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Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology (retired)
City of Cleveland, Ohio
henri@henriwtartt.com

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*The Chemistry of Human Love and Separation*


Greetings, it is good to be with you again. Let me start this discussion by reminding everyone that I am not an MD or Psychologist, I am a Chemist. And as I’ve often said, I believe “Chemistry is Life.” (Including our subject, as we shall soon see) Question: “Are you everything you thought you’d be by now?” If you can answer, “Yes” to this question you are indeed far and away ahead of the majority. Most of us are still nursing a few “wounds and regrets” from decisions that we may never completely recover from. But is there a chronological age at which time, intellect and wisdom finally join hands? And if so, when is it? Does this ability apply to all of us? Why are most of us (no matter the age) so often still wrong about important matters? The wise used to tell us that we as human beings only use about 10% of our brainpower. Well, the wise were unwise about that one too. Depending on the complexity of its assignment, the fully functioning brain may use all of itself when arriving at what we believe to be the correct solution for whatever the presentation. Unfortunately, the answers we diligently arrive at often still prove to be wrong. As it turns out, we only fully understand about 10% of our total brain function. So what now?

Many of us went to fine colleges and universities. This becomes obvious with only short encounters with each other. But we all had classmates that did not seem to get as much benefit from these resources as some. Why? Aren’t we all supposed to be created equal? In the eyes of God (it is said) we are all equal. But In the eyes of man and even the educational systems there is no such guarantee. And so this ultimately leads us to ask: “At what age does wisdom finally arrive?” Does it ever? Why do so many wives, husbands and significant other’s consider their partners (in many ways) to still be immature? What makes a “grown” person … well, grown? And if we truly still need mental developmental growth at 40, or even 60, how then can we really expect a child of 17 to function? Well, they say “nobody’s perfect!” In my view, truer words were never spoken. People are far less than perfect. Even civility and basic daily respect in our society is a bit intermittent at best. But is the simple application of human kindness and compassion somehow tied to intellect? If so, disrespect may be a sign of ignorance. There is an on-going controversy concerning “Wisdom vs. Intellect” and whether they are one and the same. Our discussion today is how little or much we understand the chemistry of how we function and make decisions about love and (at times) our decision to separate or stay. Was it a wise decision?

It is often said that intelligence is the timely ability to both capture and apply knowledge. (Unfortunately intellect cannot be taught) Wisdom is said to be the capacity to use one’s amassed knowledge effectively in discerning the right direction in which to apply that collective knowledge. Can you have one without the other? No, they are related, everyone has varying amounts of both. (However miniscule) Of course, without a reasonably equipped and functioning brain, all bets are off. The basic problem (as I see it) is, most think they have a normal (even brilliant) competent brain. But obviously, at times (depending on the circumstances) they don’t. Brain chemistry is an ever-evolving science. At times chemicals may influence many of our decisions. The hormones used by the brain are secretions that are dispersed and form many complex amalgamations. The inclusion of all of the nomenclature here would only serve to bore or confuse. And so for clarity I will bring to bear only those chemical groups directly germane to our subject and necessary to the discussion. This article is not exclusive, and incorporates all variations (races) and ethnicities worldwide. After viewing the three stages of the average beginning relationships (below), we will discuss how these chemical groups may affect human emotion, judgment, and at times, behavior. The brain and mind are separate entities. (More on that later) For the record, the personal inclusions, insights, and perspectives given are those of a chemist. Let’s begin.

*Stage One: The Attraction*

These people are single. I am not speaking of adulterous behavior here. This is the most “fickle” and dangerous part of the love process. Be very careful. At this point, both the male and female often make unconscionable actions and foolish mistakes. During productive years the body always seems to have an adequate supply of the hormones Testosterone, Estrogen, and Phenylethylamine (PEA) handy. This readership knows the functions of testosterone and estrogen but “PEA” is a very expensive amine with a "Mercedes Benzene Ring and Beautiful Ferrous Wheels.” (“Chemist joke, pardon me”) I should have said PEA is a hormone with a “benzene ring and an aminoethyl group.” PEA is a powerful psychoactive stimulant with dopamine transporters.

Please remember the average healthy person carries with them all the necessary equipment and fuel needed for an “unexpected sexual encounter 24/7/365.” This adds to the daily (however imaginary) quest for a possible “ opportunistic adventure.” Thoughts of love and responsibility may not enter the mind at this point. However, women usually require some form of commitment, no matter how miniscule. Of course there are exceptions to this. But generally hundreds of years of disappointing experiences with men and their history of speaking with “forked tongue” cannot be easily erased with promises. But historically, the hormones mentioned above have proven to be very persuasive. And often, when receptive individuals find themselves together and alone, well at times, it’s “on!

