Monday, February 29, 2016

Imaginary or Real Life Relationships? That is the Quiestion.

  Why is it so hard to build a relationship in real life? What happens when we meet someone and feel the attraction? Does it go both ways and if it does, how long does it last? What is the attraction of Apps like Tinder? And what does Twitter and texting has to do with our rewards system in the brain? To start to answer these questions here is a picture I found from Scammer Mimes Facebook page that got me thinking. It states:

    “You were much more interesting when you were online.” Does that sound about right?

   I recently met a man through an online dating site. He was perfect. His picture was perfect. His profile was perfect and in our messaging and texting, he insinuated that he was truly interested in the same things that I am. He was also very supportive to my writing career. I had written about scamming and he thought that it was appropriate. He said that he did not want losers, he wanted for us to support each other in whatever we wanted to achieve in life. It all sounded wonderful and I allowed myself to think and imagine what we could do together. And that in its turn was a great turn on for me. It was as if I had actually met him and as if we had already built our relationship. My dopamine hormone got me high just thinking about it. I am good at that. We messaged for a good two weeks and then decided to meet in person. We would meet at a popular café, about half way from each other. And that we did.

   When we met, it was like instant connection. It was as if my expectations were thoroughly met by this man walking down the street to meet me. He was handsome, and he walked in a manner a confident man walks. The moment he said hi and smiled produced a high in my brain. Wow, this was going somewhere and fast. Instant attraction, instant connection and I knew it was mutual. And we had not met through Tinder, so I thought that it was not about sex, at least not entirely. So, we talked and walked and cuddled and after I left, I crashed. I got stressed, depressed and anxious and felt like running away and very quickly at that. So what happened?

   My brain suddenly reacted by increased production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which caused a mental fog. I got thoroughly confused about what I should do. My decision-making capabilities were at cero. So, I went home and soothed my brain by checking on Facebook and then on Twitter. I checked all my emails and deleted most of them, so that I would feel like I had done something worth mentioning. And then I saw that someone had posted an article about what happens in your brain when you multitask. And it all clicked into place. Once again, I had used my literary, imaginary capabilities to make my dream date perfect and could not see the forest from the fog afterwards.

This article explains it:
                    “[By] asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes the prefrontal cortex and striatum to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task. And the kind of rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time. We’ve literally depleted the nutrients in our brain.”
   But what happened, I ask. Why did I react the way I did in the first place?
Well, I wrote that pink book called Love on the Line. How to Recover from Romance Scams Gracefully and without Victimisation. And my rational mind recognised the signs although my emotional brain went on producing the high and enjoying the ride as well. So, I sort of baked the cake and ate it as well.

  It is good to know that I have learned something from my own mistakes and experience. However, that has not yet resulted in my brain building all new neural pathways that would immediately prevent me from making bad decisions. I still do make them and afterwards I regret. The man I met wanted just sex, after all and when he got only reluctant kisses and cuddles during our walk, he turned nasty. He insulted me and my mother, my daughter and couple of other well-chosen words came out of the same mouth that had previously told me how beautiful I looked and how attractive he found me. Luckily, the situation ended there and he did not follow when I turned around and walked to my car and left. So, what should I do?

   Should I stop looking for love and believing in the good in everyone or maybe just keep reading romance books, like I have always done? It is a hard question and in this new instant digital world we live in, a valid question as well. Building real relationships in the instant gratification real life is hard. Particularly, when the other party only wants what he thinks he is entitled to get after pretending to be nice online. That is why he is more interesting there. And I might leave him there, at least just for now, while I gather my positivity after the crash and find the things that I should be grateful about, like that I once again survived, not an online dating scam but a real life personal treat.

   I recon we should think about that for a while and just stay on course to see what could be done to somewhat heal this broken world and the broken dreams it carries and offers to those who like to always think the best of everything.

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