“Because they are independent, these three systems can work simultaneously—with dangerous results. As Dr Fisher explains, ‘you can feel deep attachment for a long-term spouse, while you feel romantic love for someone else, while you feel the sex drive in situations unrelated to either partner.’ This independence means it is possible to love more than one person at a time, a situation that leads to jealousy, adultery and divorce—though also to the possibilities of promiscuity and polygamy, with the likelihood of extra children, and thus a bigger stake in the genetic future, that those behaviours bring. As Dr Fisher observes, ‘We were not built to be happy but to reproduce.'”
Fascinating work is going on studying the nature of love. These three states: lust, romantic love, and long-term bonding have been understood by social psychologists for quite some time. The neurophysiology behind it is increasingly fascinating. As always, I’m a bit hesitant with the “neurotransmitter of the week” explanation, but it’s nice to see some harder evidence backing up observation.
To be a bit preachy, many people would have a much simpler (though not necessarily easier) time with relationships if they even knew these different states existed. Just because someone wants to get in your pants does not mean they’ll be there forever. Conversely, just because your partner wants to get in someone else’s pants, doesn’t mean they love you any less. Food for thought.