*Stage Two: First Signs of Love*

During this stage, the brain introduces the manipulative neurotransmitters Adrenaline, Dopamine, and Serotonin into the emotional pathways. Adrenaline: Produces that exciting “butterflies in the stomach” type of effect when you unexpectedly see or “run into” that special new person and one is absolutely thrilled. Dopamine: Is that powerful neurotransmitter that produces a rush of “worldly goodness and pleasure” that comes with warm feelings of well-being, and “wonder” while courting and encountering this “new love.” Even an apparent flaw or warnings about the new person suddenly appear to be rather inconsequential and are usually ignored. Serotonin: This chemical helps to facilitate and allow this individual to “permeate” the thought patterns. There are times one can think of little else. Future life with this person is seen as promising, different, and exciting.

*Stage Three: Devotion*

The chemicals: Oxytocin, Norepinephrine, and Vasopressin round out this basic but very potent “Love Potion.” In my view, these three may be slightly more personality dependent when amalgamated. The more famous Oxytocin is believed to be responsible for the ‘bonding, monogamous, and often possessive feelings that take place after courtship and sexual encounters. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is thought to be responsible for those ‘flighty’ irresponsible feelings associated with “being in love.” Lastly, Vasopressin catalytically contributes to the uptake of dopamine in maintaining the bonding and monogamous tendencies that are designed to hold the relationship together. In time, either cohabitation or marriage may follow this third stage.

These are some of the major chemicals, (being parsimonious) all-working in tandem using the physiological pathways formed as early as four months from conception. The three developmental stages mentioned here represent those most important to intimate human relationships. Unrestricted, these processes are universal to all peoples. With all of this contemporary and primordial assistance, this union should last forever, right? Not so fast, there are other forces lurking in the background, and some mechanisms enable opposite or compromised reactions to form. But please remember, the chemistry involved in these stages is the basis for our discussion. Due to space and time limitations, (and boredom) complete incorporations, reactions, and bio-processes are not necessarily mentioned.

*Human Nature* (The spoiler)

The human genetic reproductive program (designed in the womb) has instructed us to reproduce as many copies of ourselves as physically possible. To insure this, because of the female physiology, the male has been given approximately four times the immediate, ‘visually driven’ sex drive than that of the average female. (The desire to give, not to receive) In some cases this may be hard to believe, but on average it’s true. The male and female have no choice in this ratio, (Evolution) and contrary to some belief systems this brain function has no religious or political preference. It is simply a “species survival” genetic program given to all living creatures in one form or another. To our species more women are born than men for obvious reasons. Historically, (and today) due to physiology, one man may impregnate more than one woman during a nine-month gestation period. An inadequate supply of women could lead to increased sexual abuse, birthing frequency malfunctions, war, disease, and premature extinction. Modern law and civility was not always present in our evolutionary past. As no species is designed to fail, our male to female birth numbers reflects this necessity.

*A Clouded Problem*

What we gather from the simplified analyses here is of significant importance. There is no time period, or age limit at which these chemicals cease to work in the ways described. This means that if the tendencies these chemicals may contribute to one’s persona are ignored or misunderstood, they can unknowingly, assist in the making of wrong decisions in life by aiding and abetting all manner of infidelity, adultery, and separation. Some people may become “addicted” to the “ stimulation and feelings” that are chemically induced with “new encounters” and the emotional rush of “The Hunt.” Men, with their quick, visually stimulated nature are particularly susceptible to this condition. Unfortunately, these reactions are tied to the very “Life Force” of reproduction itself and is constantly *marketed* and turned into “love songs, books, movies, and all manner of items that indiscriminately make “Love” a multi-billion dollar industry. The constantly “beating drum” of this profitable phenomenon has led many to a preoccupation with sexuality.

In my view, there are times in the lives of some that one may sincerely need to “start over.” At such times we are grateful for those feelings of a reawakening of the “new love and wonder stage.” Perhaps these feelings start to occur in times after the sad or premature loss of a dearly loved one. But such a natural progression is not always the case. Many of us have wives, husbands, and significant others waiting for us at home. Some partners who may be “out on the town,” are overly “friendly, and loquacious.” Others are even benignly promiscuous. Unfortunately, at first these chemical brews cannot ascertain “fact from fiction.” Under subconscious orders from the brain, they will turn on their “love potion valves” and then the “flirting” may begin. Can a person that doesn’t know the other misinterpret their intentions? Of course they can and they may (because of their genetic program) attempt to “get something going.” As we have seen all too often, this can be bad news.

