once, I didn’t immediately start evaluating him for boyfriend potential. He was just a guy to chat with at a party.
But he offered to give me advice on a video project I was working on, so I took him up on it. The next thing I knew, we were dating.
Three weeks later, he used the L-word. I thought that was really nice. I didn't use it back. But neither did I have that eeeouw feeling that had been my usual response when someone liked me, seemed to easy. The truth was, I liked him a lot, and I liked being with him. It wasn't much longer before I knew I was indeed loving him back.
Our love grew slowly and just got better and better. Ten years later, I'm happier than I've ever been -- hell, it's the first time I've ever been really happy. I've found my life partner. My heart seems to be healed.
I'm different in my other relationships, too. I'm the person who initiates hugs. I reach out to comfort people. I'm kind to strangers, more caring to my friends. I can shrug off the things my parents do that used to wound me, and take pride in helping them. Damn, I like myself!
What happened? No psychology book seemed to adequately explain this profound change in my life. Loving Mike -- and being happy with him -- didn’t feel like the result of learning to express my feelings better or think differently. The change had taken place deep down, where new ways of feeling and being had come into being way below the conscious level.
Then, while writing a magazine article on brain research, I stumbled on the beginnings of an answer. My research led me to in a chemical in the body called oxytocin. This amazing hormone is responsible, quite simply, for making us feel loved and secure.
I realized that my relationship problems hadn't been in my mind -- they'd been in my brain.