The Conflict that made our Chemistry and Common Sense reach an impasse.
By Chengetai Leo Nyamushonyongora Every adult has done it, we’ve all said it, that chemistry and understanding are of paramount importance and they are the common primary requirements in a relationship which is very true, to some extent. According to Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, the meeting of two people is like the meeting of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, they are both transformed. Background I met the only person I chemically connected with (we’ll call her Melody) in April 2015 just after my birthday. I met Melody during one of my most difficult periods in the 21 years I have lived in this world. I was literally hungry and I was battling the pressure of studying towards my GCE Advanced Level Examinations, the pressure was relentless for an 18-year-old. My best friend at the time (We’ll call her Patience) introduced me to Melody and gave me her number before we even met. We spoke on a couple of occasions but the conversations were not as interesting as you would imagine because neither of us knew how to initiate a conversation that would last for more than 10 minutes before blueticking each other. Most of my class mates brought girls over and they would introduce them to everyone and we would take turns to entertain the girls. It was my turn and I didn’t have anyone to bring over. The first person I could think of was Melody because she was one of the very few girls I was talking to at the time and she was attending some extra lessons at Hilbright College in Eastlea, just outside town. Fortunately, she didn’t turn down my offer, I honestly didn’t know why she came because she had every reason to turn it down. I actually panicked because I didn’t have anything to give her or any money to buy anything for her, I didn’t even have money to buy lunch for myself all I had was a small lunch box with a boiled egg sandwich and mazoe. My other best friend (We’ll call him Beef) did the math, he realised I was bringing a girl over and I didn’t have any money, we both didn’t money. The issue was not about the money but we had to be in a position to offer her something, the chances were high the she was going to turn down the offer but at least we had to offer her something. She came over, she had this other girl with her and it made it very difficult for me to talk to either of them. I remember failing to start an ordinary conversation on our way to the loft we were using for our holiday lessons. Fortunately, the distance to the loft was just a matter of stairs, we got there in a flash. I introduced her to the guys and everything was going on well until Beef offered Melody my lunch box. I was so embarrassed as he opened the box showing Melody the small sandwich I brought. The events
of that meeting are not as good in narration but the most important thing I learnt on that day was how I felt for her. Sometimes we find love the most complicated situations and it’s not in every instance that we choose to fall in love with someone. Before the meeting I never thought I would even think all the lines of dating her in the future. I just didn’t know what she did that made me like her that much but I said to my: Chenge, you’re going to ask Melody out. I felt something strong for her, I mean I had met dozens of girls and I had never felt that way before. Carrie L. Burns described this kind of feeling and connection as a chemical reaction. I was a bit confused as to what was happening because I had never felt that way before, being a young boy experiencing real chemistry for the first time. From that time, she was always on my mind and I was already thinking of ways I could ask her to go out with me. It’s been 3 years and a lot has happened in between and I never knew how to explain what happened until I read Carrie L. Burns’ blog post on how chemistry influenced most of her relationships. I began to ask myself: What is chemistry really? Do we have the power to initiate a chemical reaction with the people we like? Does this chemistry happen to both of us? Does it have a reverse reaction that we can use to stop the way we feel in the event that the second party does not feel it as much as we do? How can we control this chemistry? I became curious. What is Chemistry? If you did Ordinary Level chemistry I know this sounds familiar but I actually mean a different type of chemistry, the chemistry in human relationships. According to anthropologist Helen Fischer, chemistry is really a mixture of hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin). In her book Why We Love, she lays out a framework indicating that there are four distinct personality types, each made up of varying degrees of hormones and neurotransmitters:
The Explorer, defined by high dopamine activity, is adventurous, novelty-seeking, creative
The Builder, with high serotonin activity, is cautious, conventional, managerial
The Director, pumped up with testosterone, is aggressive, single-minded, analytical
The Negotiator, more estrogen-influenced, is empathetic, idealistic, a big-picture thinker
Myself being a legal person, I did not understand the scientific side of the test but I understood what it sought to archive and how it came up with my personality. I took the test, a 55 questions survey. The survey asked universal questions (to the four distinct personalities) which scored a percentage based on your responses to each of the distinct personalities. The personality with the highest percentage is your personality. According to Helen Fisher’s personality test, I am The Negotiator. Here is what Helen Fisher had to say about The Negotiator:
NEGOTIATORS are philosophers. These women (and men) express traits linked with the estrogen system in the brain. These people see the big picture. They are imaginative and intuitive. They have superb language and people skills. They are also emotionally expressive, as well as agreeable, trusting and compassionate. Negotiators seek someone with whom they can make an intensely intimate, deeply meaningful, inspiring and spiritual connection. But Negotiators, like Directors, prefer to go out with one person at a time and to explore the depths of this potential partnership. They dislike wasting time on irrelevant, trivial or boring socializing. When they find “The One,” Negotiators are superb at generating and maintaining intimacy with this partner. They avoid conflicts with a mate, and make major personal adjustments to strengthen this cherished bond. They give thoughtful gifts, such as a treasured book or photograph. They share their most personal feelings. And they want their partner to share his or her feelings too. The only way to figure out if this test worked on me is to ask myself whether the things than Helen said about The Negotiator are a true reflection than not of yourself. In my case, this is 87% true. I try to look at the bigger picture and express everything I do emotionally, she got this part spot on. Helen also went on to say Negotiators are usually attracted to their opposites ( Dictators) and I am going to find out if this can be said about myself and Melody. To take the personality test, copy the link below and find out about your personality type. https://theanatomyoflove.com/relationship-quizzes/helen-fishers-personality-test/personality-test-1 Carl Gustav Jung, Helen Fisher, Allan Watts and many other anthropologist and psychiatrist all agree that chemical reactions take place when people meet and usually relationships are based on these reactions. Chemistry can be very strong. Chemistry can override our common sense, and it can keep us (physically & psychologically) with someone who isn’t right for us or doesn’t feel the same way as we do. Chemistry can also be the most amazing thing on the planet. The highs you get are amazing. Unfortunately, the lows that can also come with it are very low. So, what do we do? 1 1 Why Strong Chemistry Doesn’t Always Lead to a Strong Relationship
Fast-forward to today My relationship with Melody has broken down in pieces now. I don’t know if it’s ever going to something again. According to Barton Goldsmith PhD, LFMT an award winning therapist and psychology writer people usually break up because of bad habits that are practised by either of the partner. He gave 10 habits that usually lead to break ups:
Bad behaviours (smoking, drinking, chewing tobacco, or spending your children’s college tuition
on Booze or fantasy football) Cheating Misdirected Anger Being unsupportive Toxic People Withholding affection & attention Lying Stealing Giving Not Communicating
If these common habits were not the reason of our break up, what was the reason of our break up? How does this chemistry apply when there is an unexplained gap between the initial connection and the present predicament?