I’m trying to be kind here. But now these two (newly introduced) individuals if already involved in prior relationships keep playing this “I’m single, (or pseudo) I’m getting a divorce game” long enough, these chemical groups may help to convince them that they are right. Here’s how it starts: Below are a few examples of the many ways that may forecast an affair:

  1. They are probably in stage three of their relationship. Most are living in a beautiful home or apartment with many *things* but there is no longer the aggressive, intense, wild passion that once existed. They appear (at least to one of them) to be ‘growing” apart.
  2. They really wonder at times if they “still have what it takes.” This new individual answers that universal question. (In the affirmative) And this new interest seems “more exciting.”
  3. Human nature always finds some personal defect(s) in a longstanding partner, and these defects are finally “more than they can handle.” (And dissatisfaction or boredom has set in)
  4. And here comes “you know who” with “you know what.” (At exactly the wrong time)
  5. These “Love Chemicals”*temporarily* help to influence the brain into thinking this new relationship is more “bonding, wonderful, warm, promising, arousing, and climactic” than it actually may turn out to be. In my view, this chemical assistance ability (that we all have) may be designed not only as a “mating partner catalyst”, but also a defense mechanism against depression that may be accelerated by loneliness. Some people that have experienced multiple affairs may have developed mindsets that have become addicted to these “New Love Feelings.” But we are discussing the chemistry of specific brain functions; these are physical aspects. The mind is different, it is a metaphysical construct and as such this person may need to speak with a mental health professional.

*Thoughts of Separation? *

Remember, these hormones can ‘start moving’ with just a ‘wicked smile’ or the ‘wink of an eye.’ And they make one immediately “feel good” but once started, they cannot be turned off without removing one’s self from the situation. The average spouse or significant other sitting at home cannot compete with an opportunistic “Jezebel or Casanova” in an alcohol laden club along with all of the trouble making chemical assistance now “on the march” inside their bodies. And often, after a considerable passage of time, the residual effects of the “attachment” experienced at home is no longer strong enough to resist these fresh advances. This is especially true for those who may be predisposed (as mentioned above) to this type of behavior. But even if one changes partners frequently, no matter what they have or how good they look, we will still “get used” to them. And then the “fault finding” starts, the attraction becomes less attractive and many start entertaining thoughts of breaking up simply because “the bloom is off the rose.” (Again)

*What Can be Done? *

  1. Please understand, this situation has nothing to do with one’s intellect or wisdom. This is not Electrophysiology or Quantum Physics. What we are dealing with here is pure animal chemistry. One can be “intellectually brilliant” and still “lose out” to the gardener or the maid. So what can be done? “Turn on your best charismatic charm.” (Whatever that is) Take him or her out for dinner, to a dance, “romance and remind” them of your love, memorable accomplishments, and romantic history together. Try “Rolling back the months and years” to happier times. And “show that you really do care!”
  2. Under no circumstances agree to his or her going for “a night out on the town with the boys or girls.” If a couple is having love problems, “out” is more than likely the place where the problem is lurking, and waiting. If they must go out, offer to accompany them. “Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, absence makes it more forgetful.” Get it into your head that you must protect what is yours! Or at least try. We are dealing with basic animal nature here. While maintaining decorum is important, this is not the kind of problem that can be solved with logic and theoretical rhetoric alone. You must make your true feelings known. But at all cost, be respectful, and always keep that attractive “Educated Cool.”
  3. If after you’ve given it all that you have, and it still isn’t working, be prepared to turn this individual loose. But before you say “sayonara” take a look at *Tartt’s Law of Promiscuity* (below) discuss it with them. The individual may have a similar background.

*Tartt’s Law of Promiscuity*(Free or casual encounters)

"There is no practice or dictate to society more contrary to human nature than to ignore the sexual development and function of the individual. The moral laws of monogamy and chastity are not natural and cannot exist without proper, timely authoritative instruction. Without such instruction, understanding, and compliance, promiscuity will continue as the primary method used to initiate sexual activity, and biological reproduction.” – Henri W. Tartt, Chemist

Have you ever been wounded by the loss of someone you loved so dearly that you just can’t seem to function without them? Our capacity to love someone is endless. And the more we try and “get over” a lost love, the more it tends to hurt. But occasionally, there is still a chance. Perhaps you are choosing to leave your current relationship or are having an extramarital affair. Whatever the case, please read the following brief article titled *Life* http://tinyurl.com/n59kjy9 (It’s only about one minute long) Take it to heart. Now ask yourself: “Do I already have what I’m looking for?” The reason I’m asking you to question yourself is that most people just don’t actually internalize the dangers that *TIME* presents to us all. Below is an excerpt about *Time* taken from my article titled *Boo!?* This article is available in its entirety in “Articles” at *Tartt’s Scientific Approach* www.henriwtartt.com please read on.

*Time*

Time (eventually) destroys all of our hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. It tears apart our beauty appearance, kills all of our loved ones and leaves empty cars in the driveway, and empty chairs at the dinner table "The Cattle on a Thousand Hills" are suddenly master-less, it disintegrates our education and turns us into meaningless dust! As I said before, it cannot be seen, measured, tasted, or touched. Just when you know more than you ever have, just when you own more than you have ever owned, at your "zenith" it cuts you down like a dog. Once you were beautiful or handsome.... and now... It is merciless and always with you until the end. For sure this is "The Demon of Demons". But you say, "How can this be?" You have already shown that *life* itself may be the Devil! Well...not entirely, look here...One minute= 60 sec. One hour= 60 Minutes, One day=24 Hours, 2+4= 6.This is your""Real 666!"...*Time* is the Devil! And it's evil as hell! - Henri W. Tartt, Chemist – (Taken from the article “Boo!?)

Dear reader, it’s quite one thing to go about life not understanding ones limitations. It’s completely natural to live as though “things will never change” and we still have the time left to “right most of our wrongs.” But the truth is “we don’t!” In this kind of situation where bodily functions can easily betray you, in many cases we continue to live as if time doesn’t exist. While “feelings” of life and love in illicit relationships may be “real” it’s important to realize they probably will not last any longer than the ones in the last relationship. And once again, you’re “right back where you started” only older and with even less time left to “get it right.”

You say the concept of time isn’t that important to you now? Well, you are either very young, or ill-advised. Studies have shown that to the average person the passage of time seems to increase by the square root of one’s age. In other words if you’re ten years old the passage of time is equal to 1-1, if you’re 20 that increases to 1-1.4 So by the time your turn 60 that increases to 1–2.44 or you seem to age almost 2.5 times faster at 60 than you did at age ten! Are you still thinking of starting over? Make sure you have adequate time for this attempt. It has been estimated that it takes approximately 10 years to properly cultivate and develop a lasting relationship. How many decades can YOU afford to throw away?

The human brain is the most complex organ in the known universe. The chemicals it releases into our systems have designated functions. Unfortunately, where manipulation is possible, man has always found ways to misuse these bodily processes. Subsequently, because of this abuse, more and more couples can’t seem to stay together anymore, and the gift of the “second or third chance” is too often a lost virtue. In my view, we should stop assigning ourselves to levels so far above our present reality. Are your expectations realistic? Be honest, are you still that “box of chocolates” you used to be?

“Who among us is perfect?” What we have studied here today is a concept that we have identified as a universal function that heretofore was often confused with “evil and immorality.” That may still be the case in some backyards, but there are those that are unknowing continual victims of their own physiology. And since these chemical reactions will work time after time, giving the recipient “wonderful feelings of euphoria, love and romance (over and over again) the best that one can do is to remove themselves from the presence of the temptation. Successful husbands, wives and significant others have done this for eons without identifying the chemistry of the problem, but they certainly had seen the results. Employing certain limitations is of paramount importance.

Shame is probably one of the worst feelings imaginable to the human soul. If this difficulty has happened to you, can you find the graciousness in your heart to forgive? Remember, one scripture says “The forgiveness you give will be the forgiveness you receive” cf. Mark 11:25-26. This may help to alleviate the pain of past transgressions. You may also want to visit your Temple, Synagogue, Church or Mosque for further direction and comfort. (But the basis for this article is science, not religion)

*A Misunderstood Physiology*

I believe chemically driven emotional systems are at the root of polygamous behavior. Failure to understand our physiology has resulted in countless broken relationships. We cannot disengage our genetically inherited reproductive programs. They are always present. They are not designed to make us happy. They are designed to make us reproduce. With the obvious erogenous rewards participation may be easily provoked. And as such, this activity must always be consciously controlled. ” - Henri W. Tartt, Chemist

*Conclusion*

Here is a brief story that I once heard a Preacher tell. He said: “There was an ex-convict riding beside me on a train. He saw my Collar and asked if I was a Preacher? Yes, I said. And so he started telling me his life’s story including one about his wife who had said because of prison and his wayward behavior she didn’t want anything more to do with him. Well, he promised to never be the kind of person that had landed him in jail ever again. He was so convincing that his estranged wife told him she’d think about taking him back. She said to look at the bush in front of the house when the train passed by. If there was a white ribbon tied on the front of the evergreen bush, he could get off of the train and return home. But if there was no ribbon then stay on the train, wave goodbye, and *keep going. *

As the train approached the house he closed his eyes, the man said he couldn’t bear to look, so he asked the Preacher to look for him. As the train passed the house he quickly shouted for him to “Look!” And on that bush was tied the largest white bow the wife could find. Needless to say, the man left the train tearful, joyful, and totally dedicated to his wife and family once again.

Lesson: *This lost love was found, the love thought to be dead was alive. *

Please listen; the human brain works in intriguing ways. It feels imaginary pain equally as well as real pain. We must go to great lengths to protect those we love from many easily preventable crises. If your loved one thinks you did something untoward, then you may as well have done it! Don’t put yourself into an atmosphere that is conducive to causing the wrong kinds of trouble. Wounded relationships can be very difficult to fully repair. The wise can often bypass this hazard, but the intelligentstep in it” all the time. The fact remains that monogamy is not a natural trait in any primate group. (Including ours) Polygamous activity is. This only serves to further complicate but validate this as a very difficult control issue. But while polygamous behavior may be natural in the “wild kingdom” it is not acceptable in a civilized instinct suppressed society. But interestingly, no law or religion has ever been able to eliminate it.

We go about our daily lives doing our necessary jobs and tasks, but always with an “eye out” in our relentless “pursuit of happiness.” We all do this. But the truth is we don’t know what we have until we either lose it, or are about to lose it. In this traumatic arena of loss, few of us are sufficiently wise or intelligent. And so we futilely try to satisfy ourselves with new “things.” Clothes, cars, people, and just about anything else that we think will make us happy. But the human brain doesn’t work that way. There are trillions of connections and millions of functions in our brains. Many we still don’t fully understand. An imbalance of the neurotransmitters we have discussed like Dopamine and Serotonin for example, can also lead to Depression, Anxiety, Hyperactivity and even Schizophrenia. It is also known that separation and loneliness may also be associated. Life is unpredictable. Any of us can stumble. We will all need help. Yet most are still looking to advance their careers and lives from where they are now to further levels of genuine accomplishment.

Chemistry and Physics show that in essence, we are a unique set of complex systems that emerge from layers of other systems operating beneath them. And while it may not be popular to chronicle the extent to which this occurs (as I have done over the years) we should not have to experience hell to know it’s hot! “Things” can make us happy but for a ‘TIME.’ In some cases they can make situations worse. Conversely, brain research has shown that if one strives to show their *sincerest gratitude, compassion, and service* for the genuine love and companionship they’ve been given, they will make themselves (and Life Partner) far happier than an independent journey in a selfish pursuit of happiness.

And while some are out “pursuing happiness” (and new partners) the “Grim Reaper” is pursuing their busy behinds. And longevity studies from fine universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Louisville show he’ll catch them a lot sooner single, than married. (8-17 years sooner for men and 7-15 years sooner for women) For diversity, the Princeton study included data from Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, Scotland, Wales, Finland, France, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Taiwan, West Germany, and The United States. (Hu & Goldman) Interestingly, in matters of life expectancy, the chemistry of cohabitation does not decrease mortality rates commensurate to those of actual marriage.

Dear reader, in my opinion, if you’re having *nonviolent*relationship problems you might try and magnify those blessings you already have together. Please understand that for reconcilable differences (and there are few irreconcilable differences that are in fact, not reconcilable) no one has the continual ‘TIME’ allocated to keep finding and redeveloping new partnerships “over and over again.” If the man or woman in question is (or has been) “The love of Your Life” then he or she may represent your life’s greatest attainment. Perhaps you should realistically “try again?” The love chemistry may only be dormant. About half of all divorcees wish they hadn’t separated. But whatever you decide, both of you must remember, ‘TIME’ is not your friend, so you’d better make good use of it, because you’ll never get any of it back. Listen, ‘TIME’ teaches the hardest lesson on Earth, with the sternest of instructors. And learn it you will, because you have no choice. Intellect is born to us all, but for some it appears wisdom may not arrive in time. Life can be difficult; it should not be lived alone. But there is always hope. The greatest of all human gifts is not things, it is LOVE. Good luck, and Stay well

*Educators: Please feel free to share this article with your students, colleagues, and friends.

“No man (or woman) has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” - Abe Lincoln

All The Best,
Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist and
Chief of Microbiology (retired)
City of Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Email: henri@henriwtartt.com
Website: *Tartt's Scientific Approach*

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