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Don?t let Valentine?s Day scare you

india Updated: Feb 13, 2007 12:45 IST
Highlight Story

Contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day, for most, is not about the celebration of love. It is not about choosing the best necklace or buying expensive chocolate.

It is not about candle-lit dinners and romantic evenings. Like Sharon Fernandes, 27, PR executive says, “Valentine’s Day scares me!”

Bust the myth: According to clinical psychologist Dr Varkha Chulani, the most important thing to do on Valentine’s Day is bust the myth around it.

“The aura that surrounds Valentine’s Day spells trouble. We need to realise that chocolates and roses once a year do not work,” she says. What works, though, is working on a relationship throughout the year.

Communication is the key ingredient in any successful relations. It is important for couples to talk about both the big and small things in their lives, throughout the year.

Any given Sunday Valentine’s Day should be celebrated as the day that makes you remember the romance.                                                                   

  SCIENCE OF ROMANCE

That beautiful feeling of love is a cocktail of chemicals in our brain that start flowing when we think we're choosing a partner.

Love at first sight Psychologists have shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone.

Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the US has proposed 3 stages of love — lust, attraction, and attachment.

Each stage is driven by different hormones and chemicals.

Stage 1

Lust This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen — in both men and women.

Stage 2

Attraction This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck, Three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage: adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

Adrenaline The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin.

This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Dopamine When newly ‘love struck’ couples' brains were examined, high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine were found.

This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure.

Serotonin One of love’s most important chemicals that explains your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.

Stage 3

Attachment There are two hormones involved in the feeling of attachment: oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin Released by men and women during orgasm, oxytocin makes couples feel closer to one another after sex.

The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

Vasopressin Another hormone in the longterm commitment stage, this is also released after sex.

“Any relationship requires hard work,” says Chulani. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, right?

Small fights, before they snow ball into something big, can be resolved easily in an otherwise romantic environment.

Like fashion designer Parul Bhargava says: “Even after my last relationship was over, the romance was still there — in a harmless sort of way that eased out the pain”.

You and me should not get lost in a ‘we’ One of the biggest reasons behind unhappy relationships is the ‘coupling’ factor. Individuals, sometimes unknowingly, lose their singular identities as a couple.                                  

Couples mutually do better if they maintain their individualities.

Differences balance out the intimacy. “My wife and I lead hectic, and very different lives. We even have different social circles.

So, the only time we spend together is alone and we value it a lot,” says Mikhail Vaswani, 31, an executive producer.

Love is not a noble cause The best thing that you can do for love is to strip it off its super romantic cape. Love needs to be ‘shorn’ off and seen in more realistic terms.

Your relationship needs to satisfy some needs.            

You should not fall in love with a person because he brings out the best in you.

The biggest mistake you can make is to think that love is a noble cause you have to undertake.

You need to be selfish.

If it does not make you happy, then it is not love at all.

Sex matters It sounds clichéd. But physical intimacy plays a big role in the relationship, even enhancing emotional intimacy. And it can be  scary. Tushar Bhandari, 23, actor and model, says: “My longest relationship has lasted four weeks … what have I learnt about love? Hormones are scary things!”

But this anxiety wears off with age, and experience.

Sexual anxiety is an external manifestation of other insecurities that people face, as individuals and as a couple.

Being in a relationship is not all that bad.

Of course (there we go into clichés again), there are the good times and the bad times.

But they just serve to add variety Deepak Sharma, 50, runs . a consultancy service; when asked what he feels about relationships, he summed it all up: “I only regret the ones I haven’t had”.

(Some names have been changed)

E-mail author: insiya.amir@hindustantimes.com

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