Before we answer these question let’s take a look at what happened
between myself and Melody between the day we first met and today. The night of the day we met, I went back home and tried to start a conversation with Melody. Surprisingly she still sounded the same way she did before we met. I began to think I made a mistake when invited her to the loft we were studying in and offered her a boiled egg sandwich. I didn’t want to force things and yet I felt this strong feeling for her. Common sense was telling me: dude, the way this girl is responding is nowhere near possibilities of a relationship, you got to let this go! Chemistry on the other hand was telling me to tell her the way I feel for her, maybe she just doesn’t know I’m interested. Already there was a serious impasse. Days pasted, trying to register my interest to her and she did not seem to be interested. I finally got discouraged and I decided not bother her again. I talked to Patience my best friend, who also happened to be a close friend of Melody’s, she discouraged me and told me they were plenty fish in the sea. Wise people respect the word of their crush’s best friend. I behaved like a wise man, I tried to forget about her. Back in school I got enlisted into the Junior Achievement initiate. The belief was the young people enlisted in the Junior achievement program are the cream of the society and it also came with a lot of pressure to prove that you were indeed the cream of the society. Most of the guys enlisted, if not all, had girlfriends at Kriste Mambo or Bonda, I didn’t have a girlfriend at either of the schools or anywhere. I felt I had to find myself a By Carrie L. Burns
girlfriend and I found one at Kriste Mambo. Apparently it wasn’t that difficult if you were enlisted into the Junior Achievement initiative. I honestly don’t know for sure if I really felt something for this girl (we’ll call her Susan) or I fell in love with the idea of being someone’s boyfriend and having someone I called my girlfriend and fitting the “cream of the society” tag. We were in a relationship from around April 2016 to around October 2017 if my memory serves me well. One of the biggest thing I noticed from that relationship was: I never benefited anything from that relationship except the attention that came with the relationship. In the 2 years or so, I met Susan not more than 4 times, the first time at Kriste Mambo and a few times in town. Believe it or not, I never kissed her and the most intimate thing we did was holding hands in town. The relationship collapsed just like any other high school relationship: the children meet, fall in love and the relationships dissolve before their brains are fully developed, she apparently cheated on me with a friend and the relationship died. Four months after the break up with Susan, Melody came back into the picture. I had just got back from my first semester of my first year in university, I remember I had a new phone. I sent her a WhatsApp message, years after we lost communication, it was around 11 in the evening and we both didn’t have a lot of people awake to talk to. We talked for a long time before we retired to bed. For the next week or so that was the routine. We spoke during late hours and sometimes during the day. If I had my phone I was talking to her. The feelings that I always had for her were coming back until I maned up asked her out. Fortunately, she accepted. In the 21 years that I have seen the sun, this was the happiest period of my life. One day, we had just spoke on the phone up until 12 midnight I think, I went to bed and 2 hours later, she called, I didn’t get the call. The next morning, I was in trouble. I didn’t pick up her call. She said: I was thinking about you and I wanted to talk to you. This was the strongest emotional moment of my life. At that moment my intuition to told me she was going to break my heart. Unfortunately, my hormones, my soul, and my heart told me otherwise, and I continued a pattern of push and pull, love and disdain for over 3 weeks. I was giving her a my everything and investing too much trust in her without considering worst case scenarios. 2 weeks later I went to Harare, we met the first time. She was really nervous; I could tell with the way she was looking at me. The second time, bad news happened. All of a sudden she said she did not want to be in the relationship anymore. Without any explanations. I didn’t understand. One moment we are sweethearts the next moments everything is gone. I was heartbroken and angry. It wasn’t fair. You can’t just take someone’s heart, make it feel something before you get rid of it without a reason. After sometime I got over it and I moved on, after a while she came back we talked she disappeared again. Despite all these events. There was never a day I felt I didn’t love her. I was angry and I felt she betrayed the trust I had in her but I still loved her. There was always an underlying chemistry that kept me fighting for whatever it is that was left between the two of us. The basic rules of common sense would tell you to cut whatever connections and feelings you have for someone when she betrays your trust like that but chemistry would beg to differ. Now, the question is: If this is what chemistry is all
about, can we say itâ€™s a good thing or itâ€™s more of an addiction (literally & figuratively) that should be cured with therapy?