Remember that time you were laying in bed, curled into a little ball, tears streaming down your cheeks as you told yourself over and over that you would never speak to him again? Now remember how many times you’ve told yourself that. Once? Twice? Five times? Ten? You may have lost track. But that doesn’t seem quite like you, does it? No. You’re a strong, independent, young woman who doesn’t need the attention or affection of anyone else to make yourself happy. That sounds like you, right? You heart says yes, but your brain says no.
Dopamine. Dopamine is both the best and the worst chemical your body has to offer you. When we find ourselves in an interpersonal experience that results in someone showing us affection, be it verbally, physically, or in a less noticeable way, our brain experiences a surge in dopamine. Dopamine signals the areas in our brain that are associated with pleasure and reward. This means that when we receive affection, we are being chemically rewarded inside our brain (much like that post-run chocolate we all secretly enjoy).
So why can this be one of the worst things for us? Like anything else that makes us feel good (drugs, alcohol, chocolate, running, etc.), affection can be addictive. As humans, we have the capacity to become addicted to the chemical release of dopamine in our own brain. Meaning that, when we are consistently shown affection, we become dependent on this surge of dopamine at regular intervals to make us feel happy, worthy, loved, attractive, you name it. This also means that when that affection is taken away, our brain recognizes the absence of a dopamine stimulant. So, we continue to seek the affection that will cause our brain to produce dopamine and allow us to feel pleasure or reward.
Is it starting to make sense now? Your brain has become dependent on him calling you back and telling you he’s sorry, and that you’re beautiful. Your brain has become dependent on him touching your cheek and kissing your neck. And when he takes this away from you, your brain will override what your broken but strong heart is telling you. Your brain will do anything for the affection that fuels it’s addiction.
But, like they’ve said before: the first step to fighting addiction is recognizing it in the first place. So, here you are. Just your heart against your brain. Don’t pick up your phone, don’t let him come over. Let your heart